Who is John Kiriakou? CIA leaker says Rudy Giuliani offered $2M in exchange for pardon at booze-fueled meeting
Several lobbyists have reportedly lined up to seek pardons on behalf of ‘clients’ who paid a generous ‘fee’. Surprisingly, the practice is not illegal
In a shocking revelation, former CIA officer-turned-whistleblower John Kiriakou stated that Rudy Giuliani floated the price of a presidential pardon at $2 million, according to a report. Giuliani has hinted that aides and officials in the Donald Trump administration who are at risk of facing charges can buy pardons from the President at $2 million, reports The New York Times. Trump is meant to stay in office only till Wednesday before President-elect Joe Biden officially takes charge.
John Kiriakou was imprisoned in 2012 for 30 months for leaking the identity of a covert operative involved in the torture of an American detainee. He stated that recently he heard about Giuliani’s eyebrow-raising ‘offer’ from an insider source who happens to be an associate of the former mayor of New York. Incidentally, it can be assumed that if Presidential pardons are being issued, Giuliani himself is a likely recipient, reports The Guardian. Kiriakou’s conversation with Giuliani’s associate over a few drinks was reported to the FBI by Robert MacLean, a former air marshal and whistleblower.
Trump aides are 'selling' pardons at millions
In the last remaining days of his Presidency, Trump is in a chaotic situation after being the first-ever US president in history to be impeached twice. However, this is not the first time reports have surfaced about his chances to issue pardons to his closest aides as well as himself, before Biden formally comes to power. It must be kept in mind here that a Presidential pardon does not corroborate innocence, rather it is a power vested in the POTUS to reward close aides. But Trump has misused the power to an extreme level, reports The Guardian.
Among his recent acts of clemency, notable recipients are his first security adviser Michael Flynn who pleaded guilty about Russian connections, political consultant Roger Stone and former campaign manager Paul Manafort, both of whom were also charged in the Russia investigation. Jared Kushner’s father Charles Kushner, who was convicted of tax fraud and witness retaliation, has also gained a pardon from the President.
A detailed insider report by The New York Times stated that approval of pardons is being managed by Jared Kushner who apparently bypasses the intensive judicial review process for a candidate and thereby helps the President in issuing pardons left and right. In fact, several lobbyists have lined up to seek pardons on behalf of ‘clients’ who paid a generous ‘fee’. Surprisingly, the practice is not illegal.
For instance, the Daily Mail stated that lobbyist Brett Tolman has reportedly taken ‘tens of thousands of dollars’ to sway the President in issuing clemency to not one, but three people. The list includes the founder of online drug market, Silk Road, a person guilty in a fraud scheme, and tax-fraudster Jeremy Hutchinson, the son of a former Arkansas senator who paid $10,000 to secure the pardon.
John Dowd, Trump’s former lawyer, has also promised a pardon to sports gambler and convicted insider trader William T Walters, in exchange for a substantial amount of money.
What happened between Kiriakou and Giuliani?
The alleged conversation between Kiriakou and Trump’s attorney Giuliani’s associate took place at Trump Hotel in Washington DC last year. Over a fair share of drinks, the associate revealed to Kiriakou that a payout of $2 million to Giuliani can secure him a Presidential pardon. “Two million bucks – are you out of your mind? Even if I had two million bucks, I wouldn’t spend it to recover a $700,000 pension,” was reportedly Kiriakou’s response to the offer, revealed The New York Times. Ultimately, though he refrained from taking up the offer, his associate reported the shocking conversation to the federal authorities.
The Daily Mail stated that before the meeting at Trump Hotel last year, in 2018, Kiriakou apparently also met with Trump campaign adviser Karen Giorno and Trump’s former director of advance Georgie Gigicos, both of whom discussed the possibility of a presidential pardon for him. In fact, the trio entered an agreement with the corrupt CIA officer where he promised to pay $50,000 to “seek a full pardon from President Trump” and another additional $50,000 if a pardon was secured.
In a conversation with The New York Times, Kiriakou admitted about his meeting with Giuliani and his associate at the Trump Hotel. After the involved parties had ample amounts of alcohol, Giuliani reportedly took a restroom break, when his associate tabled the price of $2 million to Kiriakou.
Giuliani, who himself has been an integral part of Trump’s controversial policymaking, has recently gained utmost indignation after his words reportedly helped incite the violent Capitol riots on January 6. However, he is also known to have lost Trump’s favor in view of his ‘failed’ legal attempts to challenge the results of the 2020 election which showed Biden as the clear winner, reports The Guardian.
Though Kiriakou refused then, he later shared the story of Giuliani ‘selling pardons’ at a party, when it was heard by Rober MacLean. MacLean filed a report with the FBI claiming he 'felt duty-bound to report it,' reports NYT.