New York Times: Trump allies have collected tens of thousands of dollars from pardon seekers

Allies and associates of President Donald Trump have collected tens of thousands of dollars in fees from those seeking pardons from the President, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The Times, citing documents and interviews with more than three dozen lobbyists and lawyers, reported that the lobbying for clemency intensified as it became apparent Trump had no standing to challenge his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden. Those who monetized the lobbying efforts include a former federal prosecutor, a former personal lawyer to the President and a former top Trump campaign adviser, among others, the Times reported.

As CNN previously reported, Trump has been expected to issue a flurry of pardons in the final days of his presidency and close business associates of the President and many high-profile criminals have ramped up efforts to secure a pardon before he leaves office.

As of late December, Trump was considering pardons for more than two dozen people in his orbit whom he believes were targeted — or could be targeted in the future — for political ends. That’s in addition to hundreds of requests from others who have approached the White House directly, and tens of thousands more whose petitions are pending at the Justice Department.

According to the Times, former US attorney Brett Tolman has collected tens of thousands of dollars in recent weeks to seek clemency for several people. Tolman did not respond to the New York Times’ request for comment. CNN has also reached out to Tolman for comment.

Former Trump attorney John Dowd has also accepted “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,” according to the Times. Dowd declined to answer questions to the Times and declined to comment on the report when reached by CNN Sunday.

And a former Trump campaign top adviser was paid $50,000 to secure a pardon for John Kiriakou, a former CIA intelligence officer who was convicted of illegally disclosing classified information in 2012, and agreed to a $50,000 bonus if the president granted it, according to a copy of an agreement obtained by the newspaper.

Kiriakou said, according to the Times, that an associate of Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani claimed the former mayor of New York could help with a pardon request for $2 million. Giuliani rejected those claims to the Times. CNN has reached out to Giuliani for comment Sunday.

The White House did not respond to CNN’s request for comment Sunday and declined to comment to the Times.

The Times noted that “there is nothing illegal about Trump associates being paid to lobby for clemency” and that any explicit offers of payment to the President could be investigated for possible violations of bribery laws. There is no evidence, however, that Trump was offered money in exchange for a pardon, according to the newspaper.

Following Trump’s reelection loss, calls and emails flooded into the West Wing from people looking to benefit. At one point, his staff was so inundated with requests for pardons or commutations that a spreadsheet had been created to keep track of the requests directed to Trump’s close aides.

Trump has also discussed issuing pardons for himself and his children with new urgency since the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN. However aides and allies are concerned over the public perception of such a pardon following the violent insurrection, which led to the deaths of five people.

So far, the President has pardoned and commuted sentences of several people in his circle, including longtime friend Roger Stone, former campaign manager Paul Manafort and former 2016 campaign aide George Papadopoulos.