Blind item: who got caught trying to bribe Donald Trump for a pardon?

President Trump holds an event on Protecting Seniors with Diabetes

The word of the week is “pardons,” as Donald Trump considers pardoning Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Don Jr, plus Rudy Giuliani. Those are the people who have been (nominally) “loyal” to Mob Boss Bigly, but we shouldn’t discount the idea that pardons will be issued for reasons other than loyalty and concern for his favorite children. The breaking news last night was that the Department of Justice has been investigating a web of crimes involved with a “pay-to-pardon” scheme.

The Justice Department is investigating a potential crime related to funneling money to the White House or related political committee in exchange for a presidential pardon, according to court records unsealed Tuesday in federal court.

The disclosure is in 20 pages of partially redacted documents made public by the DC District Court on Tuesday afternoon. The records show Chief Judge Beryl Howell’s review in August of a request from prosecutors to access documents obtained in a search as part of a bribery-for-pardon investigation. The filings don’t reveal a timeline of the alleged scheme, or any names of people potentially involved, except that communications between people including at least one lawyer were seized from an office that was raided sometime before the end of this summer.

No one appears to have been publicly charged with a related crime to date. A Justice Department official told CNN that “no government official was or is currently a subject or target of the investigation disclosed in this filing.”

According to the court records, at the end of this summer, a filter team, used to make sure prosecutors don’t receive tainted evidence that should have been kept from them because it was privileged, had more than 50 digital devices including iPhones, iPads, laptops, thumb drives and computer drives after investigators raided the unidentified offices.

[From CNN]

Lawyer Twitter was running through the redacted filing and there’s some evidence to suggest that the person seeking a pardon A) is already serving time or in custody and B) has a surname ending in “S”.

Someone also floated the name Ghislaine Maxwell, who is currently sitting in a detention center in Brooklyn, awaiting trial. That… makes a lot of sense. Maxwell has a lot of money and she can hire people who have access to the Trumps. Plus, we still don’t know how much incriminating evidence she’s sitting on, and just who will be implicated in the cache of Jeffrey Epstein files she has. Everyone assumes that Epstein had files on/videos with Donald Trump too.

Anyway, this is the worst/most disgusting blind item ever, but who was trying to bribe Trump for a pardon? I really can’t figure it out.

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52 Responses to “Blind item: who got caught trying to bribe Donald Trump for a pardon?”

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  1. Astrid says:

    GH makes a lot of sense.

  2. Elle says:

    Flynn or stone but someone else is solicited and pays for the bribe. I also think that it is a done deal- like the bribe in the August filing has already taken place as the record was sealed until Nov 30.

    What do I win when it all comes out? All I really want is to get our country back.

  3. Becks1 says:

    This is interesting in that the DoJ was actually investigating it, but also – in terms of who it is – it has to be someone who didn’t think they would get a pardon anyway. We all know Trump is going to hand out pardons like candy at Halloween over the next 6 weeks. So who would be worried that they would be left out and would NOT be given one of those automatic presidential pardons?

    • GR says:

      @Becks1 – Eric?

    • Noodle says:

      And it would reason the person seeking pardon has already been charged with or convicted of a crime. I know anticipatory pardons are a big topic of discussion, but their legality is still up in the air. It would be more logical for someone to seek out and pay for a pardon for a crime that has actually been charged/convicted.

  4. Chris says:

    Of course. This is a logical conclusion to this presidency.

    • Elle says:

      IKR? It started with the tradition-busting inauguration grift ( who could have anticipated that any administration would kick things off by inflating invoices and funneling money back to the new president’s own coffers) and now in Season 4, we are winding down with pardons.

      The last episode will be the last tradition-buster this administration will ever gift us with: The White House staff just takes everything that isn’t nailed down, you know , to adorn their personal fireplace mantle’s and maybe jail cells.

      • Original Jenns of says:

        Considering he’s already stolen things from embassies, there needs to be an whole inventory and experts coming in to make sure these grifters haven’t swapped out OUR nation’s property.

    • josephine says:

      Selling pardons is on brand. I think most people just assumed he was selling pardons.

      • downtherabbithole says:

        @josephine that was my thought too – I would have been far more shocked if he WASN’T selling them. Maybe that’s why he has to preemptively pardon his kiddos – they’re the go-betweens for the pardon parade.

      • Becks1 says:

        I assumed he was selling pardons but not quite so blatantly – like “make a big donation to my super PAC and oh look! here’s a pardon!” this feels more direct than that, but I haven’t read into it too much at this point.

  5. Chaine says:

    My question is, once it all comes out, can he pardon them for attempting to bribe him to pardon them? Because I feel like he is going to pardon everyone remotely associated with himself and his cronies just as a final F U to the American people.

    • Shoshone says:

      “My question is, once it all comes out, can he pardon them for attempting to bribe him to pardon them?“

      Why, yes he can. (Sigh)

    • coffee_coffee_coffee says:

      I live in Illinois, where our governor at the time, Rod Blagojevich, went to jail for trying to sell then-Senator, soon-to-be President Obama’s Senate seat. There were FBI tapes of Blago speaking with circumspection and pointedly about getting money for an appointment. Guessing Trump, who pardoned Blago, is thinking he can get money for doing similar.

