Oh, come on; you knew this would happen.
Trump on Tuesday used his sweeping presidential pardon powers to forgive the crimes of a list of boldface names, including disgraced politician Rod R. Blagojevich, convicted junk bond king Michael Milken and former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik.
Trump pardoned or commuted the sentences of seven convicted white-collar criminals at the center of federal anti-corruption and tax fraud cases spanning decades, alongside four women whose cases were not as well known.
The action frees Blagojevich, the former Democratic governor of Illinois, from the federal correctional facility in Colorado where he was serving out his 14-year sentence. He was convicted on corruption charges in 2011 for trying in 2008 to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat.
“He’ll be able to go back home with his family after serving eight years in jail,” Trump told reporters. “That was a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence in my opinion and in the opinion of many others.”
The executive actions announced Tuesday fit a pattern of highly personal presidential justice that largely bypasses the traditional pardon process administered by the Justice Department. Most of the people who have received clemency under Trump have been well-connected offenders who had a line into the White House or currency with his political base.
The justice system isn’t supposed to work based on “my opinion and in the opinion of many others.” It’s supposed to work based on the laws and the rules passed by Congress and the legislatures. And it’s not supposed to work based on who paid the most money to your friends and contributors or as a neener-neener to your predecessor.
The banana republic is a republic gone bananas.
Trump has also declared himself to be the “chief law enforcement officer of the country.”
Trump’s constant commentary and increasing willingness to flout traditional legal processes signal that the president feels emboldened and unrestrained after Republicans voted almost unanimously to acquit him on impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, said Chris Whipple, author of “The Gatekeepers,” a history of White House chiefs of staff.
“It shows that Susan Collins was right — Trump has learned a lesson,” Whipple said, referring to a prediction by the Republican senator from Maine that Trump would be more cautious after impeachment. “The lesson he learned is that he’s unaccountable. He can do whatever he wants now with impunity.”
He’s also projecting what kind of treatment he’s hoping to get from the next Republican president when he’s rotting in jail in 2028.
It’s still not too late to impeach and convict the motherfucker. And this time, do it right.