“I mean, my goodness, we have tax fraud and bank fraud, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, but because they were close to the president they got pardoned.”
(Republican Senator Pat Toomey)
While the last days of Donald Trump are here in the office of the president, he has taken the presidential pardon show to a whole new level.
Abuse of power has reached a level where anyone close enough to Donald Trump can expect an easy pardon to flee from justice against the severe crime committed.
The talks of presidential pardons were omnipresent, and the numbers were also somehow predicted, but the recent wave of presidential pardons by Trump has introduced a new trend in American politics.
Voices from within the Republican circles have started to appear against Donald Trump, which is rare, as most of them perceive him as God.
As he lost the electoral college, a recent wave of presidential pardons by Trump has given amnesty to Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, Charles Kushner, Jared Kushner’s father, blackwater guards convicted of severe human rights violations in Iraq, and a whole bunch of former Republican congressmen, with many others.
Who has been granted a presidential pardons by Trump, what they were accused of, and which of them are undeserving? Let’s dig deeper to find more.
Paul Manafort: A trick to bury the Mueller investigation
Mueller’s investigation put many people in hot water, and one of the first ones among them was Trump’s former campaign advisor, Paul Manafort. In 2018, he was convicted, in the said report, to spend seven years in jail.
Paul Manafort was a close aide of Trump, considered one of the core men who helped win the presidency for Donald Trump.
He was charged with tax fraud, failure to declare foreign bank accounts, and other bank fraud. Paul Manafort has a long history of working with the Republican presidential campaign, as he also worked with Gerald Ford’s presidential election campaign in 1976.
Roger Stone: Presidential Pardons by Trump to clear his way from the Mueller investigation
Roger Stone is yet another criminal convicted in the Mueller investigation, which raised many questions on the transparency of the 2016 presidential elections.
Roger Stone, one of the closest aides of Donald Trump, was found guilty of speaking lies in front of Congress during the Russian involvement investigation in the 2016 elections.
All the Mueller investigations pardons, including Roger Stone’s pardon, is an attempt by Trump to bury the matter of the alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 election to make sure that the Biden administration would not be able to prosecute him after January 20.
Charles Kushner, the father of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Trump’s colleague in the real estate business has also been granted a presidential pardon by Trump.
Convicted of 18 charges, the primary accusation on Charles Kushner was witness tampering, for which he was charged in 2005.
Apart from being a family member of Trump and a business colleague, he also donated more than $100,000 to the Trump campaign in 2015, which is also a motivating factor for Trump to grant him a pardon.
Blackwater Private Guards Presidential Pardons by Trump
“We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill.”
The above dictum was reiterated by Donald Trump in 2019, but only recently came into the limelight as he granted pardons to the “killing machines” of Blackwater.
In one of the most highly controversial acts, Donald Trump pardoned four private guards involved in opening the fire on unarmed protestors, killing at least 14 civilians in Baghdad, Iraq in 2007.
This presidential pardon by Trump has raised the eyebrows of the human rights watchdogs, believing that this precedent can allow the uniformed authorities to take laws into their hands without worrying about the potential consequences.
Four of these guards, namely Evan Liberty, Paul Slough, Nicholas Slatten, and Dustin Heard, were sentenced guilty in 2014. Nicholas Slatten was charged with life imprisonment for involvement in the first-degree murder, while the other three had to serve a term of 30-years in jail for assisting in the massacre.
The prosecutors involved in bringing the armed personnel to justice also commented about Trump’s pardon to the men involved in the manslaughter.
One of the members of the FBI investigation team in this incident said,
“I know that these men were undeserving of pardons because I was a member of the FBI Evidence Response Team that traveled to Iraq and investigated the site of these killings.”
(O’Connor, FBI investigation team member)
Some other prominent presidential pardons by Trump include the following:
|Chris Collins||Former Republican Congressman||Committed securities fraud and lied to the FBI. He was jailed for 26 months.|
|Duncan Hunter||Former Republican Congressman||Stole at least $150,000 from the Republican campaign fund|
|Margaret Hunter||Duncan Hunter’s wife||Misused Republicans campaign fund for private life|
|John Tate and Jesse Benton||Staff members of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign||Submitted forged records and documents to the Federal election commission.|
|Stephanie Mohr||A former police officer from Maryland||Violated civil rights of a homeless person by letting a police dog attack him intentionally|
|Gary Brugman||US Border Patrol agent||Manhandled a man who illegally crossed the US border|
|Mary McCarthy||Former county commissioner||Fraudulent bond transaction for personal benefits|
|Mark Siljander||Former Republican Congressman||Convicted for collecting funds for a company having ties with a terrorist organization|
|Christopher 2 X||A community leader from Louisville, Kentucky||Charged with federal drug charges|
|Robert Coughlin||Former US justice employee||Charged with conflict of interest during official duty|
|Joseph Occhipinti||A former employee of US immigration service||Manhandled Hispanic shop owner and then lied about it during the investigation|
|Rickey Kanter||CEO of a company named Dr. Comfort||Convicted of illegal Medicare reimbursements|
|Daniela Gozes-Wagner||A citizen from Houston||Charged with $50 million health care fraud, including selling unnecessary medicines.|
|Topeka Sam||Criminal justice advocate||Illegal cocaine distribution|
|James Batmasian||Real estate business tycoon||Alleged for tricking the federal government for tax fraud worth $250,000|
|Cesar Lozada||A Cuban immigrant||Charged with marijuana distribution|
While every president grants some pardons while leaving office, this many presidential pardons by Trump is an insult to the justice department.
The motive and ambition of most of these pardons are politically driven, as Trump wants to bury the investigations going on as soon as possible. Without these presidential pardons, especially in the Mueller investigation, Trump can be prone to the potential investigations that may follow him once he leaves the presidency.
As numerous lawsuits await him, every presidential pardon raises some serious questions about the years he spent in the White House and damaging his potential 2024 election campaign, which he is ready to pursue during his election days.