Former federal prosecutor and current CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said on Monday that new reporting on President Donald Trump's corrupt use of his pardon power could open the door to criminal charges against either the president or his associates.
During an appearance on CNN, host Alisyn Camerota pointed to a report from the New York Times alleging that several wealthy felons have been paying money to Trump allies so that they can personally lobby the president for a pardon for their crimes.
Honig did not hesitate to say that this scheme reeks of illegality.
"That gets my old prosecutor adrenaline flowing," he said. "I would absolutely want to dig into this as a prosecutor. The presidential pardon power is very broad, but it doesn't mean it's a total free-for-all. If people are exchanging cash or promises or benefits even indirectly for pardons, that could be a federal crime."
Honig said that, based on the Times' reporting, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani looks particularly vulnerable to potential prosecution.
"Criminal charges absolutely could be in play here," he said. "You mentioned that fact that Rudy Giuliani requested $2 million to obtain a pardon for a client? I mean, let me tell you, there's no way there's $2 million worth of actual legal work being done by Rudy Giuliani there. so, as a prosecutor, i would definitely want to take a look at that."
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