NEWS

Donald Trump 'Asks Legal Team If He Can Pardon Himself'

And his family.

21/07/2017 08:04 | Updated 21 July 2017

Donald Trump’s lawyers are looking into the legalities of the President pardoning himself and his family in the event of the Russia probe finding anything incriminating.

According to the Washington Post, his legal team is also collecting a dossier of alleged conflicts of interests surrounding Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, who is heading the investigation, in an attempt to scupper him.

The revelations come as Mueller’s investigation appears likely to probe some of the Trump family’s business ties, reports the Associated Press.

Carlos Barria / Reuters
Donald Trump is worried about his tax returns.

In an interview with The New York times earlier this week Trump spelled out that he would deem any investigation into his personal finances an overreach of the probe.

He is said to have been especially riled when he learned Mueller had the authority to access his tax returns which Trump has repeatedly refused to release.

Jay Sekulow, one of the President’s private lawyers, said on Thursday: “The fact is that the President is concerned about conflicts that exist within the Special Counsel’s office and any changes in the scope of the investigation.

“The scope is going to have to stay within his mandate. If there’s drifting, we’re going to object.”

The defiant statements from the White House come shortly after Bloomberg News revealed Mueller is looking into ”a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses” including the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and his sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008.

Trump’s legal team did not officially comment on the reports but one advisor said Trump had simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority.

Mueller and congressional committees are investigating whether the President’s campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 election.

While Trump has assailed the probes as a partisan “witch hunt,” the investigations have increasingly ensnared his family and close advisers, including son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. 

The probe has already expanded to cover whether or not Trump obstructed justice when he fired James Comey as FBI Director.

Trump has already begun to turn on his own Justice Department - in the same Times interview he said he would never have nominated Jeff Sessions as Attorney General if he knew he would later recuse himself from the Russia probe, a move that led to the appointment of Mueller as Special Counsel.

The public airing of his grievances has been seen by some as a warning to Sessions that his days are numbered and part of a broader effort at “laying the groundwork to fire” Mueller.

One of these individuals, a Republican, told The Washington Post: “Who attacks their entire Justice Department?

“It’s insane.”

As the investigations intensify, Trump’s legal team is also undergoing a shakeup. New York-based attorney Marc Kasowitz, whose unconventional style has irked some White House aides, is seen as a diminishing presence in the operation, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Mark Corallo, who has been working as a spokesman for the legal team, is no longer part of the operation, according to those familiar with the situation. They insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

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