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 Maxwell, indicating that Donald Trump feared Ghislaine.
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.
A book The Spider, by Barry Levine,quoted a fellow inmate William "Dollar Bill" Mersey as saying: "One time, we're flying in my private plane and I was with this French girl.
"And Trump said to me, 'Why don't we land in Atlantic City and I can show your friend my casino?'
"I told Trump, 'I'm not landing in Atlantic City, all you have is white trash down there.'
"The girl I was with, because she was French, asked me, 'What does white trash mean?'
"Donald Trump told her, 'That would be me without money.'"
Trump sparked a backlash in July 2020 over his comments at a press conference when asked about Maxwell.
The president said: "I don't know. I haven't really been following it too much. I just wish her well, frankly. I have met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach, and I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well, whatever it is."He added: "I don't know the situation with Prince Andrew. I just don't know. I am not aware of it."