Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has reportedly discussed a preemptive pardon for himself with President Donald Trump – even while arguing he can overturn the results of an 'illegitimate election.'
The former New York mayor has been the most vocal and out-front defender of Trump's unsubstantiated charges of election fraud, seeking to persuade numerous states that went for Joe Biden to overturn their results.
But Giuliani and Trump also have discussed the former New York Mayor's future, the New York Times reports.
The two men have discussed the topic in the past and it is not clear who brought up the idea.
They discussed a possible pardon last week, two sources told the paper.
On the day before Thanksgiving, Trump pardoned former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts, then sought to withdraw the plea in court.
Giuliani has reportedly been under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York over his work in Ukraine, which became the heart of Trump's impeachment. The impeachment revealed efforts by Giuliani and his associates to push out the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.
Draft documents revealed last year show Giuliani seeking to have Ukrainian government officials pay substantial fees to his consulting firm, although there is not evidence the deals went through.
Giuliani denied the report on Twitter. '#FakeNews NYT lies again. Never had the discussion they falsely attribute to an anonymous source. Hard to keep up with all their lies,' he wrote.
He represented Trump pro bono in his efforts to defend against the Democratic-led impeachment.
The Times previously reported Giuliani is being paid $20,000 per day in his election defense, although he has denied that figure.
On Monday, Giuliani associate Lev Parnas pleaded not guilty to defrauding in investors through the Florida-based company he set up, called Fraud Gauranatee.
The Ukraine-born Parnas assisted Giuliani in his efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine.
U.S. intelligence alerted the White House last year that a Russian intelligence officer was seeking to feed disinformation to Giuliani in his efforts to uncover information in Ukraine.
There is precedent for presidents using their virtually limitless pardon power preemptively.
Gerald Ford famously pardoned Richard Nixon, and paid a political price for it.
There has also been talk in legal circles about whether Trump could seek to issue a self-pardon in order to wipe away potential legal exposure for himself. Even if it were upheld, Trump could still be subject to prosecution in state courts. New York investigators have already been investigating alleged possible insurance and financial fraud.
Giuliani was in Arizona Monday attending a Republican-led hearing-style event where he laid out broad claims of election fraud even as the state's Republican governor certified the results for president-elect Joe Biden.
A full pardon preempts any punishment for an act, but also constitutes an admission of guilt.