Donald Trump is reportedly considering offering a preemptive pardon to lawyer Rudy Giuliani, but one report claims he could face serious consequences if he goes through with it.
As CNN noted, the former New York City mayor is one of a number of associates who have reportedly made appeals to the president in the hope of obtaining preemptive immunity from prosecution before he leaves office. The report said it was not clear what charges Giuliani was seeking to avoid, but it noted that he and others are worried that now-dormant investigations could come back to life once President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
However, as Noah Feldman wrote for Bloomberg, there could be legal peril for Trump if he goes through with the plan. Because Trump owes Giuliani money for the work he had done challenging the election results, pardoning him could be considered a criminal act.
“Under federal law, it would be bribery to offer an official government act, like a pardon, in exchange for a debt, like the money Trump owes to Giuliani,” Feldman wrote. “An investigation would have to ensue.”
He went on to add that even attorney-client privilege would not protect the pair if there were criminal acts involved, and any conversations the two may have had could be subject to a subpoena. If there were no recorded conversations about a potential scheme, Trump could invoke the Fifth Amendment and remain silent, but Giuliani would not be able to do the same.
“However, Giuliani could not plead the Fifth — not if he had already been given a blanket pardon for any criminal act he might have committed during the Trump administration,” he wrote.
The speculation over Giuliani came on the heels of another report that the Department of Justice has launched a potential investigation into whether someone funneled money to the White House or related political committees in exchange for a pardon. As CNN reported, some details were revealed on Tuesday when court records were unsealed. The documents did not name any of the people involved, and there was no indication that Trump himself was implicated in any way.
As The Inquisitr reported, Trump has also spoken to close advisers about the possibility of issuing a pardon to himself. Legal expert Neal Katyal believes that the one issued to former national security adviser Michael Flynn could lay the groundwork for the president ultimately giving himself blanket immunity from future prosecution.
Giuliani denied that he was seeking a pardon from Trump, CNN reported.