Donald Trump’s recent spree of scandalous pardons, his blocking of the COVID relief bill, vetoing the massive defense bill, and attempts at overturning the results of the fair election he lost are cementing his legacy as the most unstable, criminal, destroyer of democracy of any president in U.S. history. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution grants the power of the pardon to the president of the United States. The intent of the granting of pardons is to correct errors in the delivery of justice.
Trump has granted pardons to friends and associates, Paul Manifort, Roger Stone, and George Papadopoulos who lied to protect his obstruction of justice during the Mueller Investigation. In other words, confessed, guilty criminals. He also pardoned security guards convicted of murdering 12 Iraqi civilians, Charles Kushner, Jared’s father who was convicted of tax evasion and witness tampering. Also pardoned were three disgraced former members of Congress found guilty of white-collar financial crimes including misusing campaign funds and insider trading. These are hardcore crimes that were tried and justice was rendered. Trump’s pardons tell us he thinks these swampy white men didn’t do anything wrong. We will find out once is out of office how many of these same offenses he has committed.
Out of the 65 pardons Trump has issued during his term, 60 of them were to people he was connected to personally in some way. Legal experts are appalled and concerned at the lack of respect for the rule of law pursued by the Justice Department. Obtaining the convictions for the serious crimes these now absolved criminals were found guilty of committing was a prolonged and costly process. The pardons are proof that Trump is power-hungry, runs the government like a crime mob-boss, and is not a protector of the Constitution. It is evident to many legal scholars that Trump’s pardon of Manifort, Stone, and Papadopoulos are gestures of thanks for them not testifying about his illegal behaviors during the Russia investigation. The pardons of these three friends and cronies and Michael Flynn are being seen as evidence of proof that Trump was obstructing Mueller’s investigation and dangling pardons to those who refused to testify or lied under oath to protect him.
Anyone who thinks Trump is smart is learning how inaccurate that assessment is as he incriminates himself in potential criminal charges once he leaves office on January 20th. His pathological need for revenge against Robert Mueller and other Republican officials who exposed his anti-constitutional and unprecedented unethical conduct during the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is driving him to expose his autocratic and corrupt abuses of his presidential power. The white-collar crooks and swamp members of Congress committed the types of crime Trump believes should not be punishable by law. The thorough prosecution process professionally and legally executed by the Department of Justice was obviously of no consequence to Trump as he set his criminal cronies free.
The message sent by these pardons is ahat stealing, murdering, and lying is acceptable behavior within the U.S. system of justice as long as you are loyal to Trump. Throughout his presidency, Trump has interfered with and opposed the Justice and the Judiciary Branches in all areas that involved legal oversight of the Executive Branch. Hopefully, once he leaves office he will learn democracy has survived his attempts to destroy it and that he could go to prison for some of the same crimes he has pardoned these criminals for.