It’s an interesting tautology to mull over: can a president actually pardon himself? President Trump is apparently pondering the same question.
While a president could theoretically pardon himself based on the ambiguous language in the Constitution which stipulates a president’s power to do so, the Supreme Court would ultimately determine if the pardon were permissible.
Either way, Trump is reportedly asking aides what the limits of presidential pardons are, including for himself. The Washington Post spoke to Trump’s advisors who said that he allegedly sought further “understanding” on whether he could pardon family members...and himself.
Per The Post:
Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.
In addition to questioning the legality of a reflexible pardon, Trump’s lawyers are reportedly scrounging to dig up dirt on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team of investigators to discredit his inquiry. Both The Post and The New York Times spoke to Trump’s legal advisors and administration officials who said they were doing their own investigation into Mueller to determine if he had any of his own conflicts of interest.
The Times reported:
“The search for potential conflicts is wide-ranging. It includes scrutinizing donations to Democratic candidates, investigators’ past clients and Mr. Mueller’s relationship with James B. Comey, whose firing as F.B.I. director is part of the special counsel’s investigation.”
The goal, allegedly, is to have Mueller or any of his team members recused. Apparently, Trump’s lawyers did discover conflicts of interests: some of Mueller’s investigators made political donations to Democrats. But, according to the Justice Department’s guidelines, the alleged conflicts are permissible.
The Post’s report noted that Trump is especially concerned about Mueller obtaining his unreleased tax returns. His lawyers, as well as Trump, contend that Mueller’s inquiry has already expanded to areas they do not deem relevant.
“They’re talking about real estate transactions in Palm Beach several years ago. In our view, this is far outside the scope of a legitimate investigation,” Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers told The Post.
Separately, Trump’s legal team representing him in the Russia investigation, found itself a man down on Thursday night. Mark Corallo, the spokesman for Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz, resigned. The Times reported that Corallo had cautioned against publicly criticizing Mueller.
Just another night keeping up with the…Trump administration.