Here's the real reason behind Donald Trump's pardon spree

Donald Trump's pardon of cons...

Posted: May 31, 2018 5:43 PM
Updated: May 31, 2018 5:43 PM

Donald Trump's pardon of conservative author Dinesh D'Souza on Thursday came with little explanation from the President other than this, via Twitter: "He was treated very unfairly by our government!"

The D'Souza pardon is all of a piece with two other presidential pardons made by Trump during his first 16 months in office. D'Souza, former Bush White House aide Scooter Libby and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio were all seen, by some elements within the conservative movement/Trump's base, as martyrs -- people unfairly persecuted by some combination of out-of-control Democrats and the "deep state."

"Bravo! @realDonaldTrump," tweeted Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. "Dinesh was the subject of a political prosecution, brazenly targeted by the Obama administration bc of his political views. And he's a powerful voice for freedom, systematically dismantling the lies of the Left-which is why they hate him. This is Justice."

D'Souza himself played into that idea with a tweet of his own. "Obama & his stooges tried to extinguish my American dream & destroy my faith in America," he tweeted. "Thank you @realDonaldTrump for fully restoring both."

In all three of these cases, Trump chose not to consult with the Justice Department's Office of Pardon Authority -- making the call on his own. (A president is not required by law to huddle with the Office of Pardon Authority.)

And the message Trump appears to be sending with this trio of similar-if-not-the-exact-same pardons is this: If you are being unfairly prosecuted or persecuted by the deep state within the Justice Department/FBI, I have sympathy for you. I am willing to use my pardon power to absolve you. I've done it before. I'll do it again.

Why might that message be relevant, you ask?

Ask Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.

Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, and Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman for a time in 2016, are both facing the possibility of significant criminal charges and penalties. Cohen's home, hotel and office were raided by the FBI and the documents seized in those raids are currently in the process of being reviewed by a special master in the Southern District of New York. Manafort has been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller with a variety of financial crimes -- most dealing with his interactions with the Ukrainian government.

Given the severity of the allegations against them, both men are under considerable pressure to flip -- to cut deals with prosecutors that minimize their legal vulnerability in exchange for cooperating with the ongoing Mueller probe into Russian election meddling and any possible coordination with members of the Trump campaign.

Already three members of Trump's 2016 campaign -- foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, national security adviser Michael Flynn and deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates -- have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the Mueller investigation.

Trump has little ability to see into the Mueller investigation -- to know what Mueller knows and how close (if at all) Manafort and Cohen are to flipping. It's clearly a point of frustration for the President and his legal team; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the public face of that legal team, has taken to suggesting the entire investigation is illegitimate and demanding all information about a confidential source used by the FBI during the 2016 campaign before the President even considers sitting down with the special counsel's office.

Without power over the actual investigation, Trump is reduced to sending messages via public channels.

Twitter is one way he uses that limited power. In a series of tweets last month, Trump sent a very clear message to Cohen about flipping. He wrote:

"The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don't speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will 'flip.' They use non-existent 'sources' and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!"

The message is clear: Don't flip, Michael. This is all a witch hunt. Hang in there! I support you!

Presidential pardons are the other major weapon in Trump's arsenal to combat the pressure campaign by Mueller.

And it is impossible to dismiss the similarities of both the crimes from which D'Souza, Libby and Arpaio are being pardoned and the manner in which Trump chose to announce those pardons.

D'Souza, Arpaio, Libby: All perceived victims of an out-of-control deep-state government which sought to punish their commitment to principle. Railroaded by a machine that hates them because of what they believe and who else supports those beliefs. Forced to answer for actions that elites have gotten away with for ages. And so on and so forth.

