Usually, a president takes his power to pardon very seriously. They take recommendations from the Justice Department after they’ve studied a case for at least two years. Typically, pardons come at the end of a presidential term. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama didn’t issue one pardon between them during their first two years.
Trump, on the other hand, issues pardons like they’re Skittles. But, you only taste the rainbow if you’re famous, a high-profile conservative culture warrior pimping conspiracy theories, been on Celebrity Apprentice, or your conviction is something a Trump associate is facing.
The GOP is supposed to be the Law and Order Party, and they still make that claim. Yet, Donald Trump gave the Federal Justice system the middle finger when he pardoned racist Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. He was found guilty of contempt of court relating to civil rights violations. Sheriff Joe hadn’t even completed going through the sentencing part of his case when Trump dropped a pardon on him. Joe’s pardon was red meat for his base, which loves them some racists who deny civil rights to brown people.
Then he pardoned Scooter Libby, convicted of lying to the FBI while Mueller was the bureau’s chief. George W. Bush refused to pardon Libby as he left office.
On Thursday, Trump pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, a crazy right-wing conspiracy theorist who was convicted of campaign finance violations after funneling over $20,000 through straw donors to evade laws limiting individual donations. This was from a recommendation from Ted Cruz, who loves him some radical, religious crackpot crazies.
Trump told a reporter that he’s considering pardoning Martha Stewart and Rod Blagojevich.
He’s also considering a pardon for a woman in Tennessee currently serving a life sentence on drug charges. That’s a good thing. Unfortunately, the only reason Trump is considering it is that her advocate is Kim Kardashian who saw a video of her plight, then jetted to the White House to hobnob with Trump and make the case for her pardon. It’s good to lessen a charge on drug charges, but it’s not so good when you ignore your Justice Department and instead take legal counsel from a C-list celebrity married to Kanye. But still, it’s probably better to listen to a Kardashian than to Ted Cruz.
A pardon for each of these individuals sends a very loud wink and a nudge to Trump associates who are or may be facing federal charges.
D’Souza’s pardon sends a message to Trump fixer/lawyer Michael Cohen, as the crime here is campaign finance violation. It’s really hard to see how Cohen didn’t break any laws funneling money to porn star Stormy Daniels, which was definitely unreported and over the limit donation to the Trump campaign. Cohen hasn’t flipped yet, that we know of. This sends a message that Trump will take care of him if he’s patient and that Trump won’t go through the usual procedure with the Justice Department.
D’Souza was also prosecuted by Preet Bharara and in New York’s Southern District Court, where Cohen is being tried. Bharara was dismissed as U.S. Attorney by Trump, as he wanted someone who will protect him in that district, where Trump Tower is located and where Donald has probably committed several crimes.
Scooter Libby and Martha Stewart both lied to the FBI, which several Trump associates have done, and which Trump will do as soon as he testifies himself. Stewart is also a friend of Trump’s, and he once appeared on her show making meatloaf sandwiches. On top of the lying and meatloaf, Stewart was investigated and tried while James Comey was head of the FBI. Robert Mueller was in charge of that department when Scooter was convicted.
Blagojevich was caught on tape trying to sell the Senate seat President Obama vacated after being elected president. As governor of Illinois, Blago got the opportunity to fill the seat with the person of his choosing. He thought it was a golden ticket and was caught saying on tape with the statement, “I’ve got this thing, and it’s ‘effing’ golden. And I’m just not giving it up for ‘effing’ nothing.” Blago also appeared on Celebrity Apprentice. Plus, pardoning someone convicted of corruption sends a loud and clear message to basically every person who works in the Trump administration.
The president has power to pardon, but he can’t use his authority to subvert or obstruct justice. When Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich on his way out-of-town, Republicans howled and screamed about improper conduct and an investigation was launched. No charges were ever brought up, however.
Richard Nixon dangled clemency to many entangled in Watergate.
There are reports that Trump has also done a little pardon dangling of his own, as his lawyers discussed a pardon with Michael Flynn before he started cooperating with the Special Counsel currently investigating Russiagate.
Russiagate is Watergate with stupid people. Donald Trump is corrupt and he’s too stupid to hide it.
Which Trump gangsters could be the beneficiaries of pardons? Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and Michael Cohen? Any list would have to include the biggest Trump gangster of all. Donald Trump.
Watch me draw.
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