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Barr and the White House adviser warned Trump not to pardon himself

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Alan Binder
Alan Binder
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Sources say Barr conveyed that position to Trump before his resignation last month.

Trump has it in recent weeks He raised the idea of ​​pardoning himself, As well as his family members, although it is not known if he has done so since Wednesday The attack on the Capitol building. Trump has come under fire for his role in instigating the attack. Over the weekend, the US District Attorney for the District of Columbia told National Public Radio (NPR) that senior prosecutors will follow every possible path of investigation to determine the role of persons in the attack, even if this includes the scrutiny of government officials.

White House officials are also considering how the federal inquiry into the insurgency has affected other pardons Trump has discussed, such as his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani who called for a “trial by combat” at a Wednesday rally before storming the Capitol.

A person close to the White House said, “The situation in Washington has raised issues within the White House, even with regard to amnesty.”

An additional pardon is expected from the White House before Trump leaves office next week.

CNN did not immediately receive a response from the White House, and Barr did not immediately provide a comment to CNN.

The power of a presidential pardon is untested, and sources say both Barr and Cipolloni thought Trump’s attempt to pardon himself would be a bad idea. Bar believes in the Justice Ministry in 1974 legal notice Finding that the president cannot pardon himself should stand up, and that Cipollone has not asked the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to reconsider the case, according to two sources.

However, the memo says that the incumbent president can resign from his position and then be pardoned by his deputy once that person assumes the presidency. This is what happened when President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon in 1974.

Two separate sources close to Vice President Mike Pence said it was unlikely that Pence would pardon Trump in this scenario. Multiple sources said that Pence was a loyal supporter of the president, but that he is now frustrated and disillusioned with Trump for his behavior around the rebellion and lack of contact with him to check on him during and after the riots.

Trump can still pardon himself even if his administration officials disagree with the measure. The self-amnesty would extend to federal crimes only, and would not protect Trump from state actions, including an investigation by New York state attorneys into Trump’s personal and business finances.

Typically, the White House Office of Legal Counsel requests the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel to issue an opinion on important legal issues. This office is responsible for expressing opinions about the authority of the executive branch, and it generally tends to take an expanded view of presidential authority.

Barr and Cipolone’s opposition to Trump’s self-pardon is noteworthy because both have been loyal advocates of Trump who wielded broad executive power during both the Russian investigation and the 2020 impeachment measures over his call with the Ukrainian president.

The two men were recently at odds with the president about his election lie. Barr left office in December after publicly announcing that there was no widespread fraud in the election, and Cipolloni has considered resigning in recent weeks after a severe disagreement with the president and his desire to use his office to nullify the election results.

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CNN’s Evan Perez contributed to this report.

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