Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s top legal aide is researching what powers President Trump may have to pardon any of his associates caught up in the ongoing Russia investigation.
According to Bloomberg News, Michael Dreeben, deputy solicitor general and former Justice Department appeals lawyer, is researching past pardon cases to what limits might exist on Trump’s ability to grant pre-emptive pardons to his associates. Dreeben is also tasked with making sure that Mueller’s investigative moves are legally sound.
Trump has subtly hinted that he could pardon any associates ensnared in Mueller’s investigation, which is generally looking into Russian interference in the presidential campaign. But Mueller has recently set his sights on two former Trump advisers: former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Mueller is reportedly investigative Manafort’s and Flynn’s business activities.
In July, Trump took to Twitter to remind the public of his “complete power to pardon.”
That tweet followed a report that Trump and his legal team had discussed the possible use of the pardon pen.
Bloomberg notes that pre-emptive pardons issued by Gerald Ford for Richard Nixon have been deeply researched. But the possibility of pardons for Trump campaign workers or White House aides would enter uncharted legal terrain.
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