Trump White House ‘corruption for mercy’ program under investigation

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The US Department of Justice is investigating whether there was a secret ploy to pressure White House officials for a pardon, as well as a related plot to offer a significant political contribution in return for clemency, according to an unsealed court document on Tuesday.
Much of the information in the 18-page court order is redacted, including the identities of the people prosecutors are investigating and for whom the proposed pardon may be directed.

But the August document reveals that people are believed to have acted to secretly pressure White House officials for a pardon or commutation of sentence and that, in a related program, a substantial political contribution has been made. brought in exchange for a grace.

As part of the investigation, more than 50 laptops, iPads and other digital devices were seized, according to the document.

The existence of the investigation was revealed in a court order of U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, the chief justice of the Washington federal court, in which it granted investigators access to certain related email communications alleged schemes which she said were not protected by a lawyer. client privilege.

Prosecutors will be able to use this material to confront any subject or target in the investigation, the judge wrote.

Sorry, sometimes politically tense

The order was dated August 28, and prosecutors sought to keep it private because they said it identified people not charged by a grand jury. But on Tuesday, Howell unsealed the document while removing all personally identifiable information from view.

Pardons are common at the end of a president’s term and are sometimes politically tense affairs, as some convicted felons seek to leverage connections inside the White House for clemency.

Last week, US President Donald Trump announced he had pardoned his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, even as a federal judge weighed a Justice Department request to dismiss the case.

Justice Department spokespersons did not immediately return an email asking for comment on Tuesday evening.

The existence of the investigation was first reported by CNN.

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