Were Donald Trump aides bribed by relief seekers? POTUS to issue 100 pardons to white-collar criminals, rappers

The monetization reportedly happened after it was evident that there was no way Trump could challenge his loss to President-elect Joe Biden


                            Were Donald Trump aides bribed by relief seekers? POTUS to issue 100 pardons to white-collar criminals, rappers
President Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Nearing the unceremonious end of his presidentship, Donald Trump is gearing up for his final full day in office on Tuesday, January 19. It is going to be a busy day as Trump is all set to issue around 100 pardons and commutations. According to three sources privy with the matter, a major batch of clemency actions include white-collar criminals, high-profile rappers and others including Dr Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor from Palm Beach who was imprisoned in 2018 after being convicted for dozens of counts of health care fraud. It is now being reported that allies and associates of Trump allegedly collected tens and thousands of dollars in bribes from those seeking pardons from the president. 

In a shocking account, The New York Times cited documents and interviews reporting that a former federal prosecutor, a former personal lawyer to the president and a former top Trump campaign adviser are among those who monetized lobbying for clemency. The monetization reportedly happened after it was evident that there was no way Trump could challenge his loss to President-elect Joe Biden. 

President Donald Trump speaks at the 'Stop The Steal' Rally on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

According to two sources, on Sunday, the White House reportedly held a meeting to finalize the list of pardons. Trump had previously issued a number of pardons in the lead up to Christmas but reportedly put them on pause in the days before and after the riots at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

According to NYT, former US attorney Brett Tolman has allegedly collected tens of thousands of dollars in recent weeks to seek clemency for several people. Former Trump attorney John Dowd has also accepted "tens of thousands of dollars from a wealthy felon and advising him and other potential clients to leverage Mr Trump's grievances about the justice system," according to the Times. Both Tolman and Dowd have refused to comment on the situation. 

The list of those who were paid to lobby for clemency goes on and on as The New York Times also reported that a former Trump campaign top adviser was allegedly paid $50,000 to secure a pardon for ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou. In 2012, the then 48-year-old Kiriakou was convicted of illegally disclosing classified information by revealing the identity of a covert intelligence officer. According to a copy of an agreement obtained by the newspaper, there was also some talk of a $50,000 bonus if the president successfully granted the pardon.

According to NYT, Kiriakou said that Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani's associate claimed the former mayor of New York could help with a pardon request for $2M. Giuliani rejected those claims to NYT. 

At the same time, NYT noted that "there is nothing illegal about Trump associates being paid to lobby for clemency" adding that any explicit offers of payment directly to Trump could be investigated for possible violations of bribery laws. However, at the moment, there is no evidence that the President was offered money for a pardon.

While Trump also reportedly wanted to secure pardons for himself and his children, it appears that he was advised to not do so as it would appear that he was guilty of something. In addition to that, he was also advised to not grant clemency to anyone who was involved in the US Capitol riot of January 6. 

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