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Trump pardons buddies

Written By: - Date published: 10:24 am, December 27th, 2020 - 13 comments
Categories: crime, Donald Trump, prisons, uncategorized, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Recently instead of playing golf Donald Trump has been handing out pardons, lots and lots of pardons.  So which outstanding members of the American community has he decided to exercise the prerogative of mercy and are there any common features amongst them?

I should start by noting that the constitution gives the POTUS the power to “grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment”.  The power is very wide although it applies only to federal crimes.

Amongst those who were pardoned:

  • Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort who had been convicted of unregistered lobbying, tax fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.  In words that can only have come from Trump the White House notes claim that “[a]s a result of blatant prosecutorial overreach, Mr. Manafort has endured years of unfair treatment and is one of the most prominent victims of what has been revealed to be perhaps the greatest witch hunt in American history.”
  • Trump’s former campaign advisor Roger Stone who was convicted of lying to Congress and obstructing a congressional investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during 2016.  The White House Notes claim his conviction was the result of “prosecutorial misconduct”.
  • George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to federal officials during the Russia investigation.
  • Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer and son-in-law of the Russian billionaire German Khan, who had pleaded guilty to similar charges to Papadopoulos.
  • Margaret Hunter, the wife of Duncan Hunter, the former Republican representative of California, convicted of misusing campaign funds for personal benefit.
  • Four former Blackwater contractors who were convicted on charges related to a 2007 massacre in Iraq. The four men who were part of a security convoy had fired indiscriminately at civilians and killed 14 people including a nine-year-old child.
  • Charles Kushner, Jared’s father, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion and lying to the Federal Election Commission, as well as witness tampering, after he hired a sex worker to seduce his brother in law William Schulder, videotaping the encounter and sending the tape to Schulder’s wife and his sister in an act of retaliation for Schulder, cooperation with the authorities over their investigation into Kushner.
  • Former Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York.  They were two of the earliest GOP lawmakers to back Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Collins was sentenced to jail after admitting he helped his son and others dodge $800,000 in stock market losses when he learned that a drug trial by a small pharmaceutical company had failed. Hunter was jailed after pleading guilty to stealing campaign funds and spending the money on everything from outings with friends to his daughter’s birthday party.
  • Phil Lyman, a Utah state representative who led all-terrain vehicle protest ride in 2014 through a canyon that officials had closed to motorized traffic to protect ruins that are nearly 2,000 years old.
  • Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, convicted of shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler near El Paso, Texas, in 2005.
  • Alfonso Costa, a Pittsburgh dentist who pleaded guilty to health care fraud who happens to be Ben Carson’s best friend.

Trump had previously pardoned Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with a Russian official.

The others recently pardoned appear to be more clearing of the decks type pardons.

One person close to Trump who he has not pardoned is his former lawyer Michael Cohen.  Maybe it is because Cohen has been saying what he really thinks about Trump.  Such as in this article from the BBC:

Donald Trump behaves like a mobster and has “a low opinion of all black people”, according to the US president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.

The allegations come from Cohen’s new book, Disloyal: A Memoir, written during his jail term for Trump campaign finance violations, among other crimes.

Cohen claims Mr Trump also made racist comments about Nelson Mandela and Hispanics.

The White House says Cohen is lying.

“Cohen is a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement at the weekend. “He has lost all credibility, and it’s unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies.”

In the book, Cohen alleges that Mr Trump is “guilty of the same crimes” that landed him in prison, and calls his former boss “a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a conman”. He said he had the mentality of a “mob boss”.

In the next couple of weeks do not be surprised if Rudy Giuliani or Trump’s family or even Trump himself gets a pardon.  He has been thinking about it.  From Maggie Haberman at the New York Times:

President Trump has discussed with advisers whether to grant pre-emptive pardons to his children, to his son-in-law and to his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and talked with Mr. Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Trump has told others that he is concerned that a Biden Justice Department might seek retribution against the president by targeting the oldest three of his five children — Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — as well as Ms. Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser.

Donald Trump Jr. had been under investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for contacts that the younger Mr. Trump had had with Russians offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign, but he was never charged. Mr. Kushner provided false information to federal authorities about his contacts with foreigners for his security clearance, but was given one anyway by the president.

