Before he became a hair-dye leaking advocate claiming the election was stolen from Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani was both the mayor of the nation’s largest city and the lead federal prosecutor in New York’s Southern District, responsible for enforcing the law.
Now, Giuliani is reportedly trying to evade that law by seeking a pre-emptive pardon from the lame-duck president before Trump leaves power and is unable to help his loyal consiglieri, according to a new account in The New York Times.
The Times alleges that Giuliani, who has been leading the president’s quixotic effort to overturn the election results in the key swing states that he lost to Joe Biden, discussed the idea of being granted a pardon for crimes for which he has yet to be even charged with Trump “as recently as last week.”
The newspaper attributes the account to “to two people told of the discussion” but is uncertain whether it was Giuliani or Trump who initially raised the topic.
The Times also reports that the idea of a pre-emptive pardon for Giuliani, who could face legal jeopardy for his work trying to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden in Ukraine, has been brought up previously as well and that Trump has yet to give any indication as to whether he will agree to the idea.
According to The New York Times:
“Mr. Giuliani’s potential criminal exposure is unclear. He was under investigation as recently as last summer by federal prosecutors in Manhattan for his business dealings in Ukraine and his role in ousting the American ambassador there, a plot that was at the heart of the impeachment of Mr. Trump.”
The Wall Street Journal warned of Giuliani’s potential indictment last November, writing:
“Subpoenas issued to people with ties to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and his associates indicate a broad federal investigation into possible money laundering, obstruction of justice and campaign-finance violations, and suggest that prosecutors are looking closely at the work of Mr. Giuliani himself, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Given Trump’s record of pardons of people who he sees as protecting his interests, such as his recent pardon of Michael Flynn, the idea of pardoning Giuliani — even before he has formally been charged with any crimes — does not seem so farfetched in an administration and with a president with seemingly nothing left to lose by taking such an obviously corrupt action.
Christianne Allen, a spokeswoman for Giuliani, said, “Mayor Giuliani cannot comment on any discussions that he has with his client,” and The White House has yet to issue a statement in reply to the report.
The idea of pardoning someone for crimes that might have been committed before any indictments are issued has few precedents in American history according to The New York Times:
“George Washington pardoned plotters of the Whiskey Rebellion, shielding them from treason prosecutions. In the most famous example, Gerald R. Ford pardoned Richard M. Nixon for all of his actions as president. Jimmy Carter pardoned thousands of American men who illegally avoided the draft for the Vietnam War,” the newspaper writes.
Still, in none of these cases were the subjects of the pardons suspected of committing crimes to shield the president from the scrutiny of their own potential criminal actions, a factor that could render any pardon invalid if the Justice Department under Joe Biden decided to challenge the legitimacy of any of Trump’s grants.
It will be interesting to see if the uproar that the advance notice of a potential pre-emptive pardon for Rudy Giuliani is causing makes it any less likely that Trump will actually take that step.
Or maybe Trump will refuse to offer mercy to Giuliani simply to be able to have a prison buddy if he himself is eventually held to account for his actions while in office.
Original reporting by Maggie Haberman and
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