With President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony less than 24 hours away, reporters have been wondering who President Donald Trump will grant pardons to during his remaining time in the White House. And according to CNN's sources, Trump has decided against granting them to GOP lawmakers who spoke at or helped put together his "Save America Rally" in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6.
That rally took place before a violent mob of far-right extremists and Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building. The U.S. House of Representatives has since indicted Trump on an article of impeachment for "incitement to insurrection."
In an article published by CNN's website the day before Biden's inauguration, reporters Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak and Pamela Brown explain:
"Several Republican lawmakers who are alleged to have been involved in the rally that preceded the deadly riot on the U.S. Capitol have sought clemency from Trump before he leaves office. But after meeting with his legal advisers for several hours on Saturday, the president decided he would not grant them, according to two people familiar with his plans."
The CNN reporters add, "The fear of legal exposure is not limited to Republicans who promoted or spoke at the rally, including Reps. Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks and Paul Gosar. Those who participated, organized and fundraised for it are also concerned, sources told CNN, including his eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, who both spoke at the rally."
The report doesn't explicitly specify which Republican lawmakers sought out the pardons. But it's noteworthy that any feel pardons for their conduct would be necessary. Some Democrats have suggested that Republican members of Congress may have had even more insidious roles in the attack than organizing or speaking at the rally that helped fuel the attack; they have indicated that some Republicans may have even played a part in planning the invasion of the Capitol Building itself, though it's not clear what evidence for these claims exists.
Collins, Liptak and Brown report that Trump allies associated with the GOP groups that promoted the "Save America Rally," which included Women for America First and Turning Point Action, "have also voiced private concern about legal repercussions, a person familiar tells CNN."
The New York Times' Maggie Haberman has reported that when Trump first found out that a mob had stormed the Capitol Building, he was "pleased" — as he believed that the rioters were fighting for him. But he grew concerned, according to Haberman's sources, when his allies told him he may have "legal exposure."
On Saturday, Collins, Liptak and Brown report, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and attorney Eric Herschmann — who represented Trump during his first impeachment — gave some "grave warnings" to Trump as well as his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
"Trump was warned the pardons he once hoped to bestow upon his family and even himself would place him in a legally perilous position, convey the appearance of guilt and potentially make him more vulnerable to reprisals," the CNN journalists explain. "So, too, was Trump warned that pardons for Republican lawmakers who had sought them for their role in the Capitol insurrection would anger the very Senate Republicans who will determine his fate in an upcoming impeachment trial."
“Trump was warned the pardons he once hoped to bestow upon his family and even himself would place him in a legally… https://t.co/INhgQYTYRB— Jake Tapper (@Jake Tapper) 1611087703.0