President Trump is considering pardoning himself during his final days in office, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Trump has reportedly toyed with the idea for some time now, but discussions apparently started anew shortly before the president was recorded pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" enough ballots to somehow swing the state's election in his favor. The talks also came before Trump encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol on Wednesday, where hundreds broke into the building in an attempt to block Congress from certifying the presidential election results. "Trump allies believe that both episodes increased Mr. Trump's criminal exposure," writes the Times.
A president has never before attempted to pardon himself, and its not clear how such a move would withstand scrutiny in courts, though Trump has long maintained he has the power to do so. Even so, presidential pardons only apply to federal offenses and would not protect him from any potential charges on a state level. Trump has reportedly been polling aides for their opinions on the move, which is "typically a sign that he is preparing to follow through on his aims," writes the Times.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone told Trump he could face legal exposure for telling his supporters to "fight" the election certification at the Capitol, reports the Times. The riot that followed left four people dead.
In addition to pardoning himself, Trump is also reportedly considering preemptive pardons for his eldest children and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as attorney Rudy Giuliani.
The Times writes Trump has "become increasingly convinced that his perceived enemies will use the levers of law enforcement to target him after he leaves office." Read more at The New York Times.