Tag Archives: presidential pardon

D’oh! It’s about a pardon?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am just slapping myself upside my own noggin.

Two blog posts have commented on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s goofy lawsuit that seeks to overturn the presidential election results in four states that President-elect Joe Biden won over Donald Trump: Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Now comes the chatter over the GOP Texas AG’s lawsuit. The dipsh** is angling for a pardon from Trump.

D’oh! Why didn’t I snap to that conclusion.

The FBI is investigating Paxton on allegations leveled by former top legal aides in the Texas AG’s office. They contend that Paxton broke the law by dishing out favors for a key political crony/ally/contributor. In come the feds to look more closely at the allegations. Trump, of course, has the power to grant a full pardon for any federal crime or suspicion of a federal crime.

That might explain why Paxton is launching this idiotic legal challenge. I have yet to see a serious legal or constitutional scholar suggest that the challenge Paxton is mounting has an ounce of legal merit. They have labeled it everything from a fishing expedition to a publicity stunt.

There well might be a pardon in the Texas attorney general’s future if Donald Trump gives a damn about what Ken Paxton is trying to do.


Go ahead, Mr. POTUS … pardon yourself

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am going to make a suggestion that might surprise readers of this blog, which is that I believe Donald Trump ought to try to pardon himself for crimes he might have committed.

Would such a pardon be legal? Is it constitutional? Who in the name of juris prudence actually knows for certain? Hey, so go ahead, Mr. President, give it a try.

A presidential self-pardon could do a couple of things to Trump’s political future that he wouldn’t like. It would brand him forever as someone who is likely guilty of whatever crime he might  have committed. The acceptance of a pardon is an implied admission of guilt, right? Well, that’s how I see it … along with many legal and constitutional scholars.

Newsweek reported: On Thursday, CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp weighed in, saying pardon power should be reformed and Trump granting himself clemency would make him look guilty.

“If the president has designs on running again for president, this would certainly imperil that, and I would think encourage other justice departments to really look at what he had done while in office if he is tacitly admitting he needed to be pardoned for stuff,” Cupp said.

Therefore, if Trump is thinking about running for president in 2024, he will have to explain to Americans how someone who in effect admits to commit crimes can run for the office he lost in 2020? Oh, wait! I forgot that he wouldn’t have to persuade gullible GOP primary voters who think he’s the bee’s knees already, even though he has trashed the presidency, lied through his teeth repeatedly to everyone and made a mockery of every norm associated with the nation’s highest office.

The rest of us? Well, that’s another issue.

I don’t think it’s going to get that far, to be honest. I have serious doubts that Trump is going to run again for POTUS, but that’s just me, you know?

If a self-pardon is ruled to be illegal or unconstitutional were he to actually do it, Trump would face being called a dimwitted dipsh** who thought he could pull a fast one on the federal judiciary. But, hey, I already think that of him as it stands right now. Maybe others might catch on, too.

So, go ahead and give it a shot, Donald. Let’s see what this would do to your “brand.”

Flynn gets pardson; so … ?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Here’s a flash for you: A presidential pardon does no expunge the record of a man who has admitted to lying twice to the FBI and the vice president of the United States.

He won’t do time. That’s the effect of the pardon that Donald Trump today issued for retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a one-time (and short-time) national security adviser to the Trump administration.

Flynn’s acceptance of the pardon, of course, also implies guilt for the crime he admitted to committing.

Flynn disgraced his uniform by lying to the FBI about what he knew about the Russian efforts to attack our electoral system in 2016. He did it again by lying to VP Mike Pence.

No presidential pardon doesn’t restore Michael Flynn’s reputation, which he plowed asunder all by himself. Still, it’s a disgrace that Donald Trump would issue it.

Yes, Stone is still a felon

I am going to presume that Robert Mueller III wishes he wouldn’t be dragged back into the news cycle, but he has been brought back into public discussion.

Donald Trump commuted the 40-month prison sentence that awaited Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime pal and dirty trickster.

Trump said, not surprisingly, that Stone had been treated “unfairly.” Mueller, in an essay published by the Washington Post, disputes that contention vigorously.

Here’s the deal, though. Suppose the president had pardoned Stone. It would have expunged the record of a felony. A pardon doesn’t expunge people’s memories, their knowledge of what brought about the pardon. Mueller writes in the Post: A jury later determined he lied repeatedly to members of Congress. He lied about the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks. He lied about the existence of written communications with his intermediary. He lied by denying he had communicated with the Trump campaign about the timing of WikiLeaks’ releases. He in fact updated senior campaign officials repeatedly about WikiLeaks. And he tampered with a witness, imploring him to stonewall Congress.

Had the president pardoned Stone, all of that would have remained part of the unofficial record. So, what Trump did merely was to keep his pal out of the slammer, which is the reward Stone got for being so loyal to Trump.

I really am not worried that Trump might actually pardon Stone before he leaves office. So what if he does? Trump already has saved Stone from the worst of his conviction, a prison sentence. A full pardon doesn’t wipe clean the memories of those of us who believed in the conviction that came down in the first place.

Indeed, the first sentence of Roger Stone’s obituary is going to include a prominent mention of the crimes for which a jury convicted him … no matter what!

A pardon for Manafort? Consider the consequence

There’s a good bit of speculation afoot about why Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman who pleaded guilty to felony charges and then agreed cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller, would lie repeatedly to Mueller’s team.

Mueller is looking into whether Trump’s campaign “colluded” with Russians who attacked our election system in 2016. Manafort was thought to have a lot of answers to Mueller’s many questions. Then he lied, according to Mueller. Manafort blew the plea deal apart.

