President Donald Trump has been inquiring about issuing a pardon for himself and his family.

Trump has been a subject of several investigations and legal battles, which have only accelerated since he took office — including lawsuits by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to obtain his financial records in a campaign finance violations inquiry, as well as the impeachment inquiry itself. Several of his associates and family have been under scrutiny or indicted for work related to the president, including those convicted as a result of the Mueller Probe.

The existing investigations have worried Trump, and according to the New York Times, he’s concerned “not only about existing investigations in New York, but the potential for new federal probes as well.”

He has been asking aides since 2017 whether the president holds the power to self-pardon, according to CNN.


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A former White House official told Vanity Fair that Trump has asked officials about pardoning his family, as well as asking “if he could issue pardons preemptively for things people could be charged with in the future.”

“Once he learned about it, he was obsessed with the power of pardons,” the former official said. “I always thought he also liked it because it was a way to do a favor.”

The president asserted his right to self-pardon on Twitter two years ago, tweeting, “I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?”

Legal scholars have previously expressed doubt about the viability of a presidential self-pardon. A memo issued by the Department of Justice during the Nixon-era said that self-pardoning is outside of the scope of presidential power and that “under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the President cannot pardon himself.”

No president has ever actually tested it, however.

Another possibility for a Trump pardon besides self-pardoning would be if he temporarily declared himself unable to perform his presidential duties, thus allowing Vice President Mike Pence to issue a pardon for him.

If Trump hypothetically were to receive a pardon, it would only clear him of federal crimes — prosecutions at the state level, such as the one in New York, would stand. Others doubt that Trump would go through with getting pardoned, as “doing so would imply he’s guilty of something” one former aide said.

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