Trump: pardon me?

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Trump: pardon me?

1margd
Editat: nov. 13, 2020, 4:53am

As Trump wrestles with defeat, pardons loom for allies -- and himself
Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, Jamie Gangel and Jeremy Herb | November 12, 2020

...Current and former Trump administration officials say there's been minimal preparation for an expected onslaught of clemencies

...Trump has been asking aides since 2017 about whether he can self-pardon... One former White House official said Trump asked about self-pardons as well as pardons for his family. Trump even asked if he could issue pardons pre-emptively for things people could be charged with in the future...

...Trump's pardons, however, would only cover federal crimes, and would not protect him or others from ongoing investigations into the Trump Organization being led by the New York attorney general and the Manhattan district attorney.

...Some (former aides) see it as a near-certainty (that Trump would actually give himself a pardon) -- "Of course he will," the former official said -- while others believe it's unlikely, because doing so would imply he's guilty of something.

...The Office of the Pardon Attorney, a Justice Department bureaucracy that is usually active in vetting clemency applications has been left out of Trump's highly personal process in deciding pardons, playing a role in only eight of the 27 pardons issued by Trump...Instead, beneficiaries have won clemency by getting their requests to Trump through friends, Fox News personalities or Hollywood celebrities who talk to the president.

...Among those likeliest to benefit are former Trump campaign associates who have convictions following Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation: Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort and others...

Trump has previously dangled pardons for witnesses who testified before the special counsel, including Manafort and Flynn, and Mueller's report detailed Trump's public discussion of pardons in the volume on possible obstruction of justice.

Sources say other potential beneficiaries of Trump's lame-duck pardons include Charles Kushner, his son-in-law Jared Kushner's father, who was prosecuted more than a decade ago by then-US Attorney Chris Christie. Trump Organization chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, who received immunity in the Michael Cohen case, and Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who is under federal investigation, could also be considered...

https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/12/politics/trump-pardons-loom-defeat/index.html

2margd
nov. 15, 2020, 8:08am

Laurence Tribe explains how Trump probably can’t pardon himself (2:22)
MSNBC The ReiOut | Nov. 13, 2020

Laurence Tribe joins The ReidOut and explains how the president probably can’t pardon himself from his potential crimes and potential future charges.

https://www.msnbc.com/the-reidout/watch/laurence-tribe-explains-how-trump-probab...

3JGL53
nov. 15, 2020, 1:00pm

^

This coming January 19, after tRUMP resigns - can President Pense parden him for all possible federal offences? I think is an equal relevant question.

4lriley
nov. 15, 2020, 1:41pm

Right now he's not charged with a crime so I'm not sure what President Pence could pardon him of.

It puts Biden in kind of a tricky situation and my guess is Biden won't want to use the Feds to go after Trump for federal crimes and if he finally is forced to it will be reluctantly. I think the problem for Biden is the 73 million people who voted for Donald because there will be mass protests over that and there almost for sure would be a fair amount of violence. It's not a healing thing and almost no amount of clear and provable evidence is going to be enough to get the majority of that 73 million to change their minds. They are ripe for the rapture. Jim Jones or David Koresh couldn't have done a better job than what they've done to themselves.

For Biden I think it would be better for a state to do and New York State would probably be the most likely. Expect Andrew Cuomo and Letitia James to need serious round the clock security for the next say 10 years or so or at least until the Donald actually kicks the bucket. New York is solidly democratic and though there are plenty of Trump supporters upstate New York will move aggressively against people making public displays of firearms in public. All that said as well there is pretty healthy majority of people from New York City and State who would like to see Trump put away.

5margd
nov. 15, 2020, 2:03pm

I think Biden said he would leave the question to law enforcement. (Not a good look to go after one's predecessor, but can't let serious criminal behavior, if any, go unpunished.) If significant cause, DOJ /FBI would appoint Special Counsel?

Amazing to think that Pence could get lifetime presidential pension for one day of pardoning. Then again, he would be a more gracious person in role of outgoing president on Inauguration Day. And Trump is going to cost us in retirement, not least in bleeding the Secret Service...

6jjwilson61
Editat: nov. 15, 2020, 3:17pm

>4 lriley: Apparently a president can pardon someone for any federal crime they may have committed in the past. That's what Gerald Ford did for Nixon.

And I'm not sure that Pence would want to become the Gerald Ford of the 21st century

7lriley
Editat: nov. 15, 2020, 5:49pm

#6--you're probably right. I think on the whole it would be way too much of a distraction for an incoming administration with all the issues that this dimbulb left behind to go after a former president who has been turned into a cult figure by millions of followers. Trump is like the anti-christ of US presidents. Better to let the states handle him.

8John5918
nov. 15, 2020, 11:04pm

>5 margd: Not a good look to go after one's predecessor, but can't let serious criminal behavior, if any, go unpunished

That's the dilemma. Nobody should believe they can act with impunity simply because they are rich, powerful, and hold a high office. The fact that this conversation is even being had puts the USA in the same league as many authoritarian regimes which it has rightly criticised over the years. Charles Taylor and Omar Hassan al Bashir are two African leaders who spring to mind immediately who thought they'd get away with it but justice finally caught up with them. There are many other examples.

9bohemima
nov. 16, 2020, 8:47am

>8 John5918:

But the rich and powerful without government office are rarely, very rarely, held to account here.

Money talks and the rest of us walk.

10rastaphrog
nov. 16, 2020, 10:14am

The general consensus I've seen in a few articles is that Trump could be pardoned for any crimes he may have committed, even without currently being charged. And, while said pardon would keep him from being charged, What I wonder about, and didn't see addressed is whether investigations into possible crimes could still take place.

11kiparsky
nov. 16, 2020, 2:58pm

The problem I have with proactive pardons is this: when someone accepts a pardon, they are admitting guilt for the crime that is pardoned. (This is a matter of US law, as I understand it, but I don't have a citation handy - it came up during the Arpaio pardon debacle) When someone accepts a pardon for crimes that they have been charged with, even if they haven't been convicted of those crimes, they accept and acknowledge that they are guilty of that crime - this is why you see stories of people who refuse pardons and fight for actual exoneration.

So if Trump were offered a pardon for his sexual assault cases, he could either accept the pardon or claim innocence, but not both. This much is straightforward.

But what of a pardon for crimes unspecified and as-yet uncharged? What does this even mean? Does Trump have to list the crimes to which he is pleading guilty when he accepts the pardon? Or is he accepting and acknowledging guilt of any crime that anyone accuses him of, any time in the future? Can he opt out of the pardon if someone accuses him of something that doesn't want to have proactively admitted to? For example, if someone charged him with murder in the death of Herman Cain, would he have to choose between accepting the guilt and the pardon or claiming innocence and fighting the case? Clearly, his claim of innocence would stick, but in order to make that claim, he'd have to refuse the pardon - if pardons mean what the law says they mean.

