What do these two men have in common?
They are both bigots and haters, they have both broken the law, and they are both so well-loved by Donald Trump that he has used his pardon pen to exonerate them of any wrongdoing. Sorry, Trump, they are both ugly people without a shred of humanity and in my book, they are still guilty.
Until the reign of Trump, arguably the most controversial presidential pardon had been that of Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon. Nixon committed a crime, rigged an election, and did not deserve to be pardoned. But I would argue that the pardons of Joe Arpaio and Dinesh D’Souza are even worse than Nixon’s. Why? Because Nixon was done, there was no way he was going to be allowed back into the political arena after Watergate. Arpaio, however, has been unleashed upon the nation and is now running for a seat in the U.S. Senate. D’Souza? Who knows what doors this pardon may open for him, and while it is too late for him to run for a congressional seat this year, I would not be surprised to see him on the ballot in 2020.
You already know about Joe Arpaio, and if you need a memory refresher, you can check him out here. So, let’s talk a little bit about D’Souza.
D’Souza is an uber-conservative political commentator, author, filmmaker, and convicted felon. He was an avid Obama-hater and in fact seems to hate anything and anybody associated with the Democratic Party. His crime? Campaign finance fraud. He donated 5 times the FEC limit on direct contributions ($5,000) by an individual to a PAC in the campaign of Wendy Long, the longshot Republican nominee running against Kristen Gillibrand for US Senate in New York in 2012. He did this by using his friends as a ‘pass-through’ for contributions of $5,000 each. Campaign finance violations are felonies, and D’Souza pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a $30,000 fine, five years’ probation, and eight months in a community confinement center (halfway house). D’Souza served his time, but only at night … he merely went there to sleep, and his days were unsupervised.
D’Souza is an intellectual who was once well-respected within the Republican Party, but in recent years has turned more toward conspiracy theories against Democrats, and specifically against President Obama and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
As I was writing this post, a news flash came across my screen that Trump is also considering pardoning Martha Stewart and commuting the sentence of Rod Blagojevich. Huh??? Did the man just wake up this morning and decide to pardon everyone?
Generally, those seeking pardons must wait five years from the date they are released from confinement before becoming eligible, and they must apply to the Office of the Pardon Attorney. Joe Arpaio never served a day in prison, thanks to Trump’s pardon which came shortly after he was convicted of criminal contempt of court. D’Souza was only convicted in 2014, and did not even file an application for pardon.
Martha Stewart, convicted in 2004 of insider trading and lying, doesn’t much bother me, for I consider her beneath serious thought. For the life of me, though, I cannot understand why Trump would want to pardon her. But Blagojevich was the governor of Illinois when he was convicted for trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. Would Trump’s pardon allow him to re-enter politics? Let’s hope not.
The conclusion we can draw from this latest madness is that Trump believes that the laws are there for some people, but that they do not apply to him, and that he can decide to whom they do apply. Now, granted there have been questionable and controversial pardons throughout history. But those are in the past, and we are living in the present, the reign of Trump that I am seriously beginning to think of as the Second Reign of Terror. Is Trump pardoning these people to add to his list of loyal sycophants?
And now, I raise the question: Who will Trump pardon next? Whose sentence might he try to commute? Dylan Roof who murdered 9 people in a church in 2015? Can he pardon a murderer? Under certain circumstances, yes.
Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution reads:
“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”
The only people he cannot pardon are those who are impeached, or those who are convicted of a state criminal offense. I have mentioned before that it may be time for some serious revisions to the Constitution. I repeat. The framers of the Constitution never, in their wildest nightmares, could have imagined the madman who now occupies the White House. They honestly trusted the American people with having the good sense to select only the best people to oversee our government. I have the greatest respect for the Founding Fathers, but … boy did they screw up on that trust thing!