July 31, 2020
Pardon Me! Defying Rule of Law
The daily deliberate attack on the traditions of the Rule of Law come with speed as the next election looms. Behaviors that in former years would have become enormous scandals are now commonplace, and most people do not react. However, the latest commutation of a criminal, Roger Stone, seems to have been the final straw. The President finds himself alone, using his usual complaint: "My allies are treated unfairly!"
Stone was convicted in a jury trial, the evidence meticulously compiled by the Mueller team charged with investigating the Russian interference in the 2016 election. Stone himself told a reporter that he refused to spill the beans on his boss, Donald Trump, and that he deserved to have his sentence commuted. He refused to "be a rat," (Mafia mob lingo), against his boss. Blackmail, perhaps?
This is nothing new, unfortunately. Donald Trump has attacked the judiciary since his election, complaining that judges who rule against him are just tools of former presidents, or judges whose ancestors were from his least favored ethnicities (Mexican), gender or color (Black women) or were simply "never Trumpers."
From the beginning of his presidency, his chief mission was to pack the courts with very conservative, and often unqualified judges that could be rubber stamped by his Republican Senators. He was helped by that other abuser of Rule of Law, Senator Mitch McConnell, who blocked President Obama from appointing a Supreme Court justice and then led the Republicans in approving Trump?s choices.
This president pronounces himself "the Law and Order President," which seems to mean law and order for his henchmen but none for the rest of us.
This latest pardoning scandal caps a long list of others, all convicted criminals for whom he had sympathy. Below is the chronological list of beneficiaries, all of them sharing Trump?s excuse: they were convicted unfairly. Judge for yourself.
Sherriff Joe Arpaio, Arizona?s serial violator of court restraints on his abuse of prisoners.
Kristian Mark Saucier, a Connecticut Prosecutor who hid defense information.
I. Lewis Libby (Scooter) who obstructed justice, and committed perjury.
John Arthur Johnson, violation of the White Slave Traffic Act.
Dinesh D?Souza, campaign contribution fraud.
Dwight Lincoln Hammond: Arson to destroy US property.
Michael Chase Behenna, unpremeditated murder, assault (U.S. Army).
Patrick James Nolan, running a corporation through racketeering.
Conrad Moffat Black, mail fraud and obstruction of justice.
Michael Anthony Tedesco, drug conspiracies.
Roy Wayne McKeever, used telephone in distributing marijuana.
John Richard Bubala, illegal conversion of government property.
Chalmer Lee Williams, conspiracy to steal firearms in interstate shipments.
Rodney M. Takumi, illegal gambling business.
Zay Jeffries, conspiracy to violate the Sherman Act.
Mathew Golsteyn, premeditated murder, pardoned before Army trial.
Clint A. Lorance, attempted murder, murder, threats, perjury, obstructing justice (Army).
Angela Ronae Stanton, 17 counts of conspiracy to transport stolen vehicles.
Ariel Manuel Friedler, conspiracy to access a protected computer without authorization.
David Hossein Safavian, obstruction, false statements.
Michael Rober Milken, conspiracy, major securities fraud, tax fraud, violating net capital requirements.
Paul Harvey Pogue, false tax return.
Berhard Baily Kerik, obstructing Internal Revenue Laws, false statements on a loan application, false statements.
Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., misprision of a felony.
Rod Blagojevich, mail and wire fraud, attempts to extort money.
Another category is aimed at Military Justice, dishonoring the Military Code by pardoning or commuting sentences for very violent military men. He demonstrates his scorn for "my generals," who seem to have finally turned on him.
Trump is rescuing every thug in his service whose crimes of corruption are similar to those under investigation against himself: tax fraud, collusion with enemies, and conspiracies to conduct business in violation of laws. Trump sees nothing wrong in corruption. To him, crimes are only those committed by the poor and minorities, or those who are "never Trumpers."
Now, as his term ends, he is rescuing from punishment personal allies, felons whose crimes were in defense of himself. He even speculates out loud that he could pardon himself (and all the other criminals in his administration). The next Administration had better make justice norms law, and prevent the pardon policy from abuse.
Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of "How Do You Know That? Contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.netglobalthink.net.