But . . . why? Some analysts suggest Manafort might be angling for a presidential pardon.

I have two words for them: Gerald Ford.

A presidential pardon is likely to explode like a volcano over the political landscape. Hey, come to think of it, if such an event results in Trump’s ouster, then I am all for it!

Back to President Ford. The president took office in August 1974 after President Richard Nixon resigned in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Barely a month in office, the new president issued a blanket pardon for any offenses his predecessor might have committed. He freed President Nixon from any prosecution.

Ford was vilified at the time for the pardon. He ran for election in 1976 and lost that year narrowly to Jimmy Carter. The pardon was seen at the time as a major contributor to the president’s defeat.

I was among those who criticized Ford at the time. Since then my views have changed about President Ford and the pardon. But the damage was done in real time.

If the current president thinks he is going to cover his backside from any incriminating circumstance by pardoning Paul Manafort, he is likely instead to purchase a whole basket full of political crises.

I am now wondering whether the president has any idea of what might transpire if he is foolish enough to take such an action.

Ali might get pardon? Eh? For what?

Donald J. “Ignoramus in Chief” Trump Sr. reportedly is considering a pardon for, get a load of this, the late Muhammad Ali.

Please, Mr. President, do some homework — for once, will ya?

The Greatest does not need a pardon. Do you understand?

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1971 that the boxing authorities that stripped Ali of his heavyweight champion title violated his constitutional rights that (a) guaranteed his freedom of religion, (b) allowed him to protest peaceably the federal government and (c) allowed him freedom of speech.

You see, Ali protested the Vietnam War by refusing in 1967 to accept induction into the U.S. Army; he cited his Muslim faith as the basis for his refusal to be drafted. The boxing authorities then decided to deny him the right to earn a living by stripping him of his ability to box, to defend his heavyweight title. He was cast out of boxing for more than three years.

The nation’s highest court rectified that injustice by overturning his conviction on draft evasion. What’s more, President Jimmy Carter issued a pardon for all Vietnam War draft dodgers — and that included Muhammad Ali.

Earth to Trump: The Greatest of All Time does not need a presidential pardon!

Now, get ready for that summit with Kim Jong Un.

Self-pardoning: prescription for disaster

Why in the name of political hyperbole did Donald J. Trump broach the subject of “self-pardoning”?

He did. The president has declared that he has the authority to pardon himself, but then said immediately afterward that there’s no reason to do so. Why? He’s done “nothing wrong,” he said.

OK, then. I get that, Mr. President.

But I ask again: Why in the hell did he say such a thing in the first place?

Trump is no lawyer. He’s got a team of legal eagles supposedly helping him wade through the morass that keeps slowing him down. I’m wondering if the legal team is able to shut this guy up, to persuade him to stop yapping gratuitously on matters of which he has no understanding.

The president has triggered yet another national discussion about his potential criminality. Why? For what purpose? I don’t understand where this discussion is going and whether Trump is trying to instigate a potential constitutional crisis.

The talk around the nation now includes whether the president actually believe he is “above the law.” Oh, man. He isn’t. He ought to know that. His lawyers damn sure ought to know it.

This idiocy about self-pardoning has to presume he has done something wrong.

You know, presidents have been known to take subordinates to the “woodshed,” as President Reagan famously did with then-budget director David Stockman back in the early 1980s. I don’t expect it to happen, but is there anyone close to the current presidential clown who’s able to take the boss out back to slap some sense into his coiffed skull?

Why the talk about POTUS’s self-pardon?

This discussion about whether Donald Trump can pardon himself has my head spinning.

I mean, hasn’t the president declared that he did nothing wrong? That there is “no collusion” with Russians who meddled in our 2016 presidential election? That his business dealings are on the up and up? That there’s no obstruction of justice? No crimes committed?

Oh, wait!

The president’s kicked into overdrive his effort to discredit, disparage and dismiss the special counsel’s investigation into all of these questions. Robert Mueller is no hatchet man. He’s a longstanding Republican, a former FBI director, a meticulous lawyer. He’s a pro. He’s a former Marine who saw combat during the Vietnam War. His character is — if you’ll excuse the reference here — unimpeachable.

Back to my point.

This chatter about whether the president can pardon himself only heightens the possibility that Trump is indeed stupid enough to even raise the issue. He has done that and has opened up an entirely hideous line of discussion.

A pardon presumes wrongdoing. If the president is clean, why are we even having this discussion?

Or is he … actually clean?

Future POTUS asked about hookers? Seriously?

Is this what we have produced? Rumors about a future president of the United States asking about Russian prostitutes and disputes over whether someone threatened a porn star if she blabbed about her tryst with the future president?

Holy cow, dudes! What is going on here?

I do not know how to react to any of this. Nor do I know how precisely to process. I am left to just vent on this blog about the lowlife quality of the discussion revolving a man who would aspire to become head of state of the world’s most indispensable nation.

I’ve been watching presidential politics for some time. Sure, we had rumors about infidelity regarding former presidents; long after one of them was dead we learned that, yes, he did cheat on his wife while living in the White House.

This stuff about the current president, though, goes beyond all of that. Donald J. Trump is being swallowed whole — quite possibly — by reports that his personal lawyer may “flip” and turn against him. Trump might fire the special counsel that is looking into all of this and more; or he might fire the deputy U.S. attorney general who appointed the special counsel; or he might fire both of them.

Then we’re hearing about possible presidential pardons.

What is the common denominator? Sex, man! Sex with a porn queen and with a former Playboy Bunny/centerfold model! And maybe sex with Russian hookers who Russian strongman Vladimir Putin describes as the “most beautiful in the world”?

I feel like throwing up.

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.