Adam Schiff, a secret service committee in the Democratic House, said a trial by the Department of Justice that pardons were given in exchange for campaign donations could be brought to justice against President Donald Trump.
Tuesday’s unfinished, heavily edited court documents showed the DOJ was continuing an investigation into a “bribery conspiracy program” in which an unnamed person or organization would “make a significant political contribution in exchange for presidential pardon or revocation of punishment”. The court records were originally obtained and published online by CNN. Names were not revealed due to edits. It was not immediately known whether President Donald Trump was involved in the investigation.
Trump on Tuesday rejected the probe’s news, tweeting, “Grace investigation is fake news!”
According to court records, the investigation is organized around two individuals who “acted as lobbyists before senior White House officials without complying with the registration requirements of the Lobbying Act.” Alleged lobbyists, in exchange for significant political donations, attempted to “increase presidential pardon or revoke the punishment” for an unnamed person.
Schiff said if Trump joins the system, he could be prosecuted. “If the president were involved, he wouldn’t be exempt from prosecution for it,” Schiff told MSNBC on Tuesday. “This must be clear under current law.”
Although Schiff stressed that the individuals involved “may be people we’ve never heard of,” he suggested that the investigation could revolve around huge numbers. “
“Someone involved in this conspiracy needs to be in close enough contact with the president or the people around the president to make this happen,” Schiff said. “You’re not going to pay a bribe to someone who has no relationship with the party that has the power to grant grace.”
Some observers tried to link Trump to the lawsuit, noting what high-ranking graces he had given during his administration. A DOJ official said no government official was targeted by the investigation, according to Reuters. Newsweek made further comments to the Ministry of Justice.
Public information from the DOJ shows that Trump gave only 29 pardons during his time in the White House. In comparison, former President George HW Bush, who spent a cycle between 1989 and 1993, gave 74 graces.
On Wednesday, Trump declared full pardon for General Michael Flynn. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in 2017 about the Mueller probe. Trump’s grace cleared Flynn of “all possible crimes” associated with the charges.