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Trump's Train of Pardons: A Love Story

Robert Franklin

Posted on June 2, 2018 11:29

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Through the use of his powers to pardon, President Trump has put on full-display what criteria is necessary to obtain one. If you're a friend, an associate or even politically similar, the President will grant you clemency, no matter the conviction.

The first passenger on President Trump's train of pardons boarded last August -- former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court. In March, Trump pardoned Kristian Mark Saucier who was convicted in 2016 of unauthorized retention of defense information. In April, President Trump pardoned former Bush Administration official Scooter Libby who was convicted in 2007 of obstruction of justice and perjury for his role in the Plame Affair. Earlier this week, President Trump formally announced a pardon of pundit Dinesh D’Souza who pleaded guilty in 2014 to making a felony campaign contribution.
 
At the time of President Trump’s announcement of a full pardon for D’Souza, he also floated the possibility of a pardon for Martha Stewart -- who, in 2004, was convicted of multiple charges related to insider trading -- and commuting the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted in 2011 on 17 counts of extortion and corruption related to President Obama’s former Illinois Senate seat.
 
I do not wish to make the case that the Presidential pardon is something with which we should do away. I think it’s a great tool that, when used correctly, can enable actual justice to be done when the justice system itself loses its way. However, in the hands of this President, the pardon appears to be a tool to stick it to the Justice Department.
 
For example, pardoning Libby, Stewart, and Blagojevich -- whose accusations and charges mirror those of Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen -- may be a signal for those currently shackled in the Mueller investigation that keeping mum could net a favor down the line.
 
Furthermore, President Trump isn’t pardoning in the same way his predecessors did. He doesn’t look to the Justice Department for guidance. Instead, Trump chooses the beneficiaries of his pardons based on who he knows personally and who he recognizes from TV.
 
Arpaio was a staunch (and early) supporter of the President and occasionally speaks at Trump rallies. Both Stewart and Blagojevich are connected to The Apprentice.
 
But the D’Souza pardon is perhaps the most intriguing of any, both administered and speculated, for two reasons. First, the D’Souza’s pardon is a jurisprudence insult to former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (who pursued the case against D’Souza and has been a vocal critic of the President). Second, a D’Souza pardon legitimizes in conservative politics the very same conspiratorial mud-flinging that formed the backbone of D’Souza’s career as a pundit, and propelled Trump to the Presidency. While it would be incorrect to say that Dinesh D’Souza is the reason Donald Trump is President of the United States, it would also be incorrect to not give Dinesh D’Souza credit where it is due. After all, D’Souza has been a racist, homophobic faux-intellectual tyrant since even before Alex Jones first scream-wheezed into a microphone.

Trump's train of pardons shows us all one thing: it's good to have friends, or admirers, in high places. It automatically nets a "Get Out of Jail Free" card.

Robert Franklin

Posted on June 2, 2018 11:29

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Source: Politico
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To get a pardon from President Donald Trump, it clearly helps to be famous. As conservative filmmaker and author Dinesh...

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