President Trump is looking into ways to pardon himself, his family and his associates, as his team is trying to discredit the Russian investigation headed by special counsel Robert Mueller, the Washington Post reported yesterday.
As the probe into Russian meddling into the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign heats up, the president has asked about how far his constitutional pardon powers extend, according to the Post. The president’s legal team has also begun internal discussions about it.
An advisor to Trump said the president was merely curious. “This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,'” the advisor said.
At the same time, the president’s legal team is compiling a list of potential conflicts of interest between Mueller’s team and the president, including campaign donations to Democratic candidates, which they can use to control the investigation, the Post reports. Conflict of interest is one of the possible grounds for an attorney general to fire a special counsel.
Today, Trump attorney John Dowd told the Post this was “not true” and “nonsense.”
“The President’s lawyers are cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller on behalf of the President,” he said.
Mueller’s probe has expanded into Trump’s personal finances, according to Bloomberg, which reported yesterday that Mueller’s team is looking into the Trump organization’s business transactions and those of the president’s associates, including “Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008.”
In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, Trump said that Mueller would be crossing a “red line” if he looked into his personal finances.
Today, CNN reported that Mueller has asked the White House to preserve all communications surrounding a 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who had proffered damaging information about Hillary Clinton.