President Donald Trump granted clemency to twenty convicted felons on Tuesday including Mueller probe targets George Papadopoulos and Alex Van der Zwaan. This isn’t even close to the unbelievable Pardon spree that President Obama launched in early fiscal 2017.
Pardon my Numbers
President Trump has granted a total of 28 Pardons and 16 Clemencies to date according to the Office of the Pardon Attorney while President Obama in the last 3 1/2 months of his term granted a staggering 212 pardons and… wait for it… 1,715 clemencies. That’s insane, even Vox had to cover it in January 2017, when on his last day in office he granted a record shattering 330 commutations in a single day for drug offenders. Vox wrote,
“It’s the culmination of a year-long effort to use the president’s clemency power to get hundreds of people — most of them nonviolent drug offenders — out of prison sooner. And it tops off another presidential record: With 1,927 people granted some form of clemency, Obama has used his clemency powers more than any president since Harry Truman (excluding Gerald Ford’s clemency for thousands of Vietnam War draft dodgers).”
Based on the numbers from the Pardon Attorney’s office Obama had the highest grand total of granted pardons and clemency since FDR and was second only to Roosevelt and Wilson, both wartime Presidents who pardoned hundreds for desertion. Some have great reasons and others are less so, but no matter how you slice it, we’re not even close to the historic precedent of Democrat Presidents pardoning orders of magnitude more prisoners than Republicans.
Pardons with Good Reasons
As reported by the New York Post,
- Four US military veterans Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were pardoned for “convictions ranging from first-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter in what the White House called the “unfortunate deaths and injuries of Iraqi civilians” during a clash outside Baghdad’s “Green Zone.” While some may have objected to these pardons the Whitehouse state that the pardons were “broadly supported by the public” after a recent disclosure revealed,
“that the lead Iraqi investigator, who prosecutors relied heavily on to verify that there were no insurgent victims and to collect evidence, may have had ties to insurgent groups himself.”
- Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean received pardons for their convictions in the 2005 shooting of a suspected drug trafficker who resisted arrest and fled back into Mexico.
- Crystal Munoz, Tynice Nichole Hall and Judith Negron — received commutations in part due to the advocacy of Alice Johnson, who was also pardoned on drug related charges.
- Johnson also helped persuade Trump to pardon Weldon Angelos, a music producer and former Snoop Dogg associate, who was released from prison in 2016 after serving 13 years of a 55-year sentence for dealing pot.
- Utah state Rep. Phil Lyman, was pardoned for leading an illegal ATV protest through restricted native lands.
- Alfred Lee Crum, 89, received a pardon for pleading guilty in 1952 — when he was 19 — to helping his wife’s uncle run an illegal moonshine still in Oklahoma.
- Otis Gordon, who became a pastor at Life Changer’s International Ministries in South Carolina following his conviction for possessing four kilos of cocaine with intent to distribute.
And a Couple that are less so.
Only a few of these are questionable and that’s still nothing compared to President Obama’s stunning pardon of treasonous Army Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning and convicted FALN Terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera.
- Former US Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), a key Trump ally who pleaded guilty in an inside-trading scheme
- Former US Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who pleaded guilty to stealing campaign funds
- Philip Esformes, a Florida nursing home tycoon who was sentenced last year to 20 years in prison for a $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme, received a commutation that left intact orders to pay restitution and abide by the terms of post-release supervision.
- Alfonso Costa, a Pittsburgh dentist convicted of health care fraud
So really, what is there to complain about? It seems that President Trump in addition to pardoning Lt. General Michael Flynn and political legend Roger Stone has been pretty restrained in using the most controversial of Presidential powers, restrained even.
It is unknown at this time whether or not the President has considered the most debated pardons possible: former NSA analyst Edward Snowden or WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, either possibility would send shock waves through the American political world.