Calls are growing for the Justice Department to investigate Donald Trump’s attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for allegedly plotting to sell presidential pardons during the Trump administration, after his former employee Noelle Dunphy filed a $10 million lawsuit against Giuliani accusing him of sexual assault and other misconduct. The complaint alleges Giuliani “asked Ms. Dunphy if she knew anyone in need of a pardon, telling her that he was selling pardons for $2 million, which he and President Trump would split.” Dunphy is not the first person to publicly reveal this scheme; CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou has previously divulged that he was among those asked to pay up in return for a clean slate. “This lawsuit is the first that I heard that money was supposed to be split with President Trump,” he tells Democracy Now! Kiriakou, who did not ultimately get a pardon, says he was told by a Giuliani aide not to bother with a formal application and that it would be handled informally. “It was all supposed to be hush-hush,” he says.
An interesting part of the video with this article regarding the process of getting a pardon
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, in fact, John, Trump granted very few pardons. I don’t know if that’s just officially through, as you say, the Office of the Pardon Attorney, or even through these other means.
JOHN KIRIAKOU: Well, you know, that’s a very interesting thing. There really is a very formal way of applying for a pardon. You go to this website, you fill out the form, and you hope for the best. In the meantime, the website routes your application to the FBI, the FBI does a background investigation to make sure that you’ve been “rehabilitated,” and then it goes to your prosecuting attorneys and to the prosecuting judge for comment.
Now, this is supposed to be independent of the Justice Department. The Office of the U.S. Pardon Attorney is supposed to be attached to the executive office of the president. It’s actually not. It physically sits at the Justice Department, which is not the way lawmakers on Capitol Hill had originally intended it. But as a result, almost nobody is recommended for a pardon. Almost nobody. And in the meantime, if you want a pardon and you have access to the president, that’s really how you do it. That’s not unique, or that wasn’t unique to Donald Trump. Every president does it that way. It’s kind of one of those ugly little secrets of Washington.
So, what in the world is the Office of the US Pardon Attorney for if people can just go around it, probably have no investigation but instead possibly under the table pardons given out to those with lots of money. Feels like everything was a grift under the table with the Trump administration. Anyone, I believe, should be able to go to the OPA and ask to see the papers for WHY someone was granted a pardon.
Also side note that it is creepy that Trump is throwing out, as a carrot to get elected again, that he would pardon the lawbreakers on Jan 6th. A lot of Republican lawmakers also asked Trump for pardons. Now why would they do that if they didn[t think what they were doing was aboveboard?
The extraordinary claim also raised the prospect that the Republican members of Congress seeking clemency believed Trump’s election fraud claims were baseless: for why would they need pardons if they really were only raising legitimate questions about the election.
“It’s hard to find a more explicit statement of consciousness of guilt than looking for a pardon for actions you’ve just taken, assisting in a plan to overthrow the results of a presidential election,” Jamie Raskin, a member of the select committee, told reporters.
The disclosure about the pardons came during the opening hour of the hearing in which the panel made the case that Trump could not credibly believe he had won the 2020 election after some of his most senior advisers told him repeatedly that he had lost to Joe Biden.
Trump, according to videos of closed-door depositions played by the select committee, was told by his data experts he lost the election, told by the then attorney general, Bill Barr, that his election fraud claims were “bullshit”, a conclusion Ivanka Trump said she accepted.
The admissions by some of Trump’s top aides are important since they could put federal prosecutors one step closer to being able to charge Trump with obstructing an official proceeding or defrauding the United States on the basis of election fraud claims he knew were false.