Basically, it seems to me that the idea of a blanket pardon is not coherent in American law.

12lriley
Editat: nov. 16, 2020, 3:15pm

#11--'But what of a pardon for crimes unspecified and as yet uncharged'? Sounds to me like a preemptive and retroactive get out of jail free card for anything illegal he's ever done as long as it can be construed as 'federal' and just on its face it sounds absurd.

13margd
nov. 16, 2020, 3:33pm

We know he's a grifter, but what if evidence emerges for espionage or treason. THAT is unpardonable, surely?

14kiparsky
nov. 16, 2020, 4:36pm

Morally speaking, I'd say the deaths of a quarter of a million Americans - 82 9/11s, if you want to put it that way - with many more to come would qualify as "unpardonable". But of course it's not even going to count as a crime.

>13 margd: AFAIK, the pardon privilege is pretty broad: The president "shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment". I don't know of anything that would wall off certain crimes and make them unpardonable.

15lriley
nov. 16, 2020, 5:39pm

Trump takes no responsibility for anything bad that happens. 10 million people could die from Covid and he'd still be out there trying to convince everyone that it's a hoax. He wants to take credit for the vaccines though (like he had any real part in them)--why that is (when he's trying to convince everyone the virus is a hoax) you'd have to ask him though don't expect logic or honesty coming back.

16mamzel
nov. 17, 2020, 2:06pm

This is my opinion alone. I have not seen it posted, printed, etc. anywhere, not to say it may have been offered somewhere. It's just so evil and base I hate to even think about it.

Trump believes in the herd immunity theory and is putting it into action himself by holding his rallies and press conferences with no safeguards. He is gleefully mocking the wearing of masks so that his followers have an excuse to not wear them. He is not pressuring governors to require mask wearing in their states. (How many cases were a result of South Dakota's refusal to cancel the bike rally allowing the bikers to return to their states with the virus?) All of his followers are the unwitting guinea pigs in his endeavor. He is appointing the biggest idiots he can find to support his views and is blocking Biden from participating in stopping-the-spread efforts.

Of course, he can't say this is his goal. A number of his blind followers may just see the light and turn on him and he could some day be found guilty for the many COVID-9 deaths that could have been avoided. All he has to do is sit back with that smug canary-eating look on his face and watch his plan flourish.

My heart goes out to all of the hospital workers who have to face the backlash of this wrong-thinking.

17margd
Editat: nov. 26, 2020, 7:17am

Apparently with pardon, Flynn can no longer plead 5th if called to testify?

Trump pardons former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI
Rosalind S. Helderman and Josh Dawsey | November 25, 2020

President Trump on Nov. 25 granted a full pardon to former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI back in 2017.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/michael-flynn-trump-pardon/2020/11/25/3c...

__________________________________________________

The pardon: https://twitter.com/AndrewFeinberg/status/1331735347970142211/photo/1

18margd
nov. 26, 2020, 7:01am

>17 margd: contd.
Harry Litman (LA Times) @harrylitman | 6:17 PM · Nov 25, 2020:

There are many secondary point, but 4 primary ones:

1. Flynn's original conduct in conducting a rogue foreign policy with our prime adversary before Trump was in office was deadly serious and absolutely required investigation.

2. His admitted lies about it to the FBI and Congress constituted a serious crime and a present threat that had to be eliminated.

3. His conduct since then in arrogantly denying guilt & putting the US on trial are the precise opposite of the accepted factors for a pardon, &

4. this is 100% about Trump's trying to erase the Mueller report from history.

--------------------------------------------------​

Judge Sullivan words to Mike Flynn ( https://twitter.com/melindafla/status/1331802960213516288/photo/1 )

19margd
nov. 28, 2020, 2:15am

Robert Reich @RBReich | 1:50 PM · Nov 27, 2020:
The next time you hear Trump call for "law and order" remember that he has pardoned/commuted:

Michael Flynn (Perjury)

Joe Arpaio (Contempt of Court)

Michael Milken (Fraud)

Roger Stone (Lying to Congress)

Scooter Libby (Perjury)

Eddie Gallagher (War Crimes)

20kiparsky
nov. 28, 2020, 2:22am

>19 margd: and in at least several of those cases, he's proclaimed the innocence of the pardoned, which tells us that he has no clear idea of what a pardon actually means.

21John5918
nov. 28, 2020, 2:28am

As an ignorant foreigner, I'd be interested to hear whether there is a longstanding tradition of outgoing presidents pardoning their cronies, or whether this power is usually used in a more objective fashion as an act of clemency.

22kiparsky
nov. 28, 2020, 2:51am

>21 John5918: Ignorant, my eye! But by way of answer: I would say that the latter is more generally the case, though there are some ignoble exceptions (and these have been committed by presidents in both parties). What is remarkable in Trump's case is that in most of these cases he seems to be actually trolling the left with these pardons. I mean, you can hardly say that Libby, Gallagher, Arpaio, or Milken are cronies of his, or that their convictions were in any way miscarriages of justice, or that they've shown themselves to be in any way reformed by their time in the justice system. Pardoning them seems to me to be entirely about getting a rise out of people like me, and about winning points from people very much unlike me. I mean, I'm all about emptying out the prisons, but surely if anyone deserves to spend his life in jail it's Ed Gallagher.

23John5918
Editat: nov. 28, 2020, 4:09am

>22 kiparsky: Ed Gallagher

Yes. Looking at the Wikipedia list of Trump's pardons so far, it seems Gallagher is not the only war criminal, which gives a bad signal internationally.

Ignorant, my eye!

Thanks. Just a humble nod in the direction of the likes of Earthling and Barney who think that a non-US citizen has no knowledge whatsoever of what goes on in the great USA!

24MsMixte
nov. 28, 2020, 10:53am

>20 kiparsky: In at least one case, he pardoned someone who specifically did NOT want a pardon, because she believed she had done nothing wrong. He pardoned Susan B. Anthony this past August:

https://www.npr.org/2020/08/20/904321406/susan-b-anthony-museum-rejects-presiden...

25margd
Editat: des. 1, 2020, 10:45am

Why not ask for vaccination and stash of Regeneron, too, while you're at it?

Giuliani is said to have discussed a possible pardon with Trump.
Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt | Dec 1, 2020

Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer who has led the most extensive efforts to damage his client’s political rivals and undermine the election results, discussed with the president as recently as last week the possibility of receiving a pre-emptive pardon before Mr. Trump leaves office...

It was not clear who raised the topic. The men have also talked previously about a pardon for Mr. Giuliani... Mr. Trump has not indicated what he will do...

