Justice Department investigates possible bribery for pardons

Speculation has swirled that President Trump may pardon his own family as the investigation into a possible pardoning scheme continues.
3:22 | 12/02/20

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Transcript for Justice Department investigates possible bribery for pardons
Now to the latest own president trump and who he might pardon before he leaves office. We're learning more about a federal investigation into a possible effort to obtain pardons illegally. This as the president waives granting preemptive pardons to those in his own circle potentially members of his own family and Cecilia Vega has that good morning. Reporter: Good morning. Let's break down crystal clear what's being considered talking about pardons being issued before the president leaves office for people who not been charged with a crime that is allowed. What is unprecedented is this potential for a conflict of interest, a preemptive get out of jail free card before a crime has been committed possibly for friends, family, even the president himself. Overnight newly unsealed court documents regarding the investigation in an alleged bribery scheme alleging to shake down white house officials in exchange for a pardon. The files don't reveal the identities of any suspects or the would-be recipient of the pardon but according to the justice department no government officials will or are currently the target of the probe. On Twitter president trump calling the pardon investigation announced by his own officials fake news. This as ABC news has learned there is a full-blown push to ask him to not do that. Among the name, the oldest three of his five children, don junior, Eric and ivanka as well as his-in-law Jared curb er in. They see them as an insurance policy against potential investigations by the incoming Biden investigation but sources say president trump is not fully sold on the idea. Hence, the public campaign from Fox News host and presidential ant Sean hannity. The president out the door needs to pardon his whole family and himself because they want this witch-hunt to go on in perpetuity. Reporter: Sources tell ABC news the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, his most ardent and vocal defender of those baseless rigged election claims is among those who asked the president for a preemptive pardon though Giuliani denies perhaps the biggest controversy of all, a preemptive self-pardon. It's unclear whether the president even has the legal authority to do it despite his claims. I do have an absolute right to pardon myself. Reporter: Sources tell ABC news president trump has yet to turn his full attention to this long list of pardon requests. including from the man known as tiger king. The subject of the Netflix documentary currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for murder for hire and animal abuse. His legal team hopeful president trump takes up their case. Trump, we're asking you for presidential pardon requests. We are asking for your signature to release Joe. He is absolutely innocent. You're the only one that can save him, period. Reporter: Now the reality is presidential pardons only work for federal crimes and some legal experts are saying that preemptive pardons might have to detail any alleged wrongdoing and full detail and that's why we're hearing from some who warn this could be seen as an admission of guilt. Okay, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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