Trump’s use of the power of the President of the United States to pardon political allies has caused controversy many times, but in the eyes of some people around him, it seems to have become a “business opportunity”.
As Trump is about to step down, more and more people are trying to approach Trump to seek pardon or commutation of sentence, which has led to a “mnesty market” around him.
According to the New York Times on January 17, there has recently appeared a “rich amnesty market” around Trump, and some people close to Trump are making profits through the business of “amnesty lobbying”.
According to relevant documents and accounts of more than 30 lobbyists and lawyers, some people around Trump boast that they can “contact Trump directly” and collect fees from those who want to get pardons to lobby for “get” forgiveness places.
Evidence shows that the deal of pardoning the lobby has generated at least tens of thousands of dollars in profits for some players around Trump.
However, the report pointed out that although some people in the legal profession worry that this “money for pardon” will spread further, in fact, such aides collecting money to lobby for others are not illegal in the United States, and there are few regulations in the United States that require restrictions on presidential pardons or lobbying.
At present, the White House and relevant personnel have refused to respond to this matter. Sources said that Trump will release the last batch of about 100 pardons and sentence reductions before stepping down, mainly including some Trump’s political allies, white-collar criminals or well-known rappers. Trump’s own name is not expected to appear.
Make a profit of tens of thousands of dollars through the “forgiveness market”
According to the New York Times, under the influence of Trump’s female advisor Kushner, a “temporary system” has emerged in the White House that relies on informal external consultants.
Through this “system”, those who are close to the Trump team, or who pay Trump advisers, will have a better chance to reach Trump and thus seek a pardon.
Documents and interviewee testimony show that former federal prosecutor Brett Tolman, former Trump private lawyer John Dowd, and individual Trump administration advisers are involved in this matter, cashing in through such activities.
Tolman is one of the most prosperous and active people in this “forgiveness market”.
Relevant documents and testimonies show that Tolman has earned at least 50,000 dollars in compensation through the pardon business since last October.
Jeremy Hutchinson, a former Arkansas congressman, was jailed in 2019 for bribery and tax fraud.
His father, former Republican Senator Tim Hutchinson, has recently been busy giving Tolman money in exchange for an amnesty place for his son.
Hutchinson told The New York Times that he had paid Tolman at least $10,000 since the end of December last year, which was just the cost of lobbying activities.
He declared that “Many people deserve pardons, and they hope that there are more ways to get pardons around the president”.
Tolman’s “customers” even include drug dealers who are sentenced to life imprisonment.
According to a January document, Tolman paid $22,500 in lobbying to a man named Ross Ulbricht, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2015 for his ongoing criminal activities and drug distribution. Tolman is seeking “lenient treatment” for him.
Dodd, Trump’s former private lawyer, is also quite active. He has accepted tens of thousands of dollars from a wealthy felon and promised to seek a pardon for him.
He touted that he could “reach high-ranking officials such as Trump and Kushner” and suggested that the felon and other potential customers “take advantage of Trump’s dissatisfaction with the judicial system”.
In addition, several close Trump people have been exposed to collect money to seek pardons.
For example, Matt Schlapp is lobbying for a Republican “financer” involved in financial fraud.
The New York Times said that both the above-mentioned parties and the White House refused to respond to requests for comment on the matter.
“Two million dollars to buy an amnesty”
This kind of “forgiven buying and selling” business can even be traced back to 2018.
A former CIA official named John Kiriakou revealed that he had paid Karen Giorno, a former Trump campaign adviser, $50,000 to help him lobby for pardon.
Kiriaku was sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges of illegally leaking confidential information in 2012.
After his release from prison, he repeatedly insisted that he was wronged, and in order to regain the right to carry a pistol and receive a pension, he began to seek pardon.
According to Kiriaku, he contacted Jono in 2018, who assured him that he could communicate directly with Trump to seek pardon for him, and the two signed an agreement.
According to the New York Times, a copy of the agreement was obtained, Kiriaku paid Giorno $50,000, and if things finally got it done, an additional $50,000.
Trump’s personal lawyer Giuliani may also be involved in such incidents.
Kiriaku recalls that he came into contact with Giuliani last year and talked about it at the wine table.
During this period, Giuliani went to the bathroom, and his assistant took the opportunity to hint that he could help, “but it costs 2 million US dollars, and he (Giuliani) costs 2 million USD.” This “proposal” was rejected by Kiriaku on the spot.
After learning about the incident, Kiriaku’s friend Robert MacLean suspected that Giuliani might “sell the presidential pardon” and reported it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) later last year.
However, McLean said that the authorities did not give him a follow-up response.
Giuliani himself firmly denied this statement, claiming that he had never met Kiriaku and had never done anything to “sell pardon”.
“It’s not illegal for assistants to collect money to lobby in the United States”
The revelation has raised concerns among American legal circles, who fear that more Trump allies will offer to exchange money for pardon.
Margaret Love, a former U.S. Department of Justice official who was in charge of the pardon process, said: “This dark-box operation and privilege system obviously violates the rights of hundreds of people in line in line according to the Department of Justice regulations.
We undermine these efforts through a long-term effort to make the pardon as fair as possible.”
However, the New York Times also mentioned that there are not many regulations in the United States that require the restriction of the president’s pardon permission or restrict the lobbying behavior of groups such as lawyers.
It is not illegal for Trump’s aides to collect money to lobby for others. Any explicit payment to the president could involve bribery, but there is no evidence that Trump himself has taken the money.
According to the report, several similar incidents have been exposed in the history of the United States, the most recent of which occurred at the end of former President Clinton’s presidency.
Towards the end of his term, Clinton issued 170 pardons in one go, some of whom paid a total of six-figure cash to Clinton’s aides and advisers.
The US president’s pardon is usually used to leniency those suspects of repentance, but Trump seems more willing to use the pardon to help those close to him.
His in-law Charles Kushner, political ally Roger Stone, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and others have been pardoned by Trump.
At the end of his term, Trump is expected to issue the last batch of pardon orders.
CNN quoted two people familiar with the matter on the 17th local time as saying that Trump will issue about 100 pardons or commutations the day before the end of his term (19th), mainly including his political allies, white-collar criminals, rappers, etc., which may include individual more controversial figures. .
Trump’s own name is not expected to appear on the list.