Outgoing President Donald Trump once again abused the pardon power on Wednesday, this time by pardoning Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner’s father, all three of which are convicted felons. And legal experts leveled him for it.
Just a day after issuing pardons for “coffee boy” George Papadopoulos and three Republican lawmakers in what appears to be a prelude to pardons for his children, Trump issued further pardons for closer associates.
Paul Manafort and Roger Stone were both convicted of federal crimes by juries during the course of the Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Charles Kushner, meanwhile, committed a host of loathsome crimes that put him away behind bars for over a year in a case prosecuted by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R).
Again, all three were found guilty. Of course, Trump and his allies frequently claimed that they were innocent. But these pardons make it even more clear that they are guilty because a pardon is an admission of guilt.
In response to the latest pardon spree, legal experts slammed Trump and mocked him for claiming to support “law and order.”
Not sure which is more remarkable: That the President sees the pardon power as a way to reward his friends, or that the President has so many friends who need pardons.
— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) December 24, 2020
Law & Order president. Yeah, right.
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) December 24, 2020
We said he’d abuse his power to protect his own interests; you called us “deranged.”
We said he’d make us weaker; you called us “paranoid.”
We said he’d subvert our democracy; you called us “unhinged.”
We warned you that this would happen; you enabled him—and called us names.
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) December 24, 2020
Every significant Mueller defendant who refused to cooperate (or started but then stopped) has now been pardoned.
Only Rick Gates and Michael Cohen – both of whom testified publicly, in court or Congress – have not been pardoned.
This math isn’t hard to do.
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) December 24, 2020
In pardoning Stone and Manafort, Trump is holding up his end of agreements to obstruct justice and completing a crime. If the Mueller Report had stated that conclusion clearly, we might be in a different world today.
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) December 24, 2020
There is an entire pardon office in DOJ for a reason: to carefully consider all pardon apps, and to consult with the prosecutors on the cases.
Trump has ignored that institutional norm, further undermined the rule of law, and demoralized prosecutors with his recent pardons.
— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) December 23, 2020
Pardons can be used to advance the cause of criminal justice reform, when presidents use the pardon power to pardon or commute sentences that are unjust.
Trump has used the pardon power to reward friends, associates, corrupt politicians, and those who refused to flip on him.
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) December 24, 2020
Yes, it sure is. All you pardonees are still convicted felons. Put that on your resumes. https://t.co/EQR3cgdhZQ
— Andrew C Laufer, Esq (@lauferlaw) December 23, 2020
If Trump actually cared about law and order he would not be issuing these pardons, which are a total abuse of power that should be voided and added to any corruption charges against him after he leaves office.
Trump absolutely can’t pardon himself, so these pardons are evidence that can and should be used against him.
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