Mr. Giuliani’s potential criminal exposure is unclear. He was under investigation as recently as last summer by federal prosecutors in Manhattan for his business dealings in Ukraine and his role in ousting the American ambassador there, a plot that was at the heart of the impeachment of Mr. Trump.

...Such a broad pardon pre-empting any charge or conviction is highly unusual but does have precedent. George Washington pardoned plotters of the Whiskey Rebellion, shielding them from treason prosecutions. In the most famous example, Gerald R. Ford pardoned Richard M. Nixon for all of his actions as president. Jimmy Carter pardoned thousands of American men who illegally avoided the draft for the Vietnam War....

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/12/01/us/joe-biden-trump

26kiparsky
des. 1, 2020, 11:00am

>25 margd: That's really interesting. I had no idea that Giuliani had actually committed any acts that prosecutors would be interested in.

Now I'm very curious about what those acts are.

27aspirit
des. 1, 2020, 11:36am

>26 kiparsky: I'm curious about that, too. So much led up to Trump's impeachment, keeping track of who around him was suspected of doing what was a major feat.

One explanation I quickly found of Guiliani's involvement with Ukraine and US elections interference by Russia is linked below. I need to focus on a few other things for a moment but will be back to read more of the article.

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/01/giuliani-was-not-a-minor-player-in-ukraine/

28lriley
des. 1, 2020, 11:49am

#25--of them all I will say that what Carter did was a good thing.

29kiparsky
des. 1, 2020, 4:24pm

Apparently even Hannity thinks Trump and everyone in his family is guilty of a hell of a lot of stuff. Too much stuff to even name, so he wants a blanket pardon for all of them.

I really want to know exactly what he thinks they'd be pleading guilty to by accepting that pardon. Or at least, like, the top five things for each of them.

30margd
des. 1, 2020, 4:41pm

By accepting a pardon does one forego possibilty of future office?

31kiparsky
des. 1, 2020, 5:15pm

>30 margd: Not in any legal sense, though the voters might look askance.

32lriley
Editat: des. 1, 2020, 6:19pm

#30--look up James 'Beam me up' Traficant---Ohio democratic congressman for many years who went to prison for a bunch of things like using campaign money like his own personal piggy bank (see Donald Trump). He ran for congress again from a federal prison cell and got about 15% of the vote for his congressional district.

33Limelite
des. 1, 2020, 7:41pm

BREAKING: Bribery Scandal Hits White House on Trump's Way Out the Door

Justice Department investigating potential presidential pardon bribery scheme, court records reveal
The Justice Department is investigating a potential crime related to funneling money to the White House or related political committee in exchange for a presidential pardon, according to court records unsealed Tuesday in federal court.
DOJ investigation began in August. Heavily redacted 20 pp document means, lots of evidence, lots on names named. Question on everyone's tongue -- why did judge release such a heavily redacted document at this particular time of Trump pardons? Stay turned.

34lriley
des. 1, 2020, 7:46pm

#33--I'm kind of wondering if this is Barr telling Trump to leave him be and not turn him into the latest Raffenberger or Kemp.

35MsMixte
des. 1, 2020, 8:32pm

>34 lriley: I think it's more a ceremonial 'washing the hands' and pretending that he (Barr) had nothing to do with those crazies trying to subvert the will of the people in electing Joe Biden as president.

36Limelite
des. 1, 2020, 8:34pm

DOJ Investigation Linked to Recent Trump Convos in re Family Blanket Pardons/ Giuliani Same?

Trump Has Discussed With Advisers Pardons for His 3 Eldest Children and Giuliani
Trump. . . talked with Mr. Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Trump has told others that he is concerned that a Biden Justice Department might seek retribution against the president by targeting the oldest three of his five children.
(SNIP)
The speculation about pardon activity at the White House is churning furiously, underscoring how much the Trump administration has been dominated by investigations and criminal prosecutions of people in the president’s orbit. Mr. Trump himself was singled out by federal prosecutors as “Individual 1” in a court filing in the case that sent Michael D. Cohen, his former lawyer and fixer, to prison.
Trump's many pardons have bolstered concerns that he is using them to obstruct justice due to his own illegal involvement in bribery and quid pro quo schemes while in office, and to insure loyalty from those who present the greatest threat to his future legal troubles should they testify in anticipated cases.

37kiparsky
des. 1, 2020, 8:36pm

Citing Pardon, Justice Dept. Asks Judge to ‘Immediately’ Dismiss Flynn Case

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department asked a federal judge on Monday to dismiss the criminal case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, citing his pardon last week — and making clear that it broadly covered potential legal troubles beyond the charge Mr. Flynn had faced of lying to federal investigators.

“The president’s pardon, which General Flynn has accepted, moots this case,” the Justice Department filing said.


I saw this article and I had to wonder... why is it so urgent to drop this case, if Flynn has already been pardoned?

And it occurred to me that with no possible charges against Flynn, he no longer has any basis for refusing to testify... under oath... about anything related to this case. Now, I am not a lawyer, but I wonder if Trump may have managed to fire off one last blast from his trusty foot-gun.

38Limelite
Editat: des. 1, 2020, 8:48pm

‘That’s a lot of warrants’. . .More on the DOJ Doc Release Today

More details: Newly unsealed court documents showed that the Department of Justice is investigating a “pardon bribery scheme” involving money directed to the White House.
“At the end of this summer, a filter team, used to make sure prosecutors don’t receive tainted evidence that should have been kept from them because it was privileged, had more than 50 digital devices including iPhones, iPads, laptops, thumb drives and computer drives after investigators raided the unidentified offices,” CNN reported. “The grand jury investigation also appears to relate to unnamed people acting as unregistered ‘lobbyists to senior White House officials’ as they sought to secure a pardon and use an intermediary to send a bribe, the unsealed court records say.”
Said intermediary appears to be a lawyer.

That's an awful lot of devices and an awful lot of "unrevealed offices." Are we talking US Senators' offices? Whatever the DOJ was investigating happened without President Trump saying a thing at the time -- or since. But his interest in pardons and the timing of the release of the investigation documents are unlikely to be coincidental.

Expect a wall of silence from Republicans. Expect this report will tie Biden's hands regarding his desire not to investigate Trump's possible presidential crimes. It's sounding like the choice is being made for him. All of which makes me extremely interested in who Biden will appoint USAG, Director of the FBI, and who the Asst. Directors and legal team will be under his new USAG.

39prosfilaes
Editat: des. 1, 2020, 10:54pm

>8 John5918: Charles Taylor and Omar Hassan al Bashir are two African leaders who spring to mind immediately who thought they'd get away with it but justice finally caught up with them.

I've always been a little uncomfortable with this. There's a fine and complex line between prosecuting someone for criminal acts and political acts, and it seems like one sign of a problematic government is that it is prosecuting its predecessors. Both Omar Hassan al Bashir and Charles Taylor got prosecuted by international forces, which doesn't have the stigma.

