Trump Has Become “Obsessed” With Pardons, Preparing Dozens Of New Ones
President Donald Trump is preparing the paperwork for dozens of pardons. A White House official told The Washington Post that Trump has become “obsessed” with pardons and that it has become his new “favorite thing” to talk about.
Last week, Trump pardoned conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws in 2014. He is reportedly considering pardoning Martha Stewart and commuting the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Trump’s pardoning spree includes granting forgiveness to the first black heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson, former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby and former Navy sailor Kristian Saucier.
Trump has also recently indicated that he has the power to pardon himself on Twitter.
The president reportedly does not go about granting pardons through the usual procedures, and instead has chosen to bypass the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney. The office has made it clear, however, that a pardon does not equate innocence.
“A presidential pardon is not a sign of forgiveness. A pardon is not a sign of vindication and does not connote or establish innocence,” the office’s written instructions say. “For that reason, when considering the merits of a pardon petition, pardon officials take into account the petitioner’s acceptance of responsibility, remorse and atonement for the offense.”
CNN reports that critics now wonder if Trump so freely using his pardoning power is to send a signal to former allies and aides who are facing criminal charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.