Monday, June 4, 2018

Trump Sends Another Nasty Personal Tweet: Gets Called Out — Seeks Help

Self-defense up close and personal

This story is the latest “hot button” 24-7 news cycle story from Trump – which seems to be his strategy: keep people off balance about him, his woes, and he issues – rather for the coverage he desires and wants favorable about him.



Can a president pardon someone who hasn't even been charged or convicted for a crime? Yep. In 1866, the Supreme Court ruled in Ex parte Garland that the pardon power “extends to every offence known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken, or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment.” (Source is

In that Garland case, a former Confederate senator successfully petitioned the high court to uphold a pardon that prevented him from being disbarred following the Civil War.

Generally speaking, once an act has been committed, the president can issue a pardon at any time — regardless of whether charges have even been filed.

Noteworthy however: The president as the nation’s chief executive can't pardon someone for a violation of state law or nullify a civil ruling. His power also doesn't extend to convictions handed down in an impeachment proceeding. It’s also not clear since it’s never been before any court for a ruling as to whether the president can pardon himself for future convictions or not for any conviction(s).

Purpose of Pardons – the basics, either presidential for Federal crimes and Gov. for State crimes is:
A pardon is a government decision that allows a person who has been convicted of a crime to be free and absolved of that conviction, as if the person was never convicted.
NOTE:  Cases of wrongful conviction are more often dealt with by appeal rather than by pardon, but a pardon is sometimes offered when innocence is undisputed in order to avoid the costs that are associated with a retrial.
Clemency plays a very important role when capital punishment is applied.

These terms differ subtly from country to country, but generally clemency is a general concept of amelioration of penalties, especially by action of executive officials.
Those may take the following forms and include:
Amnesty: A pardon applied to a group of people rather than an individual, e.g., President Jimmy Carter offered amnesty to anyone who had evaded the draft during the Vietnam War. Also, a weapon amnesties are often granted so that people can hand in weapons to the police without any legal questions being asked. After a civil war (like we had) may have a mass amnesty granted to absolve all participants of guilt so the country can move on and note: Amnesties are typically applied in advance of any prosecution for the crime.
Commutation: Substituting the imposed penalty for a crime with a lesser penalty while the person in question still remains guilty of the original crime (e.g., someone who is guilty of murder may have their sentence commuted to life imprisonment rather than death, or the term of imprisonment may be reduced).
Remission: Complete or partial cancellation of the penalty, while the person still is considered guilty of the crime (i.e., reduced penalty). Also known as remand, the proceedings by which a case is sent back to a lower court from which it was appealed, with instructions as to what further proceedings should be had.
Reprieve: Temporary postponement of a punishment, usually so that the accused can mount an appeal (especially if he or she has been sentenced to death).
Respite: The delay of an ordered sentence, or the act of temporarily imposing a lesser sentence upon the convicted, whilst further investigation, action, or appeals can be conducted.
Expungement: The process by which the record of a criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from the official repository, thus removing any traces of guilt or conviction.
Immunity from prosecution: A prosecutor may grant immunity, usually to a witness, in exchange for testimony or production of other evidence. The prosecutor conditionally agrees not to prosecute a crime that the witness might have committed in exchange for any new evidence (say for a bigger person to prosecute). For example, a car thief who witnesses a murder might be granted immunity for his crime as an inducement to identify, and perhaps to truthfully testify against the murder suspect.
Other immunity: Several other types of immunity are available, depending on the status of a person as a member of the government.
In the pardon power for federal crimes is granted to the President which states: The President shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”

The Supreme Court has interpreted this language to include the power to grant pardons, conditional pardons, commutations of sentence, conditional commutations of sentence, remissions of fines, forfeitures, respites, and amnesties.

Key Historical Pardons:

President Gerald Ford’s pardon of former President Richard Nixon on September 8, 1974, for official misconduct which gave rise to the Watergate scandal. (NOTE: Presidential pardons may be granted at any time. When Ford pardoned Nixon, Nixon had not yet been convicted or even formally charged with a crime – but in the face of such, Nixon resigned).

Andrew Johnson's sweeping pardons of thousands of former Confederate officials and military personnel after the Civil War,

Jimmy Carter's grant of amnesty to Vietnam-era draft dodgers,

George H. W. Bush's pardons of 75 people, including six Reagan administration officials accused or convicted in connection with the Iran–Contra affair,

Bill Clinton's commutation of sentences for 16 members of FALN in 1999 and his own brother.

