Outgoing president Donald J. Trump is in the middle of a pardon frenzy. He’s already dolled one out to convicted former staffer Michael Flynn. Joe Exotic may be next. It’s claimed Rudy Giuliani has asked for a pre-emptive one, though it’s not clear what, specifically, he’s done to break the law. (Though one can imagine.) To add to the swelling pile, The New York Times is reporting that Trump is also looking at extending pardons to his three eldest children, as well as son-in-law Jared Kushner. What for, you may ask? Good question!
According to the Times, Trump concern is more vague. They report that the president “has told others that he is concerned that a Biden Justice Department might seek retribution against the president by targeting the oldest three of his five children — Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — as well as Ms. Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser.” (Rest easy, Tiffany and Barron.)
That said, there are specific actions for which they could be charged. As per the Times:
Donald Trump Jr. had been under investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for contacts that the younger Mr. Trump had had with Russians offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign, but he was never charged. Mr. Kushner provided false information to federal authorities about his contacts with foreigners for his security clearance, but was given one anyway by the president.
As for Eric and Ivanka, there aren’t specific known crimes they may have committed, though the latter is under investigation by the Manhattan D.A. over tax write-offs on millions of dollars in consulting fees that may have gone her way.
Still, social media found it a touch fishy to hear about potential pardons for people who are supposed to be innocent.
Nothing says “did nothing wrong” like considering pardons for three of your kids, your son-in-law and your personal lawyer.
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) December 2, 2020
I don't think you discuss pardons for people if you think they have done nothing wrong.
— Sam Vinograd (@sam_vinograd) December 2, 2020
Nothing screams innocence quite like discussing blanket pardons for everyone in your entire family.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) December 2, 2020
Trump is also seeking “preemptive pardons” for Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric and Jared.
If his kids haven't committed any crimes, he shouldn't have anything to worry about.
So what's he worried about?https://t.co/NxHqmyszw6
— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) December 2, 2020
There were jokes, too.
Do the kids get a family discount on the pardons?
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) December 2, 2020
So basically pardons are the new must have Christmas gift? https://t.co/aDBPS7r308
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) December 2, 2020
.@realDonaldTrump may I have a preemptive pardon pls I promise the crimes will be small
— Cody Johnston (@drmistercody) December 2, 2020
And contrasts with the previous White House family.
Obama never had to preemptively pardon his family, just saying
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) December 2, 2020
And some weren’t so shocked.
Was it ever in doubt that Trump would issue pardons for his eldest three heirs?
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) December 2, 2020
Trump’s thinking about pardoning Ivanka, Don Jr, Eric, Kushner and Giuliani. Trump clearly knows they are all criminals who belong in prison.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) December 2, 2020
Tuesday was a pretty pardon-heavy day. On top of all this, the Department of Justice — which, under William Barr, had long acted as Trump’s personal legal counsel — reportedly began an investigation into one as-yet-unrevealed allegedly taking part in a bribery-for-pardon scheme. That time Trump pardoned an actual turkey seems like a long time ago.