OTOH, as I suspected, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Criminal_Court#African_accusations_o... says that Africans aren't always amused by the way African leaders are taken to Europe to be tried, and all the full investigations of the ICC are African, besides Afghanistan, Georgia, Palestine and Bangladesh, with Palestine and Afghanistan being the only cases that implicate rich "Western" nations, and neither seem to have gone anywhere, with the US actively impeding the Afghanistan war crimes case.

In any case, the US's relationship with any sort of international court that's not trying Nazis has been adversarial, so there's no chance that any sort of neutral third party is going to handle this.

Between a scenario where politicians had immunity for acts done as politicians and where when a new party took over, they would prosecute the previous administration for everything that can be construed as a crime, I'd rather the first.

40jjwilson61
des. 1, 2020, 11:23pm

>39 prosfilaes: Absolutely not. To go to a blanket policy of not prosecuting your predecessor plus a DOJ policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted means that there are no limits to what a president can get away with,as long as the Senate is held by the same party.

And it's beginning to look like the Republicans have a near lock on the Senate which means that Republican presidents can get away with anything while Democrats better behave.

41prosfilaes
des. 1, 2020, 11:33pm

>40 jjwilson61: To go to a blanket policy of not prosecuting your predecessor plus a DOJ policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted means that there are no limits to what a president can get away with,as long as the Senate is held by the same party.

I don't see the threat of future indictment having much effect on the actions a president commits. I would find that the Senate being held by the same party generally preventing genuine crimes by the president being grounds for impeachment a deeply concerning idea for a country.

Another thing I'm afraid of is, if Trump is federally prosecuted, then the next Republican president will prosecute his predecessors on general principles. Maybe we shouldn't let that stop us, but it does seem like a further step on the road to disaster.

42John5918
Editat: des. 2, 2020, 10:44pm

>39 prosfilaes:

Yes, it is indeed complex and doesn't have simple solutions. It is unfortunate that most of the ICC cases have been in Africa, while many human rights abusers in the Global North and in autocratic states which are friendly to the big powers continue to get away with it.

Worth noting that the ICC is supposed to be a court of last resort, handling cases which a nation state is unable or unwilling to handle itself. Omar Hassan al Bashir was tried on some charges in Sudan before the focus shifted to a war crimes trial at the ICC. If I recall correctly Saddam Hussein was tried by an Iraqi court.

Worth noting also that the focus in the Global North appears to be on abstract principles of retributive justice. In many other parts of the world there is a greater acceptance of restorative justice, in which the focus is repairing the harm done and getting the best result for as many people as possible. While this does not automatically exclude punishment for perpetrators, it does not focus exclusively on finding someone guilty and punishing them as the retributive model tends to do.

A good example would be Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army. The Ugandan government referred him to the ICC for its own political reasons. Later, when a peace process was going on, the ICC indictment became an obstacle to peace - why should Kony make peace if he knows he's going to be banged up as soon as he lays down his weapons? I had some marginal involvement through the Acholi Religious Leaders' Peace Initiative, and they made it very clear that the people on the ground wanted peace far more than they wanted to see Kony punished. Once it had been sent to the ICC, though, they couldn't let go of it. The ICC phoned me once asking me why I was against them (I was operating a steam engine at that exact moment so it was an interesting conversation!) I told them I wasn't against them and indeed supported them in principle, but that they were an obstacle to peace in Uganda. As expected, the peace negotiations failed in the end, and while there were many reasons for that, the ICC indictment was cited as a key factor.

>41 prosfilaes:

I would agree with you that a dynamic whereby each president automatically tries to convict his predecessor for political motives is not healthy. That's one advantage of an international court which is shielded somewhat from the partisan political biases of a particular country.

Edited to add: Perhaps a compromise which, if it doesn't reduce tension and polarisation in the USA might at least not exacerbate it, would be for President Biden to pardon Trump for federal offences committed while in office. However this would not apply to offences committed before he was president (such as tax evasion), nor to state crimes (which I understand a president has no power to pardon), and especially not to serious crimes such as rape and sexual assault which have been alleged.

43margd
des. 4, 2020, 8:55am

>38 Limelite:, contd. Sounds like Individual 1 and/or his son-in-law is at it again.

DOJ Probed GOP Fundraiser and Kushner Lawyer Over Alleged Pardon Bribery Scheme
Blake Montgomery | Dec. 03, 2020

The Department of Justice investigated a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump and a lawyer for Jared Kushner this summer in connection with an alleged scheme to pay a bribe for a pardon.... A federal judge in Washington, D.C. unsealed court documents Thursday that showed the Department of Justice had scrutinized Elliott Broidy, former deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee, and lawyer Abbe Lowell as part of probe into a San Francisco billionaire’s effort to secure a pardon for a Berkeley psychologist’s conviction on tax evasion and Social Security fraud. Lowell represented the psychologist, Hugh Baras, and the alleged scheme entailed the billionaire, Sanford Diller, making a “a substantial political contribution” to an unspecified person or organization on Baras’ behalf. The documents say someone made contact with the White House counsel’s office to “ensure” that the “clemency petition reached the targeted officials.” In the end, the psychologist went to prison in 2017, was released in 2019, and has not received a pardon; the billionaire died in 2018; no bribe was made; and Broidy pleaded guilty in October to illegally trying to influence the Trump administration on behalf of a Malaysian businessman. Neither Broidy nor Lowell has been charged as a result of the investigation.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/doj-investigated-trump-funder-elliott-broidy-kushn...

44margd
des. 4, 2020, 10:22am

It might not be so simple for Trump to pardon his children and Giuliani
Aaron Rappaport | Dec. 3, 2020

...Blanket pardons for individuals — such as Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon for “all offenses against the United States” — are exceptionally rare. Over the past half-century there is only one other example: George H.W. Bush’s pardon of officials caught up in the Iran-contra affair “for all offenses” within the jurisdiction of the independent counsel.

...are (blanket pardons) unlawful exercises of the president’s pardon power? The pardons for Nixon and the Iran-contra defendants don’t offer an answer, since neither was challenged in court.

...The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that the scope of the pardon clause should be interpreted in light of its meaning at the time of the founding. This originalist methodology means looking to 18th-century English law. As the court said in an 1855 case, “when the words to grant pardons were used in the constitution, they conveyed to the mind the authority as exercised by the English crown, or by its representatives in the colonies. At that time both Englishmen and Americans attached the same meaning to the word pardon.”

That meaning included what might be called a “specificity requirement” — a pardon would be deemed valid only if it identified the specific offenses to which it applied. As William Blackstone, the leading authority on English law at the time, declared: “A pardon of all felonies will not pardon a conviction.” Instead, the offense “must be particularly mentioned.” Blanket pardons, in other words, were invalid.

