Trump is offering pardons 'like Christmas gifts' to people who don't even want them, according to a report

APPresident Donald Trump.
  • Donald Trump is offering presidential pardons to people who haven’t even asked for them, Axios reported.
  • One source told Axios that Trump said he would pardon “every person who ever talked to me.”
  • Trump is said to be considering preemptive pardons for up to 20 of his associates, including his children, his son-in-law, and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Donald Trump is offering presidential pardons to people who haven’t even asked for them as he prepares to leave office,Axios reported on Monday.

The outgoing president reportedly relishes the authority he has to grant preemptive pardons to associates and has been interrupting meetings to ask people whether he should add them to his pardon list.

The president recently told one aide that he planned to pardon “every person who ever talked to me,” the report said.

Axios said it was unclear to the aide how serious the president was being. But Axios also described a senior administration official as saying the president was discussing pardons “like Christmas gifts.”

Speculation about Trump’s pardoning spree has intensified in the weeks since he pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security advisor who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to prosecutors about his contact with Russia’s ambassador to the US.

Politico reported last week that Trump was considering preemptive pardons for up to 20 of his associates before he leaves the White House in January. Those on the president’s list could include his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani; his three eldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric; and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

There is also growing speculation that Trump could attempt to pardon himself before he leaves office. In late November, the president retweeted a post from Rep. Matt Gaetz that said he “should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to.”

The president and his closest associates could face multiple civil and criminal investigations once he leaves office.

In a 46-minute speech uploaded on Facebook last week, Trump voiced concerns that he would be prosecuted in New York — where the attorney general is conducting a civil investigation into his business practices — when his presidential immunity ends on January 20.

“Now I hear that these same people that failed to get me in Washington have sent every piece of information to New York so that they can try to get me there,” Trump said.

“They want to take not me but us down,” he added. “And we can never let them do that.”

It’s unclear whether Trump would be able to pardon himself or whether the Supreme Court would deem it unconstitutional.

Even if Trump were to grant himself a presidential pardon, it would apply only to federal offences, leaving open the prospect that he would face state charges in New York or elsewhere.

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