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DOJ Was Investigating 'Bribery-For-Pardon Scheme' For Months As Trump Campaigned For Reelection

DOJ Was Investigating 'Bribery-For-Pardon Scheme' For Months As Trump Campaigned For Reelection
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump's use of pardon powers throughout his time in the White House has been broadly decried by his critics for blatant corruption and preferential treatment of his supporters.

Most recently, Trump pardoned disgraced General Mike Flynn, who—by Trump's own admission—lied to intelligence officials and the Vice President about his discussions with Russian diplomats.

Trump has also pardoned former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was proven to seek bribes in exchange for an appointment to fill the vacancy left in the U.S. Senate by Obama's ascent to the presidency.

He also pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County, AZ sheriff who was convicted for contempt of court after refusing to heed a judge's order to stop detaining people based on their immigration status.

The list goes on.

As news broke that Trump is reportedly considering preemptive pardons of his three eldest children and son-in-law Jared Kushner, recently unsealed court documents indicate that even Trump's own Justice Department is investigating a potential pay-for-pardons scheme.

A heavily redacted opinion from U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell written August 28 but published on Tuesday mentions a "bribery-for-pardon scheme."

The documents go on to reveal that federal officials spent months investigating individuals who "acted as lobbyists to senior White House officials, without complying with the registration requirement," to secure pardons or sentence commutations.

People once again suspected that the White House was pawning off pardons.

People weren't exactly shocked.

According to his attorney, Joe Exotic, the star of the viral Netflix documentary Tiger King is "very close" to getting a presidential pardon.