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Special Counsel Investigating Extent of Trump’s Pardon Powers

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now special counsel for the Russia investigation.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now special counsel for the Russia investigation.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special counsel team investigating possible collusion between Russia and President Trump’s campaign team is investigating the extent of Trump’s authority to pardon family members and close associates.

In July 2017, Trump bragged on Twitter that “the U.S. President has complete power to pardon.”

Bloomberg reports that Mueller’s top legal counsel, Michel Dreeben, is researching past pardons to determine the extent of Trump’s power to issue pardons. 

“He’s seen every criminal case of any consequence in the last 20 years,” said Kathryn Ruemmler of Latham & Watkins LLP, who served as White House counsel under President Barack Obama. “If you wanted to do a no-knock warrant, he’d be a great guy to consult with to determine if you were exposing yourself.”

Bloomberg wrote:

Pre-emptive pardons are a distinct possibility now that current and former Trump advisers are under Mueller’s scrutiny. Trump himself has tweeted that everyone agrees the U.S. president has “complete power to pardon.” Some of those kinds of executive moves have been well studied, including Gerald Ford’s swift pardon of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton’s exoneration of fugitive financier Marc Rich. But the legal territory is largely uncharted over pardons of a president’s own campaign workers, family members or even himself — and how prosecutors’ work would then be affected.


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