Sources say that Donald Trump has discussed the possibility of presidential pardons for family members and other close associates in recent days. Moreover, the Department of Justice yesterday released federal court documents regarding an investigation of a “bribery-for-pardon” scheme.
The President was not explicitly named in the documents, and DOJ officials claim no government official “was or is currently a subject or target of the investigation disclosed in this filing.”
The investigation involves at least two individuals who attempted to under the table lobby (without official registration and compliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act) senior White House officials to secure a presidential pardon or reprieve of sentence.
The investigation also mentions another individual who allegedly offered a “substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of sentence.”
President Donald Trump commented on the investigation over Twitter.
Pardon investigation is Fake News!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2020
The investigation comes on the heels of Donald Trump granting a full pardon to Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI twice. In July, Trump also commuted the sentence of former campaign aide Roger Stone, who was convicted on obstruction charges of the congressional investigation on Russia’s 2016 presidential election interference.
Now rumors circulate who the President has in mind to pardon before January 20th preemptively, and that list includes himself, his family, son-in-law, and personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. One of our favorite sportsbooks, Bovada, dropped lines on the best pardon betting options.
Who Will Donald Trump Pardon Before January 21st, 2021?
Paul Manafort -400
George Papadopoulos -350
Rick Gates -350
Steve Bannon -250
Donald Trump +160
Edward Snowden +200
Rudy Giuliani +240
Julian Assange +250
Ghislaine Maxwell +300
Joe Exotic +300
It is important to note that pardons are not uncommon for outgoing presidents to make. Granting amnesty for indictments on federal crimes is a power all presidents have exercised. Barack Obama granted 212 pardons and over 1,700 commutations. So far, Trump has only given 28 pardons and 16 commutations.
Sources close to the President reported that Donald Trump fears the incoming Biden administration might target not only himself, but Donald Jr, Eric, Ivanka, and Jared Kushner as well. President Trump already awaits two possible lawsuits post-presidency in New York.
For people not yet indicted but legally vulnerable, preemptive pardons do have some precedent in the United States. In 1974, President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor Richard Nixon, blocking any prosecution possibility after Nixon’s Watergate scandal.
In Trump’s mind, granting clemency to his family and close associates is a reasonable precaution against “fake news” attacks by the Democratic party. Across the aisle, it may appear as if Donald Trump is attempting to protect his flock, who’s hands are clearly dirty.