Trump feared that Ghislaine Maxwell would drag him into Jeffrey Epstein’s sex abuse scandal
Donald Trump apparently feared that Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's associate, could drag him into the financier's "sex-abuse scandal", according to a new book.
As the former president apparently became obsessed with pardons towards the tail end of his term in office, according to journalist Michael Wolff's latest book Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency, he took a "sudden interest" in Epstein's former partner Ghislaine Maxwell.
Ghislaine Maxwell was charged with trafficking underage girls to be abused by financier Epstein between 1994 and 2004 and perjury. She has pleaded not guilty on all counts and is in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where she is awaiting a trial scheduled for the fall.
An extract from Wolff's book serialized in U.K. newspaper The Times reads: "One 'oh, s***' moment involved his [Trump's] sudden interest in Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein now facing years in prison over allegations of her role in the Epstein sex-abuse scandal. Trump had tried hard to downplay his own long relationship with Epstein."
The extract continues: "'Has she said anything about me?' [Trump] openly wondered. 'Is she going to talk? Will she roll on anybody?'
"But pardon talk almost immediately segued to the question of if he should pardon himself: 'They say I can. Unlimited pardon power.'"
There is nothing to suggest Trump ever made any concrete effort to pardon Maxwell but the revelation comes after accounts of his past friendship with convicted abuser Epstein.
In 2002, New York magazine quoted Trump as saying: "I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it—Jeffrey enjoys his social life."
Epstein's crimes were not known publicly at the time—though he later pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008.
The New York financier spent his final weeks in prison, waiting for a sex trafficking trial, prior to his death in custody.