Donald Trump’s Tuesday pardons were particularly heinous and plenty corrupt.
Wednesday’s weren’t much better. Trump cronies were some of the beneficiaries, as longtime pal Roger Stone, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his son-in-law’s father received pardons.
The pardons extend Trump’s streak of wielding his clemency powers for criminals who are loyalists, well-connected or adjacent to his family. While all presidents issue controversial pardons at the end of their terms, Trump appears to be moving at a faster pace than his predecessors, demonstrating little inhibition at rewarding his friends and allies using one of the most unrestricted powers of his office.
The pardons of Manafort and Stone reward two of the most high-profile and widely condemned former advisers of the President, both of whom were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller, went to trial and were convicted by juries of multiple crimes.
Also included in Trump’s pardon list Wednesday evening is former California GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter’s wife, Margaret, just one day after Trump granted Duncan Hunter a full pardon. Margaret Hunter had pleaded guilty last year to conspiring “knowingly and willingly” to convert campaign funds for personal use.
As for Manafort and Stone, it certainly appears that Trump was thanking them for their silence in the Russia probe. Despite claiming for years that there was nothing to hide, Trump continues to act in a manner that indicates relief and gratefulness for the cooperation of individuals who refused to cooperate.
By doing so he is actively bastardizing the pardon from an act of benevolence to one of transaction.
Worse, it’s certain to happen a lot more over the last four weeks of his term.
1,434 days in, 28 to go
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