Following his most recent pardon of conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza, US President Donald Trump informed reporters aboard Air Force One Thursday that he is "seriously thinking" of exercising his power to benefit both lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
"If you're Michael Cohen, the message is: 'Stick with me, '" said Andrew Wright, former associate White House counsel during the Obama administration and Savannah Law School professor.
Conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza said Friday that when President Trump called him this week to relay that he was pardoning him, Trump told him that he was "a great voice for freedom" and wanted him to "be a bigger voice than ever". He was convicted in 2011 for misusing his powers as governor, including an attempt to sell former President Barack Obama's Senate seat before he was caught by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood on Thursday criticized Trump's pardons of his supporters and called on the state Legislature to change the state's double-jeopardy law so that those who break its laws can not evade justice with a presidential pardon. "But I thought that he was treated unfairly".
Robert Blagojevich said that he's hopeful about Trump's remarks, but that if his brother's sentence isn't commuted, "it's just more of the same". Trump and Stewart later had a falling out, leading to public quarrels between the two reality stars.
"The President has the right to pardon but the facts are these", Bharara said.
D'Souza claimed before pleading guilty that he had been targeted for prosecution because of his anti-Obama views. The prosecutor, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, was an Obama appointee later fired by Trump. "Giuliani mentioned her case when discussing why they refuse an interview". Here are some of the best jokes on Twitter today about D'Souza's pardon.
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"The FBI did it to signal to the Obama Justice Department and its stooges that I was a political enemy they might want to prosecute". Among the president's prior pardons are Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio and former Bush White House aide Scooter Libby.
She said she had been heartened by the suggestion that Trump might pardon her husband, even after Obama, a member of Blagojevich's own party, had declined to do so.
This would be Mr Trump's fifth full pardon.
"I've always felt he was very unfairly treated", Trump said.
In April, Trump pardoned I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, an adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and obstructing justice. "The career prosecutors and agents did their job". Trump pardoned Kristian Mark Saucier, who was convicted of unauthorized retention of defense information after using his cellphone to take unauthorized photos aboard the nuclear submarine USS Alexandria.
Back in 2014, D'Souza plead guilty to using straw donors to make $20,000 in illegal campaign donations to a Republican candidate in a senate race.
D'Souza will be the latest in a string of high-profile recipients of pardons that Trump has offered since taking office.