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Donald Trump, clearly terrified over the direction of the Russia investigation, is considering to use his pardon powers on himself, his family members and his aides, according to a stunning new report in The Washington Post.
The Post reports that Trump has asked his advisers about his ability to pardon himself or others, and another source said that the president’s lawyers are also discussing the possibility of issuing pardons.
The president is also reportedly trying to build a case against Special Counsel Robert Mueller – the man running the wide-ranging investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and Moscow’s connections to the Trump campaign.
More from the eye-popping report:
Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.
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 declined to comment on the issue. But one adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation.
With the Russia investigation continuing to widen, Trump’s lawyers are working to corral the probe and question the propriety of the special counsel’s work. They are actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work, according to several of Trump’s legal advisers.
It’s hard to be shocked by any news about this president or the increasingly explosive scandal surrounding his ties to Russia, but this is a rather incredible development.
The news also comes a day after Trump threatened Mueller in an interview with The New York Times, telling the paper that if Mueller decides to investigate his family’s finances, then he will be crossing a “red line.”
Ultimately, Trump’s efforts to intimidate Mueller in hopes that he will back off the Russia investigation, while now reportedly considering whether to pardon himself and those close to him, suggests this is a president running scared.