Pardon Still For Sale

Written by SK Ashby

Trump has not issued quite as many pardons as some expected to see during his final weeks in office, but that may change tomorrow.

Sources who spoke to CNN, which first reported the news, say Trump will pardon or commute the sentences of up to 100 people on his last full day in office.

(CNN) -- President Donald Trump is preparing to issue around 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, according to three people familiar with the matter, a major batch of clemency actions that includes white collar criminals, high-profile rappers and others but -- as of now -- is not expected to include Trump himself.

The White House held a meeting on Sunday to finalize the list of pardons, two sources said.

CNN's sources say the reason why Trump did not act on pardons sooner is because he was too busy and focused on his efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election.

And, you know, maybe it's the wounded animal inside me that's talking, but I found that darkly humorous. I even cackled.

It's not funny, however, that pardons are apparently still for sale. The New York Times separately reported that an effort to buy pardons from Trump's White House became a small cottage industry that has been very lucrative for people close to Trump.

The pardon lobbying heated up as it became clear that Mr. Trump had no recourse for challenging his election defeat, lobbyists and lawyers say. One lobbyist, Brett Tolman, a former federal prosecutor who has been advising the White House on pardons and commutations, has monetized his clemency work, collecting tens of thousands of dollars, and possibly more, in recent weeks to lobby the White House for clemency for the son of a former Arkansas senator; the founder of the notorious online drug marketplace Silk Road; and a Manhattan socialite who pleaded guilty in a fraud scheme.

Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer John M. Dowd has marketed himself to convicted felons as someone who could secure pardons because of his close relationship with the president, accepting tens of thousands of dollars from a wealthy felon and advising him and other potential clients to leverage Mr. Trump’s grievances about the justice system.

A onetime top adviser to the Trump campaign was paid $50,000 to help seek a pardon for John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer convicted of illegally disclosing classified information, and agreed to a $50,000 bonus if the president granted it, according to a copy of an agreement.

According to the Times, former New York mayor and Trump's clownshow lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, has asked for up to $2 million to lobby Trump for pardons.

If Trump really does issue up to 100 pardons tomorrow, I think it's safe to assume that at least a few of them will be the result of corrupt deal-making.

I am not intimately familiar with pardon law, but my understanding is that a pardon that was part of an ongoing conspiracy could be invalid. But in any event, tomorrow could be Trump's final insult to the rule law in the United States.