The audience of these pardons is small: Really just the Trump loyalists and officials -- like Cohen and Manafort -- that Mueller has his eye on. And in case anyone missed the message sent by the Arpaio and Libby pardons, the D'Souza pardon makes sure that message hits you right in the face.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 447349

Reported Deaths: 6007
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin929301478
Ramsey39917738
Dakota32945340
Anoka30935364
Washington20116227
Stearns17847187
St. Louis13658241
Scott1193296
Wright11598104
Olmsted1045075
Sherburne820665
Carver693436
Clay651680
Rice605268
Kandiyohi553671
Blue Earth539933
Crow Wing482574
Otter Tail456367
Chisago452032
Benton419586
Winona388046
Douglas373966
Nobles369646
Mower364729
Goodhue346858
Polk328256
McLeod324745
Morrison311544
Beltrami309947
Lyon301136
Becker284639
Itasca284543
Isanti282441
Carlton279443
Steele27279
Pine266613
Freeborn244621
Todd231730
Nicollet224036
Brown214734
Mille Lacs214046
Le Sueur209415
Cass207623
Meeker199433
Waseca188916
Wabasha17023
Martin169926
Roseau165416
Hubbard149238
Redwood139627
Renville137239
Houston135613
Dodge13434
Chippewa131032
Cottonwood127018
Fillmore12315
Wadena119916
Rock110112
Sibley10847
Aitkin108033
Watonwan10638
Faribault105716
Pennington99215
Kanabec97418
Pipestone94023
Yellow Medicine93714
Murray8815
Jackson85310
Swift83418
Pope7385
Marshall70315
Stevens7018
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake63615
Wilkin6249
Koochiching59510
Lincoln4831
Big Stone4563
Unassigned44168
Grant4298
Norman4238
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37219
Red Lake3164
Traverse2503
Lake of the Woods1931
Cook1140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 304391

Reported Deaths: 4270
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45574448
Linn17742274
Scott15414163
Black Hawk13696236
Woodbury12968175
Johnson1207549
Dubuque11348150
Pottawattamie8959112
Dallas885171
Story865434
Webster468271
Cerro Gordo464768
Sioux454456
Clinton449461
Warren440738
Marshall426561
Buena Vista392329
Muscatine388477
Des Moines381041
Plymouth349768
Wapello342398
Jasper321258
Lee315830
Marion303852
Jones270649
Henry263830
Carroll253934
Bremer242648
Crawford229422
Boone217017
Washington216831
Benton209244
Mahaska191836
Jackson191431
Tama186657
Dickinson185026
Delaware173036
Kossuth172143
Clay167319
Wright163624
Fayette161122
Buchanan159123
Hamilton158729
Winneshiek155219
Harrison154862
Hardin154429
Cedar152519
Clayton151348
Butler147324
Page144215
Floyd138836
Cherokee138427
Mills136216
Lyon134832
Poweshiek132424
Hancock129824
Allamakee127627
Iowa124322
Calhoun12209
Grundy120526
Jefferson120124
Madison11999
Winnebago118729
Mitchell116134
Louisa114730
Cass112841
Chickasaw110912
Sac110915
Emmet110431
Appanoose110138
Union108222
Humboldt105319
Guthrie102924
Shelby102126
Franklin101718
Unassigned9230
Palo Alto9049
Keokuk84926
Montgomery84822
Howard83119
Monroe80918
Clarke7927
Pocahontas77611
Ida74130
Davis69121
Greene6917
Adair68720
Lucas6488
Monona64016
Osceola6389
Worth6063
Taylor5919
Fremont5086
Van Buren49612
Decatur4824
Ringgold4289
Audubon4158
Wayne41421
Adams2953
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 21° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 10°
Mason City
Cloudy
24° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 15°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 14°
Austin
Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 14°
Charles City
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 18°
A big temperature swing is on the way
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Temporary parking changes downtown

Image

Minnesota Airman returns home after 2 years

Image

Proposal for new "Welcome" signs in Clear Lake

Image

HyVee offering rapid antibody testing at some locations

Image

How far have we come since the "I Have a Dream" Speech?

Image

Helping victims of domestic abuse

Image

Teaching MLK in the classroom

Image

Planned parent protest for in person learning

Image

In Person Learning Through Pandemic

Image

Local Accounting Office Dealing With Changes

Community Events