LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trump using pardons for political purposes

I happen to specialize in pardons these days, and have learned much about their purpose, their consequences, and the process in various states over the past 12 years. Our president is misusing his power to pardon for political purposes, and in so doing he is doing nothing to inform the public about why so many more Applications for Pardons should be granted, and he is abusing his power.

There is a process for federal pardons, and, because the president can only pardon one for federal crimes, it is within the U.S. Department of Justice. That process is there for a reason: to try to ensure that those worthy of a pardon get one, and that those who are not do not.

Applications go to a special team of DOJ lawyers who hash out the many factors which properly should be considered, and they then make a recommendation to the president. I am familiar with the case of Dinesh D’Souza, who had pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud (one subject of the ongoing federal investigations about the president), and I doubt that any DOJ lawyer would have recommended a pardon for him!

Despite Trump’s claim that he was treated “horribly” and “unfairly”, he was not. His was a “run of the mill” DOJ prosecution for a crime he committed, admitted and about which his lawyer told the judge “We have no defense to offer”! If Trump really was interested in pardoning those treated unfairly by the justice system, he would be pardoning thousands! I am working on two cases now where the actually innocent were convicted — the system has thousands upon thousands of cases where people can and should be pardoned; Trump must be kidding – or is he lying!

The founding fathers even cautioned us about this misuse of presidential pardon power.

What we are seeing now is a president under investigation, telling innumerable lies as he tries to justify the pardons he has been granting, and he is granting those pardons to try to send the message to people who might testify against him that they do not need to do so because he will pardon them, thus trying to deprive the special prosecutor, and any other prosecutors, of a very powerful tool used in the course of their quests for the truth.

Every day prosecutors offer leniency to criminal defendants in order to hold accountable “bigger fish” or others who might need to be convicted. Despite the recently revealed claims that the president cannot be indicted or prosecuted (utter nonsense), the president is just trying to save his own skin, and that is an abuse of power and, as some legal scholars have suggested, another step to obstruct justice.

All citizens should protest such conduct.

Ken Abraham
Former Delaware deputy attorney general

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