Tag Archives: presidential pardon

Trump facing serious trouble

This probe into the “Russia thing” has taken a stern turn for the worse … if you’re the president of the United States of America.

Robert Mueller, the meticulous special counsel, has indicted two key Donald J. Trump presidential campaign aides on money laundering charges. The indictment against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort includes a charge of conspiracy against the United States — which makes me say “whoa!”

Now that Mueller has struck, the talk has surfaced yet again about what the president might do. The Hill reports that GOP senators are resisting calls from Democrats to protect Mueller from a possible firing by the president.

Senate grapples over indictments

Will he pardon Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates? Will he pardon George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russia connection?

Ah, but will he actually fire Mueller?

I keep circling back to this notion that if the president is as innocent of colluding with Russian hackers as he insists he is, why would he do anything?

However, I am left to say “holy crap-ola!” If the president is going to do anything that smacks of obstruction — such as, oh, firing FBI director James Comey over that “Russia thing” — then he exposes himself to the full wrath of Congress.

You see, the president has developed universal loathing among Senate and House Democrats. His Republican alliance in both legislative chambers is showing serious cracks, too.

I am left, therefore — as an avid anti-Trumpster — with terribly mixed feelings about what I think the president should do. Does he take the foolish course and do something he will regret? Or does he just shut the hell up — for once in his adult life — and let the process run its course?

OK, here’s my preference.

Keep your big trap shut, Mr. President, and just let the special counsel — who was appointed by the Justice Department because you followed the voice of foolishness with the Comey firing — do what he’s been charged to do.

‘Law and order’ boast gets doused by pardon

Donald Trump promised to be “the law-and-order president,” which harkened back to the call issued in the late 1960s by Richard Nixon’s campaign for the presidency.

The way I see it, though, Trump’s pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio douses the president’s law-and-order pledge bigly.

Arpaio once served as sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz. He made a big name for himself by his tough policies on illegal immigration. He would racially profile individuals he assumed were entering the country illegally; he would detain them, often in brutal conditions.

A federal judge ordered Arpaio to cease that round-up policy. He refused. The judge put him on trial. The sheriff was convicted. Oh, and then he lost his re-election bid along the way.

How does this comport with the president’s pledge to be the law-and-order guy? It doesn’t.

The president stuck his thumb in the eye of the federal judicial system. He, in effect, said the rule of law doesn’t apply. The pardon clearly is within the president’s realm of power. Some arguing that the pardon might be illegal; I won’t go there.

A pardon’s legality doesn’t necessarily make it right. In this case, it pulls precisely against the pledge the president made to emphasize law and order.

By flouting the rule of law, therefore, the president has declared war as well on any semblance of order.

Stop the excuses for this hideous pardon, already!

I wish my friends on the right would stop diverting attention from Donald Trump’s hideous pardon of “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio.

The former Maricopa County (Ariz.) sheriff had been convicted of flouting a federal judge’s order. It was contempt of court charge. The judge ordered Arpaio to cease rounding up individuals he suspected of being illegal immigrants and then subjecting them to brutal conditions while under detention.

Arpaio thumbed his nose at the judge. He disrespected the rule of law. He said the judge’s order didn’t matter. He’d keep doing what he was ordered to cease doing.

He got convicted. He was awaiting a sentence.

Then the president intervened. He pardoned “Sheriff Joe,” reportedly without clearing it with Justice Department policies. He acted, yet again, on his own — which of course is his right; the Constitution gives the president the power to issue full and unconditional pardons.

The diversion occurs from those on the right who keep looking backward at the pardons issued by he likes of, oh, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. I will concede that those presidents issued controversial pardons, too. They got hammered pretty damn hard for them as well. I just choose not to revisit those actions, preferring instead to focus on the here and now.

Trump’s pardon of Arpaio gives aid and comfort to those on the right and the far right who think it’s OK for law enforcement officials to rough up anyone they think is entering this country illegally.

The pardon further divides an already deeply divided nation.

The president said Arpaio was “convicted for doing his job.” That is utterly ridiculous on its face.

He was convicted because he has demonstrated zero acceptance of the rule of law. The president of the United States has just endorsed that dangerous concept.

