On July 21, 2020, Donald Trump shocked many people—not for the first time or the last—when he very politely wished accused sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell “well” following her arrest on a variety of charges, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and perjury. Which is not necessarily the thing you want to hear coming out of your president’s mouth.
Maxwell, the longtime confidante and sometime girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, was no stranger to Trump—nor was Epstein (who died by suicide in August 2019 while in jail). “I’ve met her numerous times over the years,” Trump said of Maxwell at the time. “Especially since I lived in Palm Beach, and I guess they lived in Palm Beach.”
But according to Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency, Michael Wolff’s new book, Trump’s hopes for a brighter future for Maxwell didn’t end there. According to Wolff, Trump took a “sudden interest” in Maxwell in his final weeks of being president and discussing who he might want to pardon before he left the White House. In an excerpt from the book, published by the Times of London, and reported on by Insider, Trump was reportedly “bored” with pardoning people, but was determined to make use of the power while he still had it. And Maxwell was one of the individuals he considered pardoning. As Insider reports:
Wolff said he would frequently interrupt conversations to ask: “Who do you think should be pardoned? Give me one person—who’s your top pick?”
Of Maxwell, he asked “Has she said anything about me?” according to the book. Wolff reports that he added: “Is she going to talk? Will she roll on anybody?”
The response must not have been to Trump’s liking, or sustained his interest, as no pardon was given. He did, however, reportedly talk about pardoning himself. “They say I can,” he apparently told aides. “Unlimited pardon power.” So we’ve heard, Donald.
Landslide will be published on July 13, 2021.