President Donald Trump has been discussing the possibility of issuing pardons for his family members and some close associates, multiple sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
One source said that the conversations in recent days are within the context of a president who feels embattled, and not because Trump believes he or any family members did anything illegal.
The New York Times first reported the discussions and said Trump has discussed whether to grant pre-emptive pardons for his three eldest children, Eric and Donald Jr., and White House advisor Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as well as attorney Rudy Giuliani.
The Times reported that Trump had talked with Mr. Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week.
Giuliani has denied that to NBC News, calling it "a lie" and that the reports are "totally false."
The White House has not commented.
More from NBC News:
Arizona governor becomes latest Trump target after certifying Biden's win
Fired cybersecurity chief hints at legal action after Trump campaign lawyer said he should be shot
Judge throws out Trump rules limiting skilled-worker visas
Trump has not conceded that he lost the November presidential election to President-elect Joe Biden, and he and Giuliani have continued to make false and baseless claims that the election was rigged. The claims have lacked any evidence, and legal efforts have suffered repeated setbacks.
Trump last week granted a "full pardon" for his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Trump had said back in March he was considering the move.
One person familiar with the matter said there is a lot more attention being placed on pardons generally in these final weeks, and that the president is receptive to giving them.
Earlier Tuesday, court documents unsealed by a judge suggest federal investigators are looking into what was described as a potential "bribery-for-pardon" scheme involving presidential pardons.
The heavily redacted documents do not name Trump or the individuals who may be involved. They also do not indicate if any White House officials had knowledge of any scheme.
Trump tweeted late Tuesday: "Pardon investigation is Fake News!"