Trump Pardons a Loyalist, and the Crowd Goes Wild

President Trump unexpectedly announced a pardon of author Dinesh D'Souza, but some believe he's sending a message.

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.

It’s not.

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.

Geez.

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.

Comments
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Et creatus ad
Et creatus ad

In one case, the money is confined to the roles of the executive branch. In the other, we have an investigation into something that isn’t an actual crime and where the facts only point to an intelligence agency that has sought to create an issue to affect a presidency.

Let’s move away from just hating Trump and focus on protecting a Republic.

PerryMason
PerryMason

None of this is mentioned in Susan Wright's article.

PerryMason
PerryMason

The 2008 Obama campaign was caught illegally hiding not $20,000 but nearly $2 million in irregular contributions (in addition to dragging its feet on the return of millions more in suspect donations). You probably don’t remember that because — I know this will shock you — the Obama Justice Department didn’t prosecute anyone. It was considered a mere hiccup: resolved by a fine considerably smaller than the $500,000 in bail D’Souza was forced to post lest he be detained pending trial on his multiple-felony indictment for conduct worth 25 times less that amount.

The Obama Justice Department’s extortionate tactic of turning a regulatory violation into a potential seven-year felony put enormous pressure on D’Souza to plead guilty. When he did, rather than just accept its pound of flesh, the Justice Department aggressively pushed for a prison sentence. A bravura performance at the sentencing proceeding by D’Souza’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, convinced the sentencing judge not to imprison him; but D’Souza was still confined to a halfway house for several months — a ridiculous imposition since a halfway house is supposed to be a way-station where incarcerated inmates are transferred for integration back into society. No matter what you think of D’Souza’s politics, his treatment was abusive.

PerryMason
PerryMason

Susan Wright is grossly misrepresenting the D'Souza case. According to applicable law Congress deemed campaign-finance violations worth less than $25,000 to be so trivial that a maximum jail sentence of only two years is prescribed (see Title 2, U.S. Code, Sec. 437g(d)(1)(D)). You can also be certain the sentencing guidelines would prescribe no jail time at all. Yet, by gratuitously piling on another felony, Obama and Holder portray D’Souza as a serious crook and subject him to the onerous potential of seven years in prison — all for an episode that ordinarily would not be prosecuted at all.

MistyBat
MistyBat

"[Trump] said, 'You've been screwed.' He said that using his power, he was going to rectify it...he just wanted me to be out there, to be a bigger voice than ever, defending the principles that I believe in." ~Dinesh D'Souza

Read: Defending Trump.