There have been reports for weeks about a potential flood of pardons in Trump’s final days in office. Trump has long spoke publicly and privately about a potential self-pardon – a potential act that gained new currency after the leak of Trump’s call to the top election official in Georgia.
That call featured Trump asking Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ‘find’ 11,780 votes.
Former Attorney Gen. Bill Barr and White House counsel Pat Cipollone have counseled President Trump not to seek to execute a self-pardon
Now, on top of his existing legal woes, Trump is being advised he faces potential legal exposure over the Capitol riots,
‘Think O.J.,’ an advisor reportedly told him, referencing how O.J. Simpson faced a civil trial for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson even after being acquitted of murder.
In Barr’s case, it came before his resignation in December after publicly splitting with Trump on the president’s repeated claims of election fraud that stoked up his supporters before last week’s rally.
The Constitution is silent on self-pardon, so it Trump were to take such an action, it would be up to the Justice Department under President-elect Joe Biden to determine whether to challenge such a move by bringing charges anyway.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who defended Trump during impeachment, has counseled him against seeking to pardon himself, according to reports
Trump also faces potential civil liability, as did O.J. Simpson despite his acquittal on murder charges in 1995
President Donald Trump has spoken only through White House videos since his supporters ransacked the Capitol Wednesday
Trump supporters gather as supporters storm the Capitol Building following the ‘Stop The Steal’ rally where they assembled to protest the 2020 election results on January 6, 2021 in Washington DC. Trump Supporters Protest Certification of President-Elect Biden
Tear gas is dispersed as Trump supporters gather on the steps of the Capitol Building following the ‘Stop The Steal’ rally where they assembled to protest the 2020 election results
There have already been reports that Cipollone has been considering resigning amid a flood of other resignations, and that Trump only released a video acknowledging a transition – but still failing to congratulate Joe Biden – under pressure and following warnings about his own potential exposure.
One issue is whether Trump himself could be charged with inciting rioters who stormed the Capitol, after Trump urged them to ‘fight.’ Trump could push back in court on First Amendment grounds. He is facing impeachment on a single article of ‘incitement of insurrection,’ but that is a political process that doesn’t need to meet any burdens of existing case law on incitement.
Scholars are split on the efficacy of a self-pardon. Trump also has considered pardons for family members – several of whom also spoke at the ‘stop the steal’ rally that immediately preceded the storming of the Capitol.
Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Lara Trump, and Kimberly Guilfoyle all spoke at the event.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer throughout his series of claims of massive election fraud that have been rejected by courts and states who all certified the vote for Joe Biden, has also been mentioned in multiple reports about a final batch of Trump pardons.
Giuliani faces his own exposure from last week’s events. He urged fired up Trump supporters to engage in ‘trial by combat’ shortly before they broke windows and streamed into the Capitol, placing lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence at risk.
The U.S. attorney in D.C. has kept alive the possibility of probing people besides rioters themselves for incitement.
‘The situation in DC has raised issues within the White House even on the pardons,’ one source told CNN.