Do innocent people ask their lawyers about their ability to pardon themselves or their family? Probably not. Why would they? Only someone who *knows* they are guilty of a crime against the United States would seek to pardon themselves and those closest to them.
The Washington Post broke the story tonight that Trump has been consulting with his legal team about exactly what his pardon powers would allow him to do.
One adviser told the Post that he's just pardon-curious, including whether he would have the power to pardon himself. Other advisers told the Post they are exploring ways to hamper Mueller's inquiry, mostly by throwing conflict-of-interest roadblocks in front of him.
Could this panic have anything to do with Mueller looking into his finances? Definitely sounds like it. If Mueller looks back into his business dealings, going back decades, he may (probably, definitely) will find some shady business deals. Probably real estate, but maybe money laundering and RICO. Yikes. No wonder he never wanted his taxes to see the light of day.
The Washington Post reports that Trump has "asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves."
Trump's legal team didn't have any comment and his legal team spokesperson quit tonight..
Trump is also LIVID that Mueller is looking into his finances. Perhaps he figured he could bluff his way through the Russia collusion "nothing burger" but his taxes...no, he can't bluff his way through that stuff. So he is trying to discredit Mueller, citing "conflicts of interest."
A lawyer involved in the case told the Washington Post “This is Ken Starr times 1,000. Of course, it’s going to go into his finances.” Welp. That won't make Trump feel any better.
In entire history of the United States, no President has even attempted to pardon themselves. Legal scholars can't even agree on whether it is legal or not. (Read A.H. Neff's article published here in April for more details.)
Will Trump be the first one to do it?