Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has reportedly engaged in conversations with the president regarding receiving a preemptive pardon from him before he leaves office.
Two sources with knowledge of the conversations between Giuliani and Trump spoke to the New York Times about them. According to these sources, the president and his lawyer spoke as recently as last week regarding the matter.
Giuliani and Trump have also discussed the issue previously, but the sources said they were not sure which of the two brought the topic up first. The sources were also uncertain of what Giuliani could want a preemptive pardon for. However, as recently as this year federal investigators were looking into Giuliani’s business dealings in Ukraine, including his work with his former (now indicted) associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, related to attempts to have former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch removed from her position and other matters concerning to Trump’s impeachment.
Preemptive pardons are rare in American politics, but not unprecedented — the charge of a crime is not required for someone to receive a blanket pardon. Richard Nixon, for instance, received a full pardon from Gerald Ford for all activities he had conducted while in office.
The possibility of Trump pardoning Giuliani will likely be one of many pardon-related discussions to be had in the coming weeks, by politicians and pundits alike, as the president’s time in office winds down. Some sources in the White House have also said that Trump is looking into preemptively pardoning himself before he leaves the White House; constitutional scholars are split on whether it’s even legal to do such a thing.
After the report from theTimes was published, Giuliani denied that he and Trump had discussed the matter. “#FakeNews NYT lies again,” Giuliani wrote. “Never had the discussion they falsely attribute to an anonymous source. Hard to keep up with all their lies.”
Trump and his allies have frequently made similar criticisms against media that use anonymous sources. But the Times’ standards for doing so are strict, usually requiring a high-ranking editor, like a deputy managing editor for the publication, to sign off on the use of an anonymous source that is central to a story. At least one other editor must know who a source is before a writer is allowed to publish their story.
Meanwhile, Giuliani’s own track record for honesty is subpar, to say the least. According to PolitiFact’s file on the president’s lawyer, 51 percent of statements the organization has fact-checked have come back with a rating of “mostly false” or worse. Only 18 percent of Giuliani’s statements have been deemed “half true,” and just 28 percent of his statements that were checked by the organization have been rated “mostly true” or “true.”