  6. Amy Too says:

    That’s so clever that they figure out the name probably ends in an S because of the XXX’ to make a possessive. If the name ended in any other letter it would be XXX’s

    • GR says:

      @amy too – It also means the writer of the redacted document slept through eighth grade English class.

      • sassafras says:

        No. I’ve been a government lawyer redacting stuff for FOIAs. Sometimes it just means you’ve been staring at glitchy software all day and your brain is numb and your mouse is just on autopilot. Don’t assume the people doing this are idiots. They’re just tired government employees.

  7. Darla says:

    Hat’s off to framing this as a blind gossip item, I laughed.

  8. MapleAngel says:

    What is extra funny is that, grammatically, you don’t drop the possessive “s” if a name ends in S. You only drop the S for a plural.
    Eg “iPhones’ chargers”. But “Wes’s movies”
    So this reveal was a big fat screwup for Ms Hicks (the future Mrs tRump).

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Actually, you don’t. If a name ends in “s”, you only need to add the ‘ AFTER the final “s” in the name: Charles’ books… Ellis’ car. I taught this in 3rd grade for 30 yrs 😊

      ETA: in “The Punctuation Guide” it states: “The possessive of a plural noun is formed by adding only an apostrophe when the noun ends in s, and by adding both an apostrophe and s when it ends in a letter other than s.”

      • Rapunzel says:

        English professor here: as per Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab:

        “the generally accepted convention for most academic styles (including CMOS, APA, and MLA) is to add apostophe + s to the singular form of the word, even if it ends in “s.” Non-academic styles, such as AP, suggest simply adding an apostrophe to the end of a word that ends in “s.” Please check the style guide of whatever format you’re using to make sure you’re in line with their recommendations.”

        Best, most concise, explanation I’ve seen.

        Note: when I wrote my MA thesis, my Grad Studies Dept. made me add all the ‘s, even though my instructors weren’t asking for it

      • Noodle says:

        @Rapunzel, fellow professor checking in. I don’t teach straight English per se, but I teach teachers how to teach English. Your reference to OWL Purdue just made my day. Vastly underutilized resource that I check on the regular!

  9. SJ Knows says:

    Am thinking the line of crooks and grifters hoping for/buying a pardon will go around a city block. Some many.

  10. Lizzie says:

    Well shoot, my guess up until I read about the S was Paul Manafort.

  11. g says:

    The request for pardon was for Nickie Lum Davis who worked as a consultant for Elliott Broidy

    the names fits and Broidy has the money

  12. theothercleo says:

    But why would Guislaine Maxwell try to bribe Trump if she has dirt on him? Why would you give a lot of money to a man you could just blackmail?

    • wildwaffles says:

      That’s my thought with her, too. She just has to let slip what she might have and sit back and watch them try to get her case dropped, etc. Her bigger concern over a pardon is staying alive and not “committing suicide” or falling out a window.

      • Liz version 700 says:

        Luckily, Maxwell can be charged with state crimes the minute a pardon drops for her. sex trafficking and child rape are state crimes as well. She would be better off staying in the federal system, at least the jails are nicer.

    • Noodle says:

      @theothercleo, I don’t think it’s her for that reason. He knows what they have on him. He has other motivations to stay quiet than money.

  13. Lady D says:

    I was sure it was Bill Cosby.

  14. MipMip says:

    A person must be convicted of a federal crime in order for the president to pardon them. Trumps kids, Hicks, Giuliani and Maxwell have not been convicted of anything yet so Trump has no pardoning power for them.

    • Sumodo1 says:

      Nixon wasn’t convicted. Nixon’s pardon by Gerald Ford was a simple “blanket” statement that covered all of his crimes. Unlike Nixon, 45 will face charges in NY beyond the grasp of a pardon.

      • MipMip says:

        @sumodo Unfortunately I replied here before reading all the preemptive pardoning stuff. Though if you pick at the precedent thread of Ford’s pardon I’m not sure it would hold up. Sending good vibes to Letitia James.

  15. Darla says:

    I feel like something this messy has to involve Rudy Guiliani somewhere.

  16. B n A fn says:

    This is just my opinion, did not hear it any where. I always had a feeling he was selling his presidency. #45 only sees $$$$. I can’t wait until he leaves and then the flood gates will open and we will find out how much he and his family robbed us. I’m thinkings a billion dollars is on the low end. The man is a con artist from the get go.

  17. Josie says:

    I thought it was Joe Exotic from Tiger King, but no s in his name. Joe Exotic’s attorney’s are very confident he will be pardoned.

  18. elle says:

    Lev Parnas?

  19. Caitrin says:

    Ross from Silk Road. There are some additional documents with the attorney named – and oddly, they also cite Matt Gaetz of all people.

  20. sophieb9 says:

    Michael Avenatti. Anyone jailed for Enron or running a Ponzi scheme. Elizabeth Holmes.

  21. Mrs. Smith says:

    Maybe Rick Gates, the former Trump inaugural committee deputy chairman? Vanky was disposed in the campaign fraud case yesterday, per CNN.

  22. outofthecloset says:

    Here’s my theory of the week: It’s Lil Wayne! Because Lil Wayne is up on federal gun charges and endorsed him!

    But I guess the name doesn’t fit, sadly, I was really excited that Lil Wayne was going to be the straw that broke Trump’s back! LOL