President Donald Trump is considering preemptive pardons for as many as 20 aides and associates before leaving office, Politico reported late Thursday.
Three sources who regularly speak with the President told Politico that Trump fears the pre-emptive clemency for the hefty list of family members and allies could yield unintended consequences, including, according to one source, making those close to the President look like criminals.
The news comes as reports earlier this week revealed that President Trump was considering pardons for his three eldest children and his daughter’s husband, Jared Kushner, who is a White House senior adviser even though none of them have been charged with a crime.
Trump is also warily considering extending a pardon to his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, a move which has been discussed more seriously, one source told Politico.
The pardons would be intended to protect Trump’s allies from getting caught up in any more federal investigations which Trump has decried as witch hunts in the past. The pardons would fall short, however, of shielding anyone granted a pardon from state charges, congressional investigations or lawsuits.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), called the potential pardons “a gross abuse of the presidential pardon authority.”
Meanwhile some Republican lawmakers have suggested that the move to pardon could backfire — even giving the impression of an admission of guilt.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told Politico that he knew why Trump had pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
“But I don’t know what the others have done wrong that they’d need to be pardoned,” he said.