The nature of Mr. Trump’s concern about any potential criminal exposure of Eric Trump or Ivanka Trump is unclear, although an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney into the Trump Organization has expanded to include tax write-offs on millions of dollars in consulting fees by the company, some of which appear to have gone to Ms. Trump.

Before Trump the thought of a President pardoning himself would have been impossible to imagine.  But there again we have not previously had in the White House such an extreme uber narcissistic spoilt child.

Lloyd Green in the Guardian explains the pardons in these terms:

By any measure, Trump has set a new standard for debasing the presidency. As he stares at an ignominious exit, the ex-reality show host has even managed to make Clinton’s pardon of Rich look quaint. And that takes effort.

Yet unlike the Clinton pardon of Rich, a fugitive financier, which sparked a review by James Comey and a barrage of Republican condemnation, among the GOP in Congress Trump’s pardons have elicited little more than a yawn. With the exception of Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who called the pardons “rotten to the core”, they have been met with a collective shrug.

None of this should come as a surprise. Trump has recreated the GOP in his image. Republicans know he commands the party’s base, and they stand one primary away from oblivion. In the end, what’s a pardon between friends?

Hopefully the end is in sight for the Trump presidency.  The Electoral College vote is counted by a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021 and Biden’s inauguration is set for January 20, 2021.  But the one thing that I think we can expect is that Trump will not go quietly.  Hang onto your hats, this could get wild.

13 comments on “Trump pardons buddies ”

  1. bwaghorn 1

    Do you think the mericans have worked out that giving so much power to one person is a bad idea?

    • mickysavage 1.1

      I thought the system was designed so that one person did not have too much power. Just goes to show what an extremist can achieve.

      • Incognito 1.1.1

        The system was never designed for a person such as Trump and it has been shown as definitely not Trump-proof.

        • Andre

          One of the original intentions for the Electoral College was to be a safeguard against someone like the Papaya Palpatine becoming president.

          The idea was the Electors would be people capable of assessing the character of the candidates, and if the popular vote went to someone clearly unfit, they would exercise their judgement and choose a different candidate that actually was fit for office.The Federalist Paper #68 explains the reasoning.

          Needless to say, the intended safeguard has failed. Craptacularly.

      • Andre 1.1.2

        Yes, it was indeed intended for the President's powers to be checked by Congress.

        Over time, though, Congress has quite willingly ceded much of its power to the president, mostly because they're afraid of taking any kind of stance that might be unpopular with their constituents. It's a lot safer to block something, or just let the president get away with doing something, than cop the blame for something pro-active.

        Hence the growth of executive power, both through use of Executive Orders, and the increase in size, number, and power of agencies in the Executive branch.

        When it comes to pardons, I'm guessing the writers of the Constitution thought the Electoral College was sufficient safeguard against someone like Genghis Don getting the power and using it to further his own personal interests. See Federalist 68 for some of the reasoning for the Electoral College. So the problem was a failure in system design, not lack of foresight about possible hazards.

    • Dick Michaels 1.2

      11 million more Americans voted for him this time. This suggests that they think its a great idea!

  2. Maurice 2

    Has Trump pardoned Hunter Biden – or Hilary C yet?

  3. SPC 3

    It would appear that even Trump appreciates that the bar will have to be lowered further before he can pardon himself.

    • NZJester 3.1

      The talk is a few days before he is due to officially give up his role as President he will resign making Pence President for a few days so that he can get his own pardon.

      He was looking at pardoning himself but has been told that he might be unable to do that and have it stand if challenged in court.

      He is very likely going to do it the Nixon way to set up a pardon for himself by exiting early as that has legal precedent already to be able to stand if challenged in court .

      Meanwhile a lot of funds rolling in from his supporters that are meant to be for his legal teams to bring cases of voter fraud to court are just being funneled into his companies.
      There is no widespread voter fraud for them to get any results overturned.
      Some very small amounts of actual voter fraud did occur, but the majority of those are from Trump voters doing what he told them to do and vote in person as well as by mail in ballot.

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