An associate of Rudy Giuliani told a former CIA officer a presidential pardon was “going to cost $2m”, the New York Times reported on Sunday in the latest bombshell to break across the last, chaotic days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
The report detailed widespread and in some cases lucrative lobbying involving people seeking a pardon as Trump’s time in office winds down. The 45th president, impeached twice, will leave power on Wednesday with the inauguration of Joe Biden.
The former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who was jailed in 2012 for leaking the identity of an operative involved in torture, told the Times he laughed at the remark from the associate of Giuliani, the former New York mayor who as Trump’s personal attorney is reportedly a possible pardon recipient himself.
“Two million bucks – are you out of your mind?” Kiriakou reportedly said. “Even if I had two million bucks, I wouldn’t spend it to recover a $700,000 pension.”
An associate of Kiriakou reported the conversation to the FBI, the Times said.
Biden to sign series of executive orders
Joe Biden will sign a series of executive orders in his first days in office, attempting to roll back damage done at home and abroad by Donald Trump, whom the Democrat will replace as president on Wednesday.
Biden, 78, has already outlined plans to send an immigration bill and a Covid stimulus and relief package to a newly Democratic-controlled Congress. On Friday he said he would shake up the delivery of vaccines against Covid-19, mired in chaos under Trump.
According to a memo from chief of staff Ron Klain released on Saturday, Biden plans to return the US to the Paris climate accords and the Iran nuclear deal, overturn Trump’s travel ban against some Muslim-majority countries, restrict evictions and foreclosures under the pandemic and institute a mask mandate on federal property.
President Biden will enjoy Democratic control of both houses of Congress, if by a slender margin in the House and by Kamala Harris’s casting vote as vice-president in a 50-50 Senate. But Senate business, including confirmation for Biden’s cabinet nominees, will soon be dominated by Trump’s impeachment trial.
On Sunday, Klain told CNN’s State of the Union: “It’s important for the Senate to do its constitutional duty, but also to do its constitutional duty to move forward on these appointments, on the urgent action the country needs.
“During the last time President Trump was tried the Senate was able to hold confirmation hearings for nominees during the morning [and] was able to conduct other business. I hope that the Senate leaders on a bipartisan basis find a way to move forward on all their responsibilities. This impeachment trial is one of them but getting people into the government and getting action on coronavirus is another one of those responsibilities.”