US President Donald Trump's lawyers are reportedly looking into the president's authority to grant pardons to his aides, family members and himself in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Mueller is currently investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties between Trump's team and Moscow.
Citing one person in connection with the effort, the Washington Post reported on Thursday, 20 July that Trump apparently spoke to advisers about his ability to grant presidential pardons. However, one adviser cautioned that Trump's inquiry was expressed in curiosity.
"This is not in the context of, 'I can't wait to pardon myself,' " the adviser told The Post.
The president's lawyers have also reportedly been discussing presidential pardons among themselves as well.
The revelation also comes amid reports that Trump's attorneys are exploring any potential conflicts of interest of Mueller to undercut the investigation or discredit the special counsel.
These include any donations to Democratic candidates or his relationship with former FBI Director James Comey whom Trump fired in May who previously led the Russia investigation.
Earlier his week, Trump told The New York Times that Mueller would be crossing a "red line" if he investigated the president's personal business ties. Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Mueller is expanding the prove to examine a broad range of transactions involving Trump's businesses as well as those of his associates.
Amid the intense scrutiny into the embattled White House, Twitter has blasted Trump for reportedly trying to discredit and derail the investigation while reviewing potential ways to pardon himself. While some called it the "biggest admission of guilt yet", others slammed the president saying he "can and should be impeached" should he decide to "use that power corruptly."
Democratic Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia tweeted: "If aides, family members, and Trump himself have done nothing wrong, as the Trump Administration keeps saying... nobody would need a pardon."
"If Trump were to pardon himself, he would only lengthen the shadow of illegitimacy that already stalks his presidency", MSNBC's Joy Reid wrote.
"Is Trump now tired of winning?" one Twitter user wrote.