...Since English law informs our own understanding of the pardon power, there is a strong argument that the specificity requirement is part of our Constitution and serves as a constraint on the president’s authority. That would not prevent the president from issuing pardons to anyone for any reason, but it does require that each pardoned crime be listed.

...The Supreme Court has never ruled on the specificity requirement, and the question of the validity of any blanket pardon by Trump would come up only if a federal prosecutor seeks to indict a pardon recipient who raises the pardon as a barrier to prosecution.

But if the issue were to arise, there is a significant possibility that a court, dominated by self-identified originalists, would invalidate the use of blanket pardons. This possibility should make Trump pause before offering such pardons to friends and family...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/12/03/trump-blanket-pardons-childre...

45Limelite
des. 4, 2020, 6:20pm

Flynn's Pardon May Be Only an ''Excuse Me'

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said his colleague Emmet Sullivan could find that “the wording of the pardon is too broad, in that it provides protections beyond the date of the pardon.”
A trial judge (Reggie Walton) raised the possibility that another federal judge (Emmet Sullivan) overseeing Michael Flynn’s case could find that President Donald Trump’s pardon of Flynn is too broad, if it unlawfully protects the former national security adviser from future prosecutions.
Keep an eye on this. It has all the characteristics of that small quiet introduction to a story that may become a major headline -- depending on if anyone challenges the pardon on the basis (or similar one) of it being too broad, covering future crimes.

Since pardons by their nature carry an imputation of guilt, logic seems to dictate that one can't be forgiven of a possibility of guilt in a country where all accused are presumed innocent and those not accused are presumed not to have committed any crime at all, ergo can't possibly be eligible for a pardon.

Let's hope we learn that the law is interested in curtailing its reach somewhere before the point of making itself ridiculous and tying itself in knots of sophistry.

46margd
des. 9, 2020, 10:19am

The two biggest problems with the Texas AG's anti-election lawsuit
Steve Benen | Dec. 8, 2020,

...The Texas Tribune reported this morning:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing four battleground states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — whose election results handed the White House to President-elect Joe Biden. In the suit, he claims that pandemic-era changes to election procedures in those states violated federal law, and asks the U.S. Supreme Court to block the states from voting in the Electoral College.

...The principal problem, of course, is that the Texas attorney general's case is hilariously bad....

But the less-obvious angle to this is why Paxton thought it'd be a good idea to file such a case in the first place. It's possible this is simply a display of raw partisanship...

The larger context, however, is tough to miss. As regular readers may recall, Paxton was indicted a few years ago on felony securities fraud charges. Two months ago, his troubles got worse when members of Paxton's own team made multiple criminal allegations against him.

Meanwhile, Associated Press reported a few weeks ago that the FBI is investigating allegations that Paxton "broke the law in using his office to benefit a wealthy donor."

All of which raises an unfortunate possibility: as Donald Trump abuses his pardon powers, and weighs the possibility of handing out pardons "like Christmas gifts" before leaving office, is it implausible that the scandal-plagued Texas attorney general filed a doomed case in the hopes that he'll receive a presidential reward that would make his legal troubles go away?

https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/amp/ncna1250385

47margd
Editat: des. 11, 2020, 4:28am

>46 margd: contd.

NEW: FBI agents delivered at least one federal subpoena to the Texas Attorney General's office Wednesday for information in an ongoing investigation involving AG Ken Paxton, three sources confirm, indicating the seriousness with which they are taking allegations against Paxton.

Image--Paxton photo ( https://twitter.com/tplohetski/status/1337167620609626112/photo/1 )

- Tony Plohetski (TX jounalist) @tplohetski | 5:49 PM · Dec 10, 2020

___________________________________________

ETA: TX AG Paxton sounds thoroughly Trump-worthy--quite capable at tearing down democracy in search of relief from his personal corruption... One benefit of Trump--he sure let us see where the craven and corrupt, the ignorant and incompetent, the malicious and mad, be...

FBI Subpoenas Texas AG Ken Paxton After Alleged Bribery Reports
David Lee | December 10, 2020

...federal agents delivered at least one subpoena to Paxton’s office in Austin on Wednesday. The FBI declined to comment on the report Thursday — the agency has yet to publicly acknowledge an investigation into Paxton is taking place. Paxton’s office could not be reached for comment after office hours Thursday.

The report comes two months after seven of Paxton’s senior staff asked for the federal investigation after Paxton appointed Houston attorney Brandon Cammack as a special outside prosecutor for the Paul investigation. The staff mutinied after Cammack had a Travis County grand jury subpoena Paul’s creditors in September.

“We have a good faith belief that the Attorney General is violating federal and/or state law, including prohibitions relating to improper influences, abuse of office, bribery, and other potential criminal offenses,” the one-page letter dated Oct. 1 states. “Each signatory below has knowledge of facts relevant to these potential offenses and has provided statements concerning those facts to the appropriate law enforcement authority.”

All seven whistleblowers have since been fired by Paxton...

https://www.courthousenews.com/fbi-subpoenas-texas-ag-ken-paxton-after-alleged-b...

48Limelite
des. 11, 2020, 11:50pm

In light of losing 9-0 at SCOTUS, I think that presidential pardon's out the window.

Good luck with the FBI, Mr. Paxton. Hope you can afford a lawyer much better than you are.

49margd
des. 17, 2020, 10:46am

Trump is reportedly considering a pardon for the Trump Organization's chief financial officer (Allen Weisselberg)
Catherine Garcia | December 16, 2020

...As of now, Trump is contemplating pardons for more than two dozen people within his circle... One person he is considering for clemency is Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization. Weisselberg has been investigated for his involvement in arranging hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who said she had an affair with Trump...

https://news.yahoo.com/trump-reportedly-considering-pardon-trump-012900879.html

50MsMixte
des. 17, 2020, 3:25pm

You would think that at SOME point, he would learn that accepting a pardon also means that you admit you are guilty, and that you can no longer invoke the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination.

That is why Susan B. Anthony refused to be pardoned, as she felt she had done nothing wrong.

See Burdick vs United States:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/236/79

51margd
Editat: des. 23, 2020, 11:18am

A slew of disgustibles pardoned...and the mother of slow-news nights--Christmas Eve--is coming...

Trump pardons 15, commutes 5 sentences, including GOP allies
COLLEEN LONG, KEVIN FREKING and ERIC TUCKER | Dec 23, 2020

...In the group announced Tuesday night were four former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and caused an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone.

Supporters of Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, the former contractors at Blackwater Worldwide*, had lobbied for pardons, arguing that the men had been excessively punished in an investigation and prosecution they said was tainted by problems and withheld exculpatory evidence. All four were serving lengthy prison sentences....

