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Donald Trump 'considering pardoning himself before being booted out of White House'

By Mirror | January 8th 2021 at 14:14:33 GMT +0300

Pro-Trump protesters clash with Capitol police at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021. [Reuters]

The outgoing leader is said to have suggested to aides he would like to pardon himself, in what would be an historic first in United States political history

Donald Trump is reported to be considering pardoning himself before leaving the White House in a fortnight.

The outgoing leader has issued a series of pardons in his final days in office, including to figures close to his campaign.

The President believes is able to use the extraordinary power for himself.

However it would be a striking and historic first - never before tested by a President of the United States.

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According to the New York Times, the President has suggested to aides that he wants use the clemency rights for himself.

The report emerged on Thursday night as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for Trump to be removed from office in the wake of the Capitol Hill riots.

According to the NYT, Trump has raised the subject of pardoning himself several times since Election Day.

He is said to have asked what the legal and political ramifications would be.

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House, November 5, 2020, in Washington.

There has been previous speculation in US media that Trump could pardon himself and members of his own family.

He has not been secretive about toying with the idea.

He publicly raised the issue in a tweet in June 2018, 13 months into special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Trump tweeted: “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?”

And as far back as July 2017, he tweeted: "While all agree the U.S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS".

Pardons have typically been granted by past Presidents to people wrongfully convicted, or historically penalised for offences no longer considered crimes.

However the practise is controversial in the US, where legal scholars have long questioned the extraordinary power.

During the Watergate Scandal, then-President Richard Nixon's lawyer suggested a self-pardon would be legal.

Police officers stand guard during a rally held by supporters of US President Donald Trump, in Los Angeles, California, on January 6, 2021. [Reuters] 

However that was never tested, as his successor President Gerald Ford went on to controversially pardon the shamed leader in 1974, to widespread public disapproval.

Trump's presidency reignited that debate, as he began issuing a series of widely-anticipated pardons in the lead-up to his election loss to rival Joe Biden by absolving many of his cronies.

Trump had already pardoned his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, associate Roger Stone, and Charles Kushner, a real estate developer and father of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.He had previously commuted the criminal sentence of Mr Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress under oath about his efforts to find out more about when WikiLeaks would publish damaging emails about Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Presidential pardons are restricted to federal crimes.

It was not immediately clear what Trump would consider pardoning himself for.A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment from the NYT.

The ordinarily verbose President himself was also silent on the speculation - having been banned 'indefinitely' from Facebook and Instagram.

He was also penalised with a series of deletions from Twitter after posting a video on the platform repeating false claims the election was 'stolen' as he ordered his supporters to halt Wednesday's chaos.

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