Amid reports of US President Donald Trump likely to go on a pardoning spree during his last days in office, an aide to his lawyer Rudy Giuliani's has told a former CIA agent that Trump's pardon can be bought at $2 million. The offer was given to John Kiriakou, a former CIA operative, during his meeting with Giuliani and his associates at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.
Trump is likely to issue clemency to as many as 100 people on his last day in office, CNN reported, citing official sources. These pardons include those that mark criminal justice reform, while quite a lot will be doled out to political allies.
John Kiriakou Sought Presidential Pardon to Access His Pension
The startling revelation was made by The New York Times. In 2012 Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment for disclosing the identity of a fellow officer involved in waterboarding.
The outlet, which claimed to have reviewed several documents reported that in one document, a former top adviser to Trump's campaign agreed to receive a payout of $50,000 if he could sway the president to pardon Kirakou.
Speaking to the outlet, Kiriakou revealed about seeking pardon through other people having connections with Trump. Kiriakou sought pardon to get an access to his pension and permission to carry a handgun.
The topic of cash for pardon cropped up during a meeting with Giuliani and his aides at Trump's hotel. "When Giuliani went to the restroom during the meeting, one of his associates said Giuliani could help, but "it's going to cost $2 million - he's going to want two million bucks," Kiriakou told the Times.
Claiming that he refused the offer, Kiriakou said, "I laughed. 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."
Expert Calls it Violation of Effort to Make the Process Look fair
In its report The Times described an "ad hoc" White House system for approving pardons, being run by the younger Kushner, bypassing the usual "intensive justice department review process intended to identify and vet the most deserving recipients from among thousands of clemency applications".
Speaking to the outlet, Margaret Love, who was the United States pardon attorney at the Department of Justice for seven years, said that this kind of off-books influence peddling, special-privilege system denies consideration to the hundreds of ordinary people who have obediently lined up as required by justice department rules, and is a basic violation of the longstanding effort to make this process at least look fair.
Among those who have recently received pardons or acts of clemency include Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia; Roger Stone, who did not turn on Trump during the Russia investigation in which he was convicted of obstructing Congress; Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager convicted in the Russia investigation; and Charles Kushner, father of Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner who was convicted of tax fraud and witness retaliation, reported The Guardian.