* owned by Erik Prince, Betsy DeVos's brother. Among other victims, Prince's contractors blew out brains of this 9YO boy:
https://twitter.com/adamnlawyer/status/1341577554382249997/photo/1

52Limelite
des. 23, 2020, 1:11pm

Payola Pardons

Trump's pardon grift is another scheme to make him money. Like popes of old, he appears to be selling indulgences. If not able to pay for a full pardon, buy a commutation of sentence instead. The preferred treatment convicted Medicare fraudsters, especially, are getting from Trump can only be explained by a few scenarios.

1) Trump -- being a con man himself -- admires those who can steal money with their scams, especially if they steal money from a liberal socialist entitlement program like universal health care for the elderly.

2) Trump -- being the King of Indebtedness and owing Putin and the oligarchs 10s of millions of dollars in a payoff due early next year, needs cash. The best way to get it is to sell "get out of jail FREE" passes to confessed criminals in a redundant move that carries another guilty imputation with it.

3) Trump -- being a thoughtful humanitarian with a soul as big as Santa's wants to empty America's prisons of offenders in time for the holidays and to protect them from Covid-19 by letting them out among the rest of his non-mask wearing supporters so they can attend any one of a number of holiday and farewell parties he's throwing at the WH, when he's not playing golf or tweeting. (Leave your fat envelopes in the silver platter at the entrance.)

53LolaWalser
des. 23, 2020, 1:13pm

Pardoning killers for hire must go some way to pay for their... future services?

552wonderY
des. 23, 2020, 1:17pm

>53 LolaWalser:. That’s what I was thinking. Future Trump world security detail.

56Limelite
des. 23, 2020, 1:48pm

Certainly a profitable way to totally usurp the rule of law. Can't think of a higher order of corruption and evidence of criminality. Can you? (Gawd, I hope not.)

57MsMixte
des. 23, 2020, 8:32pm

More pardons! Don't have the full list yet, but Roger Stone gets a pardon, and Paul Manafort gets a pardon and Charles Kushner gets a pardon!

It's like Oprah, but slimy and self-serving!

What a guy, I bet E1 thinks this is fair and that Trump will be remembered as the best prez evah!

58KAzevedo
Editat: des. 24, 2020, 12:40am

>57 MsMixte: I notice there are no comments from him/her about these pardons. Maybe even he/she can't excuse the pardons for blatant murderers of women and children.

59lriley
des. 24, 2020, 12:21am

While the pardoning of the 4 Blackwater agents was reprehensible--the truth is that their convictions could have been taken much further say to the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld etc. It was their illegal war that set all the atrocities that were to happen during the Iraq invasion and occupation into motion. One of the biggest reasons I voted for Obama in 2008 was to see our troops coming home and in hope of a reckoning being made and neither one happened much to my disappointment. This idea that we cannot prosecute our own leaders for war crimes is why war crimes keep occuring. These blackwaters guys were evil but they were also patsies. They will at least sometimes go down---the people most responsible won't.

60John5918
Editat: des. 24, 2020, 5:51am

>59 lriley: This idea that we cannot prosecute our own leaders for war crimes is why war crimes keep occuring

Which is where international courts have an advantage. Ex-president Omar Hassan al Bashir is now facing one. Sitting president Uhuru Kenyatta escaped because all the witnesses mysteriously disappeared or refused to testify. Bush and Blair both deserve to be indicted for their illegal war against Iraq. But of course the USA refuses to recognise the International Criminal Court, except perhaps when it indicts people like Bashir whom the US regards as "enemies".

61John5918
des. 30, 2020, 11:10pm

Trump's Blackwater pardons an affront to justice, say UN experts (Guardian)

Rights experts say pardon of four contractors over Iraq killings undermine humanitarian law...

62margd
des. 31, 2020, 7:49am

Sounds like retired military officer Flynn could be at risk of court-martial, pardon or no:

‘He’s a disgrace to the uniform’: Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff calls for Michael Flynn court-martial (6:33)
Sabrina Matthews | 12/23/2020

...Col. Wilkerson recommends a first step: punishing Flynn as a former lieutenant general in the United States Army. “You can be called back at any time,” Col. Wilkerson points out. “He needs to be rebuked. He needs to be reprimanded. And it needs to be done officially...Were I the secretary of defense I’d call him back to duty which is in the prerogative of the secretary of defense, and I’d court-martial him. At a minimum, I’d cite him for incitement to insurrection. This is not something that a military officer should do.”..

https://frontpagelive.com/2020/12/23/michael-flynn-is-a-disgrace-to-his-uniform/

632wonderY
des. 31, 2020, 8:10am

>62 margd: That's what should happen. Not confident that it will.

64margd
des. 31, 2020, 9:20am

>63 2wonderY: I contrast Flynn with a retired US Coast Guard officer, an old colleague, who had to obtain permission to pursue a PhD at the University of Ottawa...

65JGL53
des. 31, 2020, 8:24pm

> 62

It Flynn were to be court-martialed I might very well laugh myself into a coma.

So - I have mixed feeling about that.

66MsMixte
des. 31, 2020, 8:35pm

>62 margd: I've been told, by someone who is a lawyer for the military, that while a court-martial is theoretically possible, he is entitled by statute to be tried by officers senior in rank to him, which means that they would need to be full generals (he was a lieutenant general). The Army could have a hard time finding enough full generals to try him.

67Limelite
des. 31, 2020, 9:28pm

I doubt the USA would court martial Flynn. As you say, his "court" might have to be senior generals. The LAST thing they want to have to do is determine the guilt or innocence of a confessed federal felon who's been pardoned by their C-i-C.

AWWWKWARD!

68margd
gen. 5, 2:46am

Ranchers whose case sparked standoff may get grazing rights
ANDREW SELSKY | Jan. 4, 2021

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — (Dec 31) The federal government has proposed awarding grazing allotments to an Oregon ranching family whose members were convicted of arson in a court battle that triggered the takeover of a federal wildlife refuge by right-wing extremists.

Steven Hammond, co-owner of the ranch, and his father, Dwight, were both convicted of arson for setting fire to range land and sent to prison for mandatory five-year sentences.*

That led to the armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon for 41 days in 2016. One occupier was shot dead by Oregon State Police. They say he reached for a pistol at a roadblock.

President Donald Trump pardoned the Hammonds in 2018, allowing them to be freed from federal prison...

Hammond Ranches, Inc. (2014 denied) a grazing permit renewal...it “does not have a satisfactory record of performance”...cited numerous incidents of arson (2001, 2006)...

...Any protest by an interested party should be made within 15 days of being advised of the proposed decision, with a final decision issued thereafter,

https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Ranchers-whose-case-sparked-standoff-ma...

