Pardon us, Mr. Trump, but some of these executive acts of clemency sure do overlap a lot with current events. Twitter is responding to the news of Dinesh D’Souza‘s pardon and the floated possibility of two more.
It isn’t the first time that people have tried to read between the lines on what these acts of presidential mercy mean, but this time the observations appear to have more merit. The floated pardons of Martha Stewart and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and the actual pardons of Scooter Libby and D’Souza in particular have the wheels turning in people’s heads.
The connections are pretty obvious both from an alleged crime standpoint and, in some cases, a personal standpoint.
Dinesh D’Souza was convicted of a felony in 2014 for campaign finance violations in the Southern District of New York, the same U.S. Attorney’s Office investigating Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen for financial fraud and possible campaign violations. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is also facing two trials related to alleged financial fraud, albeit that is not campaign-related.
It’s also been noted that the prosecutor in the D’Souza case is Preet Bharara, a current CNN analyst who has been a thorn in Trump’s side throughout the Cohen matter. Trump fired Bharara soon after becoming president, despite earlier indications that he wanted Bharara to stay.
Scooter Libby, the former George W. Bush administration official convicted for obstruction of justice and two counts of perjury, overlaps well too. Former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn, for instance, was charged with lying to the FBI.
Libby was also prosecuted by Patrick Fitzgerald, who is a longtime friend of James Comey‘s and is representing him. Former FBI Director Comey was fired by President Trump and then wrote a book, “A Higher Loyalty,” in part about his conversations with the president and the happenings leading up to and after the 2016 election.
Speaking of obstruction and lying, Comey prosecuted Martha Stewart and she was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding and making false statements to the FBI.
Rod Blagojevich was infamously impeached from the governor’s mansion in Illinois in 2009 and then was sentenced to 14 years in prison for public corruption. He was also prosecuted by, you guessed it, Patrick Fitzgerald.
Both Blagojevich and Stewart just so happen to have been associated with a certain show known as the Apprentice.
Previously, we noted that the New York Times‘ Maggie Haberman and others wondered in April why Trump was suddenly bringing up the possibility of pardoning Jack Johnson. “It’s almost like there’s a value right now in reminding some folks he has this power,” she tweeted.
Trump, of course, followed through and pardoned Johnson a month later. But the Trump pardon of Libby was also seen as a “message.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) in particular said that too was a “message to potential witnesses against Trump.”
Trump also pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a contempt of court conviction.
[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
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