Trump turned clemency into his own little cottage industry


Gatekeepers to a pardon

The Constitution gives the president the virtually unchecked power to grant clemency. Trump’s use of that power reflected how he viewed the presidency through the prism of his own interests and as a way to reward friends and spite enemies, according to longtime clemency advocates and people who participated in the process.

During his tenure as president of the United States…Donald Trump granted executive clemency to 237 individuals charged or convicted of federal criminal offenses…

Of the pardons and commutations that Trump did grant, the vast majority were to persons to whom Trump had a personal or political connection, or persons for whom executive clemency served a political goal. A significant number had been convicted of fraud or public corruption. The New York Times reported that during the closing days of the Trump presidency, individuals with access to the administration, such as former administration officials, were soliciting fees to lobby for presidential pardons.

Those who find no harm or evil in this abuse of presidential power – I’m afraid – are likely to be folks who would excuse many more categories of evil in the name of power, as well.

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