What is the 'bribery-for-pardon' scheme? All you need to know as DOJ probes 'pay-for-play' White House fraud

The probe also includes an alleged offer by an 'unnamed' individual to 'offer a substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of the sentence'


                            What is the 'bribery-for-pardon' scheme? All you need to know as DOJ probes 'pay-for-play' White House fraud
(Getty Images)

The Justice Department is investigating an alleged bribery plan, “bribery-for-pardon”, involving presidential pardons, according to federal court documents unsealed by the chief judge for the federal court in Washington.

The documents which came to light on Tuesday, November 1, do not take any names or any involvement by President Donald Trump. It also does not indicate if any White House officials had any knowledge about the scheme. “No government official was or is currently a subject or target of the investigation disclosed in this filing," a Justice Department official said. The documents reveal whether prosecutors can review records that may have been shielded by attorney-client privilege and were seized as a result of a search warrant.

The government's action was initially submitted to Chief Judge Beryl A Howell under seal, in order to obtain approval to review certain attorney-client communications. The prosecutors concluded that the outcome that came after the investigation proved a potential "criminal activity."

According to a CBS report, a filter team working on behalf of the government went through several terabytes of data they had seized from over 50 electronic devices, such as iPhones, iPads, laptops, thumb drives and hard drives.

The probe also includes an alleged offer by an "unnamed" individual to “offer a substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of the sentence.” The judge has stated that investigators can review the communication made because the emails included someone who is not an attorney. "This political strategy to obtain a presidential pardon was 'parallel' to and distinct from" one individual's role as an attorney advocate for another individual", the ruling said, redacting both names.

The documents that were released on Tuesday include Judge Howell's order which was passed on August 28, that permitted the Justice Department to review communications uncovered as part of a bribery-for-pardon scheme. 

As soon, as the news of the alleged fraud came to light, people started reacting to it, CNN reporter Katelyn Polantz tweeted, "NEW NEW: The Justice Dept is investigating a potentially criminal scheme of bribery for a presidential pardon. LOTS redacted/unknown ... but court records are here, released this afternoon by the DC District Court:" While NBC reporter, Julie E Ainsley wrote, "According to the unsealed opinion from DC District Court, federal investigators are reviewing *over 50 digital media devices* seized as part of the probe into the "secret lobbying scheme" to seek a pardon from White House officials."



 



 

Accusing Trump, some said, "Trump in more trouble again. Department of Justice looking into bribery-for-pardon by Trump!!!! Trump taking bribes to pardon criminals!!!! Another reason why 81 MILLION PEOPLE voted trump out!!!!!" and "Further conjecture on my part. Trump did bribery for pardon, Barr will investigate and exonerate him then Trump can't be tried again due to double jeopardy. Anything else just doesn't make sense and cause my brain to sizzle." While one asked, "Is anyone surprised that the president of United States would run of bribery for pardons scandal out of the White House? Anyone?" Another one wrote, "Bribery for pardons? Should surprise absolutely no one."



 



 



 



 

One tweeted, "Big surprise here from the pay-for-play administration. Potential "bribery-for-pardon" scheme under investigation by DOJ." While one person who was completely surprised wrote, "Whoa!!!!!!  AN ACTUAL "BRIBERY FOR PARDON SCHEME?!?!?!?" WHAT???? And to think that I actually believed that there had to be some kind of a concrete LIMIT to all of the madness that has continued to surround Donald J. Trump's entire Administration."



 



 

If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514