It seems some of President Donald Trump’s lawyers are ferreting for ways to determine whether he has the authority to grant pardons for his aides, family and — last, but definitely not least — for himself.
Because that’s what innocent people do, apparently.
The Washington Post reported Trump’s legal advisers are looking for ways to undermine special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into the president’s alleged ties with Russia — and that includes pursuing alleged conflict of interests in Mueller’s teams to divert focus from the investigation and discussing the president’s pardoning powers.
Trump’s lawyers have refused to comment on the issue but one of his advisers stated the president just wants to satisfy his curiosity.
“This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,’” an anonymous adviser said.
Yes, because the president loves to gain knowledge (read: not) and his request isn’t the least bit suspicious.
This is the first time Trump’s pardoning capacity has been mentioned and it comes just days before his eldest son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and former campaign manager Paul Manafort are scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Trump has been fuming at the ever-widening Russia probe, which includes an in-depth look into several years of the billionaire mogul’s unreleased tax returns and what it would mean for him and his family.
The president has repeatedly refused to reveal his tax returns claiming he would not do so until the IRS audit has been completed. In a recent New York Times interview, Trump warned Mueller some of his family’s finances should be off-limit to investigators.
When asked if Mueller’s looking at finances unrelated to Russia would be crossing the “red line,” the president said, “I would say yes.”
Trump’s lawyers are now reportedly compiling a list of Mueller’s team’s alleged conflict of interests — including their political affiliations and work history —in hopes it would either lead to the firing of the special counsel or force him to recuse himself.
“The possibility that the president is considering pardons at this early stage in these ongoing investigations is extremely disturbing,” said Sen. Mark Warner, the senior senator from Virginia and vice-chair of the intelligence committee. “Pardoning any individuals who may have been involved would be crossing a fundamental line.”
(THREAD) Tonight it was revealed that Trump and his attorneys are busy creating a "pardon strategy." Want to know what it is? I'll tell you. pic.twitter.com/kP8czrbsmW— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) July 21, 2017
Only Donald Trump would consider a Pardon for himself pic.twitter.com/TjGPX9LaDy— (((R_Singa))) (@R_Singer1) July 21, 2017
Mueller has Trump's tax returns and he is freaked out he has hired a mess of top lawyers, by the way any pardon is an admission of guilt !!— Gary the Cynic (@GaryTheCynic) July 21, 2017
Trump is not familiar with the way a pardon works. Or a please, thank you, excuse me, I'm sorry. It's all foreign to him.— Tim Hanlon (@TimfromDa70s) July 21, 2017
Trump looks to real pardon powers to protect himself from his "fake" crimes. Perhaps now the R party will find its spine? #RIptrump— Wmcpc (@wmcpc) July 21, 2017
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Carlos Barria