Who doubts that he would try to give one to himself?

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Most of us think of a presidential pardon as the definitive example of justice delayed but not denied, or when the stark disproportionality between crime and punishment is reconciled by a benevolent purveyor of justice.

But Donald Trump has already pardoned or commuted the sentences of five people, twice because a celebrity asked him to. And it has become so impulsively odd – with Trump even suggesting he might pardon himself – it is a relief that some members of Congress are calling for him to explain his methods.

Consider the scorecard:

He pardoned a brass-knuckled, sociopathic sheriff who was convicted of contempt for defying a judge’s order to cease racist profiling and detaining Latinos based only on suspicion – a pardon that delighted White Nationalists and doused racial tensions with gasoline.

He pardoned a vice-presidential advisor convicted of four counts of lying to a grand jury investigating the Bush Administration’s vengeful outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame – a sign that Trump believes the crime of exposing an American spy is excusable, when done in service of protecting the White House.

He pardoned a racist blowhard who pled guilty to campaign finance fraud, someone so loopy that CPAC disinvited him to its last convention after he mocked the child survivors of Parkland. Message: Michael Cohen knows. He’s facing the same charge.

The President has the power to pardon almost anyone “except in Cases of Impeachment,” the Constitution posits – and so far he has used that power to grant Get Out of Jail Free cards to the likes of Joe Arpaio, Scooter Libby, and Dinesh D’Souza.

The emerging consensus: “Every time he flexes with a pardon,” Princeton historian Julian Zelizer says, “his goal is to show legislators, investigators and critics that he can use his authority to protect and punish.”

Trump poised to pardon a vile criminal | Editorial

There are thousands of others who have filed requests – people subjected to unfair prosecutions and inept legal representation and absurd sentences – yet these are three of the five Trump chose for clemency. As a White House official told Buzzfeed, Trump is “not playing the sort of 3-dimensional chess people ascribe to decisions like this. More often than not, he’s just eating the pieces.”

But his motives are blatantly political, and …read more

Source:: New Jersey Real-Time News


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Trump uses presidency for “Celebrity Pardon” show | Editorial

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