After assault on Capitol, Trump insists on pardons for himself and his children

Washington (CNN) — US President Donald Trump has discussed the possibility of granting pardons for himself and his children with a new urgency since the attack on the Capitol, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

A source familiar with the conversations says that there is a belief that a “pardon from family and children is more likely and more urgent because a pardon could avoid prosecution.”

However, advisers and allies are concerned about the public perception of a pardon following the January 6 riot, which killed five people.

Sources tell CNN that there is dissent within the West Wing from those horrified by the attack, many of whom oppose a president whose main concern is protecting himself and his family.

The riot on Capitol Hill increases the potential for new legal exposure for the president, his allies and family members who participated in the rally if investigators investigate whether their words and actions could be subject to criminal prosecution.

On Tuesday, Trump defended his Jan.6 comments, saying they were “appropriate.”

The White House did not provide any comment.

The source familiar with the White House talks said Trump could issue a blanket clemency to cover himself and his children until the time he leaves office, adding that from Trump’s point of view, “it makes sense. cover it all.

Even before the events of last week, the president had told his advisers that he believed he and his family had been unfairly targeted and that he was concerned that legal prosecutions may continue under Biden’s Justice Department, according to a source close to. to Trump.

Since his first year in office, Trump has considered pardoning himself and his children, but the attack on Capitol Hill creates a new dynamic around the messages and “public relations” of such pardons, according to the person familiar with the conversations. of the White House.

“Before, the justification was that they had done nothing wrong,” said the source. But the assault on the Capitol potentially changes that. Trump’s “tough base might not care, but some Republicans and former supporters would not like that,” added the source. “They have blood on their hands after January 6.”

One of Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr., does not want a pardon, a source with knowledge of the matter told CNN. “His father has never raised the issue with him, but Don has told his friends that he does not want a pardon, as he does not think it is necessary,” said the source.

Inside the White House, many officials are disgusted by the attacks and do not want to engage in a pardon for anyone who may have played a role, according to two people familiar with the matter.

A source said Trump intends to grant pardons beyond his family members. More people than you might expect. Rudy is obvious, ”the person said, referring to Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. “And there are many discussions about the current staff.”

The White House had planned to release a batch of pardons last week, but it was delayed due to the unrest, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

CNN reported Monday that Trump’s White House attorney Pat Cipollone and former Attorney General Bill Barr warned him not to pardon himself, but advisers say Trump can still do so, although he almost certainly will. face lawsuits.

The power of a president’s pardon has not been tested before, and sources say that both Barr and Cipollone thought it would be a bad idea for Trump to try to pardon himself. Barr believes that a 1974 Department of Justice legal memorandum that the president cannot forgive himself should be upheld, and Cipollone has not asked the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) to reexamine the issue. , according to two sources.

The memo clearly states that under “the fundamental rule that no one can be a judge in his own case, the president cannot forgive himself.”

Regarding the Justice Department memo on self-pardon, a former senior administration official told CNN: “Trump doesn’t give a damn about the OLC memo. He will do what he wants and then fight in court if necessary.

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