Here's the real reason behind Donald Trump's pardon spree

Donald Trump's pardon of cons...

Posted: May 31, 2018 6:43 PM
Updated: May 31, 2018 6:43 PM

Donald Trump's pardon of conservative author Dinesh D'Souza on Thursday came with little explanation from the President other than this, via Twitter: "He was treated very unfairly by our government!"

The D'Souza pardon is all of a piece with two other presidential pardons made by Trump during his first 16 months in office. D'Souza, former Bush White House aide Scooter Libby and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio were all seen, by some elements within the conservative movement/Trump's base, as martyrs -- people unfairly persecuted by some combination of out-of-control Democrats and the "deep state."

"Bravo! @realDonaldTrump," tweeted Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. "Dinesh was the subject of a political prosecution, brazenly targeted by the Obama administration bc of his political views. And he's a powerful voice for freedom, systematically dismantling the lies of the Left-which is why they hate him. This is Justice."

D'Souza himself played into that idea with a tweet of his own. "Obama & his stooges tried to extinguish my American dream & destroy my faith in America," he tweeted. "Thank you @realDonaldTrump for fully restoring both."

In all three of these cases, Trump chose not to consult with the Justice Department's Office of Pardon Authority -- making the call on his own. (A president is not required by law to huddle with the Office of Pardon Authority.)

And the message Trump appears to be sending with this trio of similar-if-not-the-exact-same pardons is this: If you are being unfairly prosecuted or persecuted by the deep state within the Justice Department/FBI, I have sympathy for you. I am willing to use my pardon power to absolve you. I've done it before. I'll do it again.

Why might that message be relevant, you ask?

Ask Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.

Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, and Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman for a time in 2016, are both facing the possibility of significant criminal charges and penalties. Cohen's home, hotel and office were raided by the FBI and the documents seized in those raids are currently in the process of being reviewed by a special master in the Southern District of New York. Manafort has been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller with a variety of financial crimes -- most dealing with his interactions with the Ukrainian government.

Given the severity of the allegations against them, both men are under considerable pressure to flip -- to cut deals with prosecutors that minimize their legal vulnerability in exchange for cooperating with the ongoing Mueller probe into Russian election meddling and any possible coordination with members of the Trump campaign.

Already three members of Trump's 2016 campaign -- foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, national security adviser Michael Flynn and deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates -- have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the Mueller investigation.

Trump has little ability to see into the Mueller investigation -- to know what Mueller knows and how close (if at all) Manafort and Cohen are to flipping. It's clearly a point of frustration for the President and his legal team; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the public face of that legal team, has taken to suggesting the entire investigation is illegitimate and demanding all information about a confidential source used by the FBI during the 2016 campaign before the President even considers sitting down with the special counsel's office.

Without power over the actual investigation, Trump is reduced to sending messages via public channels.

Twitter is one way he uses that limited power. In a series of tweets last month, Trump sent a very clear message to Cohen about flipping. He wrote:

"The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don't speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will 'flip.' They use non-existent 'sources' and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!"

The message is clear: Don't flip, Michael. This is all a witch hunt. Hang in there! I support you!

Presidential pardons are the other major weapon in Trump's arsenal to combat the pressure campaign by Mueller.

And it is impossible to dismiss the similarities of both the crimes from which D'Souza, Libby and Arpaio are being pardoned and the manner in which Trump chose to announce those pardons.

D'Souza, Arpaio, Libby: All perceived victims of an out-of-control deep-state government which sought to punish their commitment to principle. Railroaded by a machine that hates them because of what they believe and who else supports those beliefs. Forced to answer for actions that elites have gotten away with for ages. And so on and so forth.

The audience of these pardons is small: Really just the Trump loyalists and officials -- like Cohen and Manafort -- that Mueller has his eye on. And in case anyone missed the message sent by the Arpaio and Libby pardons, the D'Souza pardon makes sure that message hits you right in the face.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1084488

Reported Deaths: 17386
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1425562217
Lake705171220
Allen64347862
Hamilton49481481
St. Joseph48135639
Elkhart39011536
Vanderburgh33874494
Tippecanoe29863271
Johnson26876463
Hendricks25548379
Porter24683380
Madison20440444
Clark19785275
Vigo18609308
LaPorte16638260
Monroe16237217
Delaware16230286
Howard16181310
Kosciusko13763162
Hancock12644184
Bartholomew12544188
Warrick11889189
Wayne11794264
Floyd11792225
Grant11484233
Morgan10134188
Boone9576120
Noble8921121
Henry8917163
Marshall8792146
Dearborn875798
Dubois8673138
Shelby7958127
Cass7907126
Lawrence7861182
DeKalb7416106
Jackson738093
Huntington7280107
Gibson6922118
Montgomery6830122
Harrison680696
Knox6779113
Steuben641185
Miami6384106
Whitley631160
Putnam626582
Clinton614176
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Jasper591991
Jefferson5617102
Ripley540892
Adams527881
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Scott475978
Wells462998
White459967
Greene458399
Clay452162
Decatur4491109
Jennings434666
Fayette429094
LaGrange413890
Posey398344
Washington380654
Randolph3770107
Fountain364962
Spencer353446
Fulton352270
Starke343672
Sullivan342454
Owen341676
Orange320270
Jay315450
Rush293332
Carroll287037
Franklin283544
Perry281453
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Parke244930
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Pike241744
Blackford213944
Pulaski203158
Newton176552
Brown169850
Crawford167129
Benton160517
Martin149219
Switzerland143712
Warren131416
Union115416
Ohio90513
Unassigned0581

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1673496

Reported Deaths: 26483
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1757641826
Cuyahoga1629012636
Hamilton1118741528
Montgomery791421387
Summit697231199
Lucas615331017
Butler55597803
Stark521611170
Lorain40661639
Warren35239412
Mahoning34821769
Lake31171493
Clermont30541362
Delaware26553182
Trumbull26366611
Licking26095335
Medina25072351
Fairfield24063287
Greene23957369
Clark21542387
Portage20538280
Richland20465336
Wood19524246
Allen18427320
Miami16950348
Columbiana16385331
Muskingum16346206
Wayne15351304
Tuscarawas14018357
Marion12978194
Erie12350198
Ashtabula12171225
Scioto12166182
Pickaway12009151
Ross11417223
Hancock11151173
Geauga10572174
Lawrence10433171
Belmont10200231
Huron9545155
Jefferson9425225
Union933375
Sandusky8981166
Seneca8639156
Knox8591169
Washington8578156
Athens825096
Darke8215179
Ashland7777147
Auglaize7695115
Shelby7302132
Defiance7174114
Brown7015115
Crawford7010150
Fulton6953111
Logan6818108
Mercer679397
Guernsey677983
Highland6591117
Madison639289
Clinton6361106
Williams623498
Preble6153139
Putnam6054120
Jackson569496
Champaign564786
Perry557179
Coshocton5525103
Ottawa549599
Morrow504464
Fayette481270
Hardin475399
Gallia460278
Pike457876
Van Wert451591
Adams4495109
Henry422776
Hocking398093
Holmes3917137
Wyandot366673
Carroll348978
Paulding317449
Meigs300957
Monroe230860
Noble216147
Morgan208938
Harrison204052
Vinton182037
Unassigned05
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