Wednesday, December 02, 2020
Justice is examining possible intrigue
Bribe for Trump pardon?
Just last week, Donald Trump pardoned his former security advisor Michael Flynn. Shortly before the end of the US President’s term of office, it is now known that the judiciary is investigating corruption allegations in connection with possible pardons.
Bribe for a possible pardon from the US President? Shortly before the end of Donald Trump’s term in office, the US judiciary is investigating a case involving this suspicion. Who could be involved in the potential criminal offense does not emerge from a 20-page court document that a federal court in Washington has now published. Names and large parts of the document have been blackened out. Trump wrote on Twitter that the investigation was “fake news”. No charges have yet been brought in the case. The US President has almost unlimited powers under the Constitution to issue pardons at the federal level.
In the now partially published document from the end of August, Federal Judge Beryl A. Howell ruled, among other things, that more than 50 seized digital storage media do not fall under the protected communication of a lawyer with his clients. The investigators are allowed to evaluate these storage media – including smartphones, laptops and USB sticks – and confront the accused with the results. The investigators suspect an intrigue based on the principle of “bribery for pardon”. Republican Trump could pardon several people before his term ends on Jan. 20. Former presidents such as Barack Obama made use of this right up to the last day in office.
Precautionary family pardons?
The “New York Times” now reports that Trump has already spoken to advisors about “precautionary pardons” for his three oldest children, Donald Trump Junior, Eric and Ivanka Trump, and his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner. Trump has expressed concern to his advisors that the Justice Department under the future US President Joe Biden could “retaliate”. However, Biden had recently said that, unlike Trump, he would not use the Justice Department to investigate his political opponent. US media also reported that Trump spoke to his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani about his pardon.
Last week, Trump pardoned his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, exposing himself to abuse of power. Retired General Flynn was caught up in the affair of Russian influence over the 2016 US presidential election. Republican Trump could pardon more people before his term ends on Jan. 20. Former presidents such as the Democrat Barack Obama made use of this right up to the last day in office.
Flynn had only served as National Security Advisor in the White House for just over three weeks in 2017. He later admitted in the course of the investigation into the Russia affair that he had lied to the FBI. He is also said to have lied to Vice President Mike Pence. Flynn pleaded guilty to the investigation by FBI special investigator Robert Mueller. In January, Flynn moved to withdraw his confession shortly before a verdict was expected.
In May, the Justice Ministry called for an end to the proceedings in a highly unusual step. One is not convinced that the hearing of Flynn in January 2017 was based on a legitimate investigation, it said, among other things. Trump then hailed Flynn as a “hero”. The case was stuck in a federal court after the controversial advance of the Ministry of Justice. The judge responsible there had not agreed to drop the allegations against Flynn.
After being voted out, Trump is president with all rights until January 20 – and there are still some convicts among his allies who are likely to hope that he will intervene. These include his advisors from the 2016 election campaign, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, who, like Flynn, had been convicted in connection with Russia investigations. In Washington, there is also speculation that Trump could also try to pardon himself for possible violations of the law at the federal level.