George W. Bush's commutation of the prison term (but not the significant fine) of I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby was controversial re: the Valerie Plame CIA agent outing scandal.

NOTE: The DOJ requires that anyone requesting a pardon wait five years after conviction or release prior to receiving a pardon. 

However, Trump has skated around that policy as he often does to do things on his own. Further such pardon requests require a president to share power with Congress and the federal courts and the DOJ — for guidelines and basic approval of the pardon request(s) that may be blocked by any of the other two branches of government. 

Trump hates that part, sad to say – ergo: His dictator gene kicks in.

Since George Washington presidents have, for the most part, voluntarily accepted restraints on their ability to pardon under those guidelines.

Starting in 1789, government lawyers have been designated to review pardon applications. And since 1865, presidents have typically relied on a review by the DOJ before granting clemency.
As noted: Trump so far, has sidestepped that process for example:
Of the five people he has announced pardons for, including D’Souza, just one had a pending clemency application at the Justice Department: former Navy sailor Kristian Mark Saucier, who was convicted in 2016 of unauthorized possession of classified data.
Saucier’s case got Trump’s attention because the sailor had used a so-called Clinton defense to argue that his acts were no worse than Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server when she was secretary of State.
Trump has seemed to act on impulse or at the urgings of friends and celebrities in making his clemency decisions. Three of his pardons have gone to people backed by his conservative political allies — D’Souza; Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff; and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted in 2007 of perjury and obstruction of justice.
Actor Sylvester Stallone lobbied Trump to pardon Jack Johnson, the late African American boxer, who was convicted in 1913 on charges stemming from his sexual relations with a white woman.  
And, more recently, Kim Kardashian visited Trump at the White House and urged him to pardon a woman sentenced to life in prison for a nonviolent drug charge, her first offense.
The White House would not say who urged Trump to pardon D’Souza, but gaining clemency for him has been a cause for Trump confidant Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who say D’Souza was targeted for his caustic, sometimes racist, criticism of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Similarly, Blagojevich’s allies have lobbied extensively for his 14-year sentence to be reduced.

NOTEWORTHY: Another pattern is that Trump has seemed to favor clemency for people prosecuted by his nemeses, e.g., D’Souza was prosecuted by Preet Bharara, whom Trump fired as U.S. attorney in Manhattan.

Martha Stewart’s prosecution was directed by one of Bharara’s predecessors in that job, James B. Comey, whom Trump fired as FBI director.
Blagojevich’s prosecutor was Patrick Fitzgerald, a friend of Comey’s who also prosecuted Libby.

For Trump, the day’s pardon action began early Thursday, when he tweeted: “Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!”

D’Souza pleaded guilty in 2014 to campaign finance fraud. Trump did not explain how D’Souza had been treated unfairly, but the White House, in a statement, said: “D’Souza was, in the president’s opinion, a victim of selective prosecution for violations of campaign finance laws.”
The federal judge in the case decided otherwise in 2014 when D’Souza raised that claim in court, saying D’Souza had “no evidence” for his contention. At D’Souza’s sentencing, the judge admonished him, saying, “It is still hard for me to discern any personal acceptance of responsibility in this case.”
D’Souza admitted to having illegally used straw donors, including a woman with whom he was having an affair and who has since become his wife, to contribute to a Republican Senate candidate in New York in 2012. He was sentenced to five years of probation, including eight months at a “community confinement center” in San Diego, and ordered to pay a $30,000 fine.
Bharara denied any political influence took place, tweeting that “the facts are these: D’Souza intentionally broke the law, voluntarily pled guilty, apologized for his conduct & the judge found no unfairness. The career prosecutors and agents did their job. Period.”
D’Souza fired back in a tweet later in the day saying: “Bharara wanted to destroy a fellow Indian American to advance his career. Then he got fired & I got pardoned.”
My final 2 Cents: D’Souza should have added a string of “smiley faces” to his smug tweet since that seems to be the routine GOP nasty route, right? Yep, it does (so, I answer my own question). 
Finally, a simple question I often ask – How to we stop Trump, or for that matter anyone else in that office or our members of Congress with all the power they have over us? 
Well the answer is in the ending of this short 2-minute video. It’s a great summary for today’s post. Enjoy. 
Thanks for stopping by.

No comments: