Trump warned about potential civil liability, as some aides clear out desks
Following the attack on the nation's Capitol on Wednesday, President Donald Trump was told that he could potentially face civil liability for encouraging supporters who stormed Congress, sources familiar with the talks told ABC News.
"Think O.J.," said an adviser to Trump, according to a source. It was a reference to O.J. Simpson, not found guilty of murdering his ex-wife and a friend, but later faced serious civil harm after being sued by his ex-wife's family.
Prior to Wednesday, after a publicly published phone call with Trump and Georgia election officials, the president and his advisors had spoken about forgiveness - something that would go untested in both history and American history. The sources say if the president forgave himself it would only increase the motivation to start civil proceedings against the 45th president.
MORE: Trump is considering self-forgiveness, sources say
As ABC News previously reported, sources have advised ABC News White House attorney Pat Cipollone that he could face legal danger in encouraging his followers to storm the Capitol, according to sources familiar with their discussions are.
After those talks, the president became angrier, according to sources, and the entire pardon process was described as "on hold". This means that others who have asked the president for a pardon, including his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, may not receive one.
Trump has long believed he had the power to forgive himself. In 2018 the president tweeted that he had "absolute rights". Although there is some ambiguity in the law, most ABC News constitutional lawyers and experts have said a president cannot apologize based on the rationale that no one can be a judge or jury in his own case.
PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks to supporters of The Ellipse near the White House in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021. (Almond Ngan / AFP via Getty Images)
After Wednesday's riot, many staff and two cabinet officials resigned publicly, but others have quietly packed up their offices and have no intention of returning to work. This includes some West Wing officials, direct-knowledge sources tell ABC News.
The president has been described as "isolated", "miserable" and "angry" according to sources pointing to his Twitter account being banned as a particularly painful subject.
The White House has scheduled a week of programming to highlight what it believes have been the president's achievements over the past four years. Sources adding the week include events at the White House and at least one trip previously announced on the Southern Border Wall.
According to sources, the president plans to leave the White House as of now before President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office.
Trump warned of possible civil liability as some aides cleared desks that originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
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