--------------------------------------------------​

* Hammond arson case
...Both Dwight and Steven Hammond later set more fires, one in 2001 and one in 2006, that would lead to eventual convictions of arson on federal land: The 2001 Hardie-Hammond fire began after hunters in the area witnessed the Hammonds illegally slaughtering a herd of deer. Less than two hours later, a fire erupted, forcing the hunters to leave the area but also intending to conceal evidence of the deer herd slaughter. Steven's nephew Dusty Hammond testified his uncle told him to "light the whole countryside on fire," and that he was "almost burned up in the fire," having to flee for his life. The Hammonds claimed they started the fire to stop invasive plants from growing onto their grazing fields. The 2006 Krumbo Butte fire started out as a wildfire, but several illegal backburns were set by the Hammonds with an intent of protecting their winter feed. The backfires were set under the cover of night, without warning the firefighters they knew were camped on the slopes above. The fires threatened to trap four BLM firefighters. One of those later confronted Dwight Hammond at the fire scene after he had moved his crews to avoid the danger. Two days later, Steven Hammond threatened to frame a BLM employee with arson if he didn't terminate the investigation. Following their release from jail on their own recognizance, a rally attended by 500 other cattle ranchers was held in Burns, Oregon in support of the Hammonds. Some charges against the Hammonds were later dropped...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammond_arson_case

69davidgn
Editat: gen. 5, 3:48am

>66 MsMixte: Eyeballing, this suggests they've got as many as 17 active (and/or just now retired?) just for the Army.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Army_four-star_generals#1947...

While this suggests 8 Army only, plus some unknown share of unified commands at top.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_duty_United_States_four-star_office...

Would other branches of service be eligible to supply the bench?

ETA: D'oh, skipped right over this from the second link.
"There are currently 46 active-duty four-star officers in the uniformed services of the United States: 18 in the Army, 3 in the Marine Corps, 9 in the Navy, 11 in the Air Force, 2 in the Space Force, 2 in the Coast Guard, and 1 in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Of the eight federal uniformed services, the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps is the only service that does not have an established four-star position."

Also: suppose some retired four-stars might be recalled...

70MsMixte
Editat: gen. 5, 7:12am

>69 davidgn: Good questions, and I will see if research can bring answers.

>68 margd:

In December 2018, U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon revoked the eastern Oregon grazing permit for Hammond Ranches Inc. after finding that an order by former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to renew it in early 2019 was an “abuse of discretion.”

“Giving the permit to the Hammonds shows a flagrant disregard for the rule of law...and is clearly a political move rather than a responsible allocation of public lands,” said Erik Molvar, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “There is a documented history of permit violations, criminal convictions, and overgrazing of allotments as recently as 2019.”

This would be challenged in court (assuming that suits have not already been filed) and the new administration would almost certainly revoke it anyway.

71mamzel
gen. 5, 2:52pm

I guess those who don't need pardons get Freedom Awards?

72Limelite
gen. 5, 4:40pm

Let's not change now! More rewards for criminal behavior, more honors for despicable deplorables, more pardons for convicted felons!! "More congratulating our base for their baseness with our baseness."

73MsMixte
gen. 5, 4:42pm

>69 davidgn: Your questions, answered:

There's apparently no prohibition on recalling four star generals to active duty to serve as members of a court-martial panel. However, my source is not aware of it ever happening. The panel members do not have to be in the same service, but they do have to be members of the "armed forces," so Public Health Services and NOAA officers are out.

As for seniority, what Article 25 of the UCMJ actually says about that is, "When it can be avoided, no member of an armed force may be tried by a court-martial any member of which is junior to him in rank or grade." The cases about this provision usually go in the opposite direction -- the accused objects to the composition of the panel, claiming that the convening authority stacked the panel with members that are so senior they're likely to put the hammer down, whereas more junior members might be sympathetic to the accused (although my source reports that this does not actually happen). To my source's knowledge, the "when it can be avoided" language has never been tested, likely because it can always be avoided.

The military hardly ever puts general officers on trial -- only a handful of times since WWII. To my source's knowledge, they've only recalled one general officer from retirement to try him at court-martial (Gen. Grazioplene, charged with six counts of rape of a child). His charges were dismissed because the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces held in a different case that the statute of limitations for rape was five years. But the Supreme Court recently overturned that, so it's expected that the charges might be refiled.

74mikevail
gen. 5, 6:24pm

>73 MsMixte:
Billy Mitchell must be rolling over in his grave

75davidgn
gen. 5, 6:56pm

>73 MsMixte: Thanks. Hope someone has the gumption to press this forward.

76MsMixte
gen. 5, 7:17pm

>74 mikevail: Billy Mitchell, an interesting case, that one. A man ahead of his time, a prophet not recognized.

But he wouldn't be able to be recalled to a panel, since during his lifetime he achieved only brigadier general status (posthumously promoted to major general, so still only a two star general).

77Limelite
gen. 6, 7:43pm

Mike Pence Better Not THINK about Pardoning Trump

If/when Trump is involuntarily removed, Pence will be expected by the die-hard walking dead Congresspersons for Trump, by his family, and by certain right wing nut jobs to pardon the Traitor.

He better find a spine for real.

78Limelite
Editat: gen. 7, 4:05pm

Because Trump Is Considering Pardoning Himself

MSNBC reported that having been advised of his increased exposure to criminal prosecution after his parts in the insurrection, Trump is mulling preemptive pardons for himself and family. Allegedly, a long list of names of candidates for pardons is also in his hands. Those, as is suspected, may require more of Trump's self-vaunted negotiating to determine the, uhhh, package that will accompany his "magnanimity" and signifying the extent of a newly pardoned's gratitude.

79margd
Editat: gen. 8, 9:36am

Pardons don't stop lawsuits, do they?

Dominion sues Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation, seeks $1.3 billion
Kevin Collier | Jan. 8, 2021

Dominion says it has spent millions on security for its employees and damage control to its reputation, and risks losses of future business...

...A Dominion employee who had been subjected to targeted harassment from Trump supporters had previously personally sued Powell and others.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/dominion-sues-trump-lawyer-sidney...

80margd
Editat: gen. 15, 12:31pm

Sounds like furry man with horns is out of luck in his pursuit of Presidential pardon?*

No, Trump can’t pardon himself or other insurrectionists. Impeachment would strip him of that power.
Congress can affirm what “except in cases of impeachment” means.
Corey Brettschneider and Jeffrey K. Tulis | Jan. 15, 2021

Reports indicate that President Trump is considering pardoning both himself and others related to the insurrection at the Capitol. At the same time, the House is rapidly moving forward with impeaching Trump for his role. The most coherent constitutional understanding suggests that if the House votes to impeach Trump — even before the Senate begins its trial — he is then barred from issuing a pardon either for himself or those related to the impeachment charges. Congress — not the Supreme Court — can move to decide on whether the president can pardon himself or others directly connected to the high crimes for which he is impeached.

