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Reports: Trump asking aides about pardoning himself, Ivanka, Donald Jr., Eric

A self-pardon has never been tried by a president and could face legal challenges.

President Donald Trump has been discussing with aides the possibility of pardoning himself and family members, according to news reports Thursday. It's an issue that heads into unprecedented and potentially dangerous legal territory.

The New York Times reports that Trump has brought it up several times since the election, but it's not clear if he has discussed it since Wednesday's riot in which a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Among those he's reportedly also considering pardoning are his three eldest children -- Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump. A pardon is also under consideration for Ivanka's husband, Jared Kushner. Both Ivanka and Kushner are White House advisers.

Bloomberg reports pardons could also come for Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former Fox News host who's dating Trump Jr., Trump attorney former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and senior adviser Stephen Miller.

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Many of these would encompass any crimes that may have been committed prior to the pardon being issued, according to Bloomberg. The pardons could be announced Jan. 19 -- the day before he leaves office.

Legal expert and University of Missouri professor Frank O. Bowman told the TEGNA VERIFY team last month that a president cannot pardon someone for crimes that might be committed after the pardon is made.

A self-pardon opens a legal conundrum that's never been explored. If that pardon survived a challenge in the courts, then future presidents could commit federal crimes and simply pardon themselves before leaving office.

The Times, quoting white-collar defense lawyers, says Trump could have a better chance at surviving court challenges if he cites specific crimes to pardon himself for. But that would require him admitting to those crimes -- something which could harm him politically should he go forward with a 2024 presidential run.

Bowman said he does not believe a president can constitutionally pardon themselves, but admits it's never been tried. 

Even if Trump can pardon himself, those powers are limited to federal crimes and not state crimes. State prosecutors in New York have reportedly been looking into Trump and his businesses for possible financial crimes.

Credit: AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally protesting the electoral college certification of Joe Biden as President, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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