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President Trump has openly discussed the possibility of preemptively pardoning himself and his adult children before leaving office in recent days amid the takeover of the U.S. Capitol by rioters.
The New York Times reports that two people with knowledge of the discussions verified that the president had raised the issue in recent days; the move, never before attempted by a U.S. president, would be of questionable legality as experts disagree over whether a president has the power to unilaterally declare himself above the law before leaving office.
The Times reports that Trump has fretted openly about the possibility of a Justice Department controlled by President-elect Joe Biden launching investigations into him and his family following his departure from the White House. Calls to prosecute the president on the left and among some Republicans sharply grew Wednesday following the dramatic scene in Washington, D.C., where rioters — directed by Trump to “walk down to the Capitol” after departing his rally.
Some of the president’s allies including Fox News host Sean Hannity have advised him publicly to make such a move before leaving office, suggesting that the Biden administration will seek retribution against the Trump family.