The New report published by York Times on Sunday detailed a widespread and lucrative scheme involving people seeking a pardon as Trump’s time in office winds down. The report cites an associate of Rudy Giuliani who told a former CIA officer a presidential pardon was “going to cost $2 million.” The revelation is the latest bombshell to break across the last, chaotic days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who was requesting a Trump pardon after being jailed in 2012 for leaking the identity of an operative involved in torture, told the Times he laughed at the remark from the associate of Giuliani, the former New York mayor who as Trump’s personal attorney is reportedly a possible pardon recipient himself.
“Two million bucks – are you out of your mind?” Kiriakou reportedly said. “Even if I had two million bucks, I wouldn’t spend it to recover a $700,000 pension.”
Kiriakou told the Times his pursuit of a pardon came up during a meeting with Giuliani on another subject, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington last year.
During the meeting, which reportedly “involved substantial alcohol”, Giuliani went to the bathroom. It was then, Kiriakou said, that Giuliani’s unnamed associate told him: “It’s going to cost $2m – he’s going to want two million bucks.”
The Times said an associate of Kiriakou reported the conversation to the FBI.
Giuliani rejected Kiriakou’s version of events and said he did not work as a pardon broker because he already represented Trump.
“It’s like a conflict of interest,” he was quoted as saying, adding that though he had heard large fees were being offered for pardons, “I have enough money. I’m not starving,” he added, according to The Times.
Among recent recipients of pardons or acts of clemency are Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia; the political dirty trickster 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.
The Times report detailed an “ad hoc” White House system for approving pardons which it said was run by the Jared Kushner, bypassing the usual “intensive justice department review process intended to identify and vet the most deserving recipients from among thousands of clemency applications”.
The report also identified lobbyists it said were seeking pardons on behalf of fee-paying clients.