That’s why this pardon matters.

Trump ratchets up his disrespect for federal judiciary

Just when you thought Donald Trump couldn’t disrespect a branch of government with any more emphasis … he does exactly that very thing.

The president today has pardoned former Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of disobeying a direct order from a federal judge.

The judge had ordered Arpaio to stop rounding up illegal immigrants en masse, citing potential civil rights violations. Arpaio then decided he would ignore the judge’s lawful order.

Arpaio went on trial and he was convicted.

The president today intervened, issuing a presidential pardon — which is the president’s constitutional right. The pardon is irrevocable.

It’s also a gigantic mistake.

Arpaio, who was defeated for re-election in 2016, is an enormously polarizing figure. He’s long been seen by those on the right and the far right as a champion for their cause against illegal immigration. He has acted roughly and brusquely with those he has caught trying to sneak into the country. He has made no apology for the way he has handled that part of his job.

So he stuck it in the eye of the federal judiciary by refusing to abide by a court order. No worries, according to Trump — who has himself disrespected federal judges who have ruled against him on assorted judicial matters.

Trump vowed to be a “law and order president.” What the president has done with this pardon, though, is reaffirm his belief that judges’ orders don’t matter.

If I might borrow a quote from one of the president’s many tweets.

Sad.

Don’t pardon ‘Sheriff Joe,’ Mr. President

Donald John Trump Sr. offered a titillating morsel for those among his political base to chew on.

He spoke Tuesday at a campaign rally in Phoenix and said former Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio is “going to be just fine.” The implication is that Trump might issue a presidential pardon for “Sheriff Joe.” 

Arpaio has been convicted of ignoring a court order that demanded he stop conducting an “immigration roundup” that sought to locate illegal immigrants sneaking into the United States.

I hope the president forgoes a pardon for Arpaio. A friend of mine who happens to be a former prosecutor in Amarillo said this regarding a potential pardon for the fiery former sheriff:

“A pardon for a criminal conviction is supposed to take into account some equitable or humanitarian reason to remove the conviction. A pardon for someone who knowingly violated a federal court order and is being held in contempt is in my view worse. It sends a message that the judiciary is not to be honored. A dangerous precedent, and a slap in the face to the alleged sheriff’s victims.”

Amen to that.

Then again, the president has demonstrated already a penchant for dishonoring the judiciary … such as when he questioned whether a federal judge could adjudicate a case involving Trump University “because he’s a Mexican”; the judge, by the way, was born in Indiana to Mexican-American parents. Or when he referred to a “so-called judge” who struck down Trump’s ban on Muslims entering the United States.

Trump said Arpaio was convicted of “doing his job.” The crowd in Phoenix roared.

Actually, Mr. President, “Sheriff Joe” was convicted of ignoring what a judge told him to do. We are, after all, a nation of laws.

Isn’t that right?

Is a presidential pardon out of the question?

presidential-pardon

Donald J. Trump said many crazy things while campaigning successfully for the presidency of the United States.

Take, for instance, his statement to Hillary Rodham Clinton that “You’d be in jail” if he were president.

His crowds chanted the “Lock her up!” mantra continually at his rallies. Trump didn’t silence the madness from his followers.

The FBI director, James Comey, concluded in July that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring criminal charges against Clinton over her use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state. Then he told Congress 11 days before the election that he found more e-mails that deserved his agency’s attention; eight days after that he said, “Nope. Nothing has changed.”

Trump continued to hammer “crooked Hillary” with accusations that she broke the law.

So, here’s a nutty idea. Would the new president issue a blanket pardon, clearing his opponent of any potential future prosecution?

Trump isn’t saying. Neither is his transition staff.

Hey, this notion has precedent. President Ford granted a pardon for his immediate predecessor,  former President Nixon, a month after Nixon quit the presidency on Aug. 9, 1974, over the Watergate scandal. No criminal charges had been brought against Nixon, yet Ford sought to prevent a further political fracturing that would occur had any prosecution had been allowed to proceed.

It turned out that the pardon opened up a whole new set of fissures.

But, the nation moved on.

Might there be such an action in our nation’s immediate future?

I wouldn’t oppose such an action. How about you?