President Donald Trump’s pardons may not just be limited to turkeys and former national security advisers.
Prior to the news that Trump oficially issued a full pardon for Michael Flynn, the New York Times reported that the White House is considering a “pardon blitz” before he leaves office:
Several groups that have pushed for a criminal justice overhaul are working with an ad hoc White House team under the direction of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, with a goal of announcing as many as hundreds of commutations for offenders now in jail for crimes ranging from nonviolent drug convictions to mail fraud and money laundering.
“Lists of people are being circulated,” said Brandon Sample, a Vermont lawyer who specializes in presidential pardons and has submitted several names of people to be considered. Among them is Russell Bradley Marks, 57, who has been