...The Constitution makes clear that the president has the power to grant pardons, “except in cases of impeachment.” ...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/13/no-trump-cant-pardon-himself-...

__________________________________________________​

* https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-lawyer-albert-watk...

81kiparsky
gen. 15, 12:27pm

>80 margd: “except in cases of impeachment.”

Oh, that's brilliant. Well played, Pelosi.

82margd
Editat: gen. 15, 1:53pm

>81 kiparsky: Then again it's Trump's last opportunity for a Friday night news dump. And on MLK weekend, no less. He might just mass pardon the slimeballs, sharing outrage over his own self-pardon, and let the courts deal with it later?

https://twitter.com/davidfrum/status/1350101085151780864

83kiparsky
gen. 15, 2:31pm

>82 margd: But the neat thing is, we are currently "in case of impeachment" :)

I'm pretty sure that's not the original intent, of course, but you could make an argument, from a literalist reading of the pardons clause, that the president does not have the power to pardon when he is undergoing impeachment - which is going to cover the balance of his term. So if he tried to dump a pardon, it would be at best another sticky mess for him - and an argument for the President's position would have to rely on an original-intent argument, which might be a little uncomfortable for the literalist judges out there.

84John5918
Editat: gen. 17, 1:18am

I’m facing a prison sentence': US Capitol rioters plead with Trump for pardons (Guardian)

Arrested supporters say they were ‘listening’ to the president...


Edited to add: “I listen to my president who told me to go to the Capitol.” I seem to recall a similar excuse has been used before. Nuremberg, wasn't it? "I was only obeying orders".

85mamzel
gen. 17, 2:29pm

>84 John5918: There has been an ad on NBC that features others who used that excuse (North, Nazis) and saying that "I was only following orders" is the lamest excuse anyone can use.

86Molly3028
gen. 17, 3:21pm

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/17/rudy-giuliani-associate-john-kir...
Giuliani associate told ex-CIA officer a Trump pardon would 'cost $2m’ – report

87margd
gen. 18, 4:24am

Prospect of Pardons in Final Days Fuels Market to Buy Access to Trump
The president’s allies have collected tens of thousands of dollars — and potentially much more — from people seeking pardons.
Michael S. Schmidt and Kenneth P. Vogel | Jan. 17, 2021

...the closest (historical parallel) occurred in the final hours of Bill Clinton’s administration when he issued 170 pardons and commutations, some of which went to people who paid six-figure sums to his family and associates. But even Mr. Clinton, who was seen as flouting protocols, mostly rewarded people who had gone through an intensive Justice Department review process intended to identify and vet the most deserving recipients from among thousands of clemency applications.

Mr. Trump has shunned that process more than any recent president, creating an ad hoc system in the White House that Mr. Kushner has had significant influence over and has relied on input from an informal network of outside advisers, including (Brett Tolman, a former federal prosecutor who has been advising the White House on pardons and commutations, has monetized his clemency work with Mr. Trump’s team). That system favors pardon seekers who have connections to Mr. Trump or his team, or who pay someone who does, said pardon lawyers who have worked for years through the Justice Department system.

Few regulations or disclosure requirements govern presidential clemency grants or lobbying for them, particularly by lawyers, and there is nothing illegal about Trump associates being paid to lobby for clemency. Any explicit offers of payment to the president in return could be investigated as possible violations of bribery laws; no evidence has emerged that Mr. Trump was offered money in exchange for a pardon.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/17/us/politics/trump-pardons.html

88margd
gen. 18, 10:56am

Kevin Liptak (CNN) @Kevinliptakcnn | 10:00 AM · Jan 18, 2021:
George W. Bush wrote about the eleventh-hour pardon pressure in his memoir Decision Points:
"One of the biggest surprises of my presidency was the flood of pardon requests at the end.
I could not believe the number of people who pulled me aside to suggest that a friend or former colleague deserved a pardon.

At first I was frustrated. Then I was disgusted. I came to see massive injustice in the system.
If you had connections to the president, you could insert your case into the last-minute frenzy."

"Otherwise, you had to wait for the Justice Department to conduct a review and make recommendation. In my final weeks in office, I resolved that I would not pardon anyone who went outside the formal channels.”

(Trump has adopted almost the opposite approach re: formal channels)

89margd
Editat: gen. 20, 10:49am

Elie Honig (CNN) @eliehonig | 11:16 PM · Jan 19, 2021:
https://twitter.com/eliehonig/status/1351745413120974849

And now the feds at SDNY need to walk the Bannon case file across the street to the Manhattan DA.
Theft is theft, it's a state crime too...
_________________________________________________

ETA:
George Conway @gtconway3d | 7:58 AM · Jan 20, 2021:
Ironically, Trump's raising of over $200 million from his supporters on false pretenses
to supposedly contest an election that was incontestable
was exactly the sort of fraud he pardoned Bannon for.

90margd
gen. 20, 4:04am

What a gold mine secret pardons could be for a corrupt ex-president!

How to stop Trump's secret pardons
Paul Goldman and Jeff Thomas — 01/14/21

...There is nothing in Article II, Section II, preventing President Trump from signing a document granting a pardon, and then putting the paper in a safe at any of his golf resorts. He is not even required to notify the recipient.

That is right, America: Trump can secretly pardon whomever he wants on his last night in office and have those “get out of jail free” cards available if needed. Given the pardon granted Richard Nixon, the scope can be broad.

The constitutional power addressed federal crimes only: Trump cannot directly protect himself and others from being tried for the same acts as state crimes. There is not yet a definitive Supreme Court case concerning state criminal charges against an alleged perpetrator who has received a full presidential pardon for identical predicate acts. Could a presidential pardon in practical effect hamper such a prosecution?

...We...urge Congress to immediately enact a law limiting the power of the president to issue secret pardons. The constitutional legality of any pardon is solely a determination for the judicial branch. Therefore, Congress could pass a law saying that any pardon revealed after a president has left office will be presumed illegal. Shifting the burden of proof in this fashion is consistent with Article II, Section II...

There is a crucial legal difference between the power to issue pardons and the role of the judiciary in determining the legitimacy of the action as a matter of law. The legislative branch, acting in the public interest, has a legitimate interest in ensuring a secret pardon was not issued after a president left office...

https://thehill.com/opinion/criminal-justice/534222-how-to-stop-trumps-secret-pa...

91Molly3028
Editat: gen. 20, 9:41am

In the end, Trump showed everyone in the world how little he cares about his
average American supporters by pardoning a guy who cheated many of them
out of 300m bucks. Trump has played his clueless, gullible cult-following
voters like violins from day one.