As far as political firsts go, America has seen quite a few over the course of the last several years.
Some of this is thanks to President Trump, who was elected, at least in part, in an effort to shake up the Washington elite’s status quo. Trump coasted to the 2016 finish line with his supporters chanting “lock her up” and “drain the swamp”; it’s doesn’t get any more “rock the boat” than that.
As Trump’s first term rolled on, we saw ever more of this unique politicking, as our nation’s governmental norms were tested and torqued.
Now, however, as Trump prepares to leave office, the DOJ is taking a look at something way out of the ordinary at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Federal investigators are looking into a potential “bribery-for-pardon” scheme involving presidential pardons, according to federal court documents unsealed by the chief judge for the federal court in Washington.
The heavily redacted documents revealed Tuesday do not name the individuals involved or President Donald Trump. They also do not indicate if any White House officials had knowledge of the scheme.
“No government official was or is currently a subject or target of the investigation disclosed in this filing,” a Justice Department official said.
The documents discuss whether prosecutors can review documents that may have been protected by attorney-client privilege and were seized as a result of a search warrant.
There is no doubt that the White House was involved, either.
The opinion, entered by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on Aug. 28, is tied to an ongoing investigation that may involve at least two individuals who “acted as lobbyists to senior White House officials, without complying with the registration requirement of the Lobbying Disclosure Act … to secure ‘a pardon or reprieve of sentence for'” one individual whose name is redacted.
While there has been no official announcement of who might be involved, social media users appeared convinced that Rudy Giuliani was somehow involved.
Become an insider!
Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.