From The National News:

“The idea of a pre-emptive pardon is the idea that somebody is suspected of wrongdoing, but that person hasn’t been prosecuted and indicted,” Anthony Marcum, a resident fellow at the R Street Institute in Washington, told The National.

“The president can still offer a pardon of that wrongdoing.”

The US Supreme Court ruled in 1866 that pre-emptive pardons were permissible under the Constitution.

“This is nothing new,” Mr Marcum said. “Presidents have used this power before to aid and help political allies.

“Whether that’s advisable and whether this is proper is an entirely different story.”

“It depends on the context, of course, and the situation, but pardons for the sake of helping a political ally is a misuse of the pardon power,” Mr Marcum said.

Presidents have not always used pardons, pre-emptive or otherwise, solely for their political allies.

Former president Jimmy Carter granted pardons to hundreds of thousands of Americans who had evaded the draft in the Vietnam War, some of whom had not yet been charged.

And former president Abraham Lincoln pre-emptively pardoned several Confederate soldiers after the American Civil War.

CNN also reported last month that Mr Trump has repeatedly asked about whether it is possible to pardon himself – something that is much more legally dubious.

“It’s incredibly legally murky and there are a number of opinions on it in legal circles,” Mr Marcum said.

“The question is still an uncertain one because it’s never been done before.”

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