Trump Uses Pardon Power to Keep Friends Out of Jail

“For my friends, anything. For my enemies, the law.”

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The “Yankee caudillo” Donald Trump (The Washington Post)

When Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio last year before the former Arizona sheriff could even be sentenced for criminal contempt of court, I wrote it reminded me of that adage of South American dictators: “For my friends, anything. For my enemies, the law.”

It has only become worse since then.

Trump has pardoned:

  • Scooter Libby, a Republican operative who leaked the identity of a CIA agent for political purposes;
  • Kristian Saucier, a sailor who took photos of classified areas inside a submarine; and, earlier today,
  • Dinesh D’Souza, a right-wing provocateur who pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating campaign finance laws.

Axios reports that Trump is also considering pardoning Martha Stewart’s insider trading conviction and commuting the political corruption sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

Needless to say, the president doesn’t have pardon power in order to keep his friends out of jail — but we already knew this president doesn’t care about constitutional norms or the rule of law.