Trump's final days: Planning pardons for his cronies and threatening not to leave the White House
Donald Trump is prepared to accept his election loss in one way and one way only: He’s very interested in who he can pardon in his final weeks in office. Otherwise, CNN reports, Trump is in even deeper denial about his loss than he was a few weeks ago, and is handling the situation about as well as you’d expect. (Very badly.)
Trump has reportedly said at times that he plans to refuse to leave the White House on Inauguration Day, but “few” think he’ll go through with it. “He’s throwing a f***ing temper tantrum,” one adviser told CNN. “He’s going to leave. He’s just lashing out.”
Still, when even a few people think it’s possible Trump would need to be ejected forcibly from the White House, it’s almost too disturbing to joke about. It’s the kind of thing you think you want to see until the prospect becomes real and you contemplate how much damage it would do to the nation, despite your ardent desire to see Trump being physically dragged anywhere kicking and screaming, his hair flopping all over the place and his orange makeup smeared.
In the meantime, though, despite his denial that he lost the election—“He’s been fed so much misinformation that I think he actually thinks this thing was stolen from him,” one adviser said—Trump is interested in pardoning some more of his cronies. Maybe Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer. Maybe Rudy Giuliani. Maybe his kids. Maybe himself.
Of course, there’s nothing Trump can do to get himself or his associates out of state-level charges. But plenty of people are interested in federal pardons while they can get them.
”Everyone assumed there’s no formal process and they should reach out to the administration directly,” a “person familiar with the efforts” told CNN. “Everyone hopes they have a friend of a friend of a friend of a cousin who they hope will get them to read their email.”
Everyone appears to have been right. Trump isn’t going through the Justice Department’s Pardon Attorney system, he’s calling around to his friends doing informal polls of who he should pardon. There’s an internal White House spreadsheet of all the people going to Jared and whoever else begging to be pardoned of whatever corrupt-rich-people crimes they’ve committed. And Trump, while refusing to admit he lost, is more interested in the pardon power of the presidency than he is in any other part of the job.
He’s been on the golf course nine times since Election Day, he’s had 20 days with no public events, he has not received a single intelligence briefing, and when he’s had a bad day, he’s even skipped the White House holiday parties he made a big point of holding in violation of any and all public health recommendations. He’s not doing the job. He’s just rushing executions while he thinks about pardoning his friends.