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Trump is considering 'pre-emptive' pardons for family members and Rudy Giuliani, reports say

Trump is considering 'pre-emptive' pardons for family members and Rudy Giuliani, reports say
Posted at 5:54 AM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 07:57:36-05

President Donald Trump has discussed the possibility of granting pre-emptive pardons to his three oldest children, top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, according to reports from the New York Times, ABC News and NBC News.

The New York Times first reported the possibility that Trump could issue the pre-emptive pardons out of fear of politically-motivated investigations from the incoming Biden administration.

None of those Trump is considering for a pardon have been formally charged with a crime, though all have been tangentially linked to various criminal investigations over the last four years.

Donald Trump Jr. — the president's oldest son — was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for a meeting he took with Russian officials during his work with the Trump campaign ahead of the 2016 election.

Kushner, the president's son-in-law, did not disclose contacts with some foreigners in applying for White House security clearance. Though it is a crime to provide incomplete information to federal investigators, President Trump granted Kushner unilateral security clearance.

Eric Trump is currently serving as the executive vice president of development and acquisitions of the Trump Organization — which is currently under investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James. In particular, James is investigating millions in tax write-offs for organization "consulting fees." The New York Times has reported that some of those funds went to Ivanka Trump, the president's oldest daughter.

It's unclear how the president would issue a pre-emptive pardon for charges that have not been levied. Presidential pardons must be specific in scope. Legal expert H. Jefferson Powell told ABC News that "there is no entire get out of jail free card."

ABC News also spoke to a Trump administration source who said the president has gotten an "insane" amount of calls about a pardon for the subject of the massively popular Netflix documentary "Tiger King"

Joseph Maldonado-Passage's attorney, Eric Love, also told ABC News that he believes his client is "very close" to receiving a pardon.

Maldonado-Passage, better known as "Joe Exotic," is currently serving 22 years in prison after his conviction in a murder-for-hire plot and selling tigers in violation of the Endangered Species Act.