A couple of weeks ago, President Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, in the first of what is expected to be a flood of late-term legal absolutions for friends and associates (and perhaps family members and even himself). A pardon onslaught focused so heavily on personal allies would be highly unusual, if not unprecedented, in presidential history.
But Trump, as is his wont, may want to take things even further than expected. Axios’s Jonathan Swan reported on Monday night that the president is looking for someone, anyone to pardon in his vicinity (with the caveat that he might not be serious about this mission):
Trump recently told one adviser he was going to pardon “every person who ever talked to me,” suggesting an even larger pardon blitz to come. As with most Trump conversations, the adviser wasn’t sure how seriously to take the president — although Trump gave no indication he was joking.
Swan also reports that, according to sources, “Trump has also interrupted conversations to spontaneously suggest that he add the person he’s speaking with to his pardon list,” and that “One source felt awkward because the president was clearly trying to be helpful but the adviser didn’t believe they had committed any crimes.”
Maybe Trump just wants to thumb his nose at an incoming Biden administration he expects to harass some of his associates. Or maybe he watched Spartacus recently, and wants to make it difficult to distinguish the criminal from the innocent. Either way, the guy seems receptive to helping out almost anyone who crosses his path. So if you’ve been contemplating asking the president for a pardon but were too afraid to ask, now is probably your moment. (Twitter might be your best bet.)