Let’s talk about Dinesh D’Souza and what President Trump granted him today, as a reward for his fealty to the throne.
Calling D’Souza a “victim of selective prosecution for violation of campaign finance laws” the White House announced a full pardon for the crimes D’Souza pleaded guilty to in 2014. He didn't just plead guilty. He apologized and said he knew what he did was wrong.
“Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!" Trump wrote in a morning tweet as he traveled to Texas to attend political fundraisers.
D’Souza has been a devoted Trump supporter on social media and in TV appearances. In fact, where he once seemed reasonable in his defense of conservatism, in the age of Trump, D’Souza has dutifully fallen into lockstep with the rest Trump’s more loathsome acolytes, complete with hateful speech and promotion of insane conspiracy theories.
“I never met him, I called him last night, first time I’ve ever spoken to him, I said, I’m pardoning you. Nobody asked me to do it,” the president said, adding that “a lot of people” felt he should have been pardoned.
Nobody asked me to do it… a lot of people felt he should have been pardoned.
Why does that feel like maybe somebody did tell him to do it? Why did he even mention nobody asked him to do it?
Of course, it’s just as likely that Trump saw some of D’Souza’s gutless rhetoric online and felt like flexing his muscle and randomly subverting the rule of law.
“What should have been a quick minor fine, like everybody else with the election stuff,” Trump said. “What they did to him was horrible.”
D’Souza is serving five years probation for illegally using straw donors to support Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long in 2012. He previously served eight months in a halfway house for the crime, which is a felony, and was ordered to pay a $30,000 fine.
This would be the same Dinesh D’Souza who was forced to resign as president of the evangelical King’s College because he decided getting engaged to someone else while he was still married to his wife was A-OK.
He later claimed he didn’t realize that was a no-no in Christian circles – even though he was the president of a Christian college.
I guess the age of Trumpism really does have a certain appeal to some.
His first wife also wrote a letter to the judge over his 2012 campaign finance violation case and described how D’Souza assaulted her with kicks to her head and shoulder that she claims have resulted in lasting injuries and pain.
D’Souza’s case was prosecuted by Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, fired three months into the Trump presidency.
Bharara has been a vocal critic of Trump’s presidency.
So how did D’Souza react to today’s pardon?
Yeah. Stay classy, Dinesh.
[Maybe not so] Coincidentally, Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen is also being investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s office of the Southern District of New York.
On CNN’s “The Lead,” Jake Tapper examined some of the other pardons or commutations that Trump is considering – Martha Stewart and Rod Blagojevich.
All of these are somehow connected, either directly or loosely, to those Trump considers to be “enemies.”
For example, Martha Stewart, once a contestant on Trump’s “The Apprentice,” was convicted of obstruction, conspiracy, and with making false statements. The prosecutor in her case – surprise, surprise – was none other than James Comey.
And now the question some are asking is if Trump is signaling to those within his circle (like Manafort, Cohen, or Michael Flynn) that he’s willing to go over the heads of the law, in order to “reward” loyalty.
There’s actually a formal process to grant pardons, which you can read here.
Donald Trump is not following that process. He’s simply handing out pardons.
As a side note, he met with Kim Kardashian on Wednesday to discuss the pardon of Alice Johnson, a 63 year old great-grandmother who has been in prison for over 20 years for a first-time drug offense.
Of the vast pardons he’s mentioned today, Johnson’s name was not among them.