President Donald Trump said Thursday that he might grant clemency to lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. The claim comes after his pardon of right-wing commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to campaign finance violations.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) May 31, 2018
Stewart was convicted in 2004 on charges including conspiracy and making false statements to investigators about a stock sale. Meanwhile, Blagojevich, a Democrat, remains in prison for a 2011 conviction on corruption charges. He had actually been accused of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat of Barack Obama.
This would definitely carry on with Trump’s pattern of giving high-profile clemency to well-known people. He previously granted a posthumous pardon to late heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. Trump also pardoned Dick Cheney‘s chief of staff Scooter Libby, and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a contempt of court conviction. It’s the pardons of Libby, Arpaio (a Trump ally with a hardline stance on undocumented immigration), and D’Souza that led some commentators to think the president was sending a message with this. Either to undermine his opponents, or perhaps to show that he could grant clemency to anyone convicted in the Russia probe.
James Comey prosecuted Martha Stewart. Preet Bharara prosecuted Dinesh D’Souza. Pardoning felons to own the libs.
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) May 31, 2018
/6 Mostly, though, the consistent message is to his current and former allies, saying “I have your back” — hoping they will not cooperate against him or against other allies. He’s not sincerely against political/excessive prosecutions at all. They’re in his stump speech. /end
— KneelBeforeHat (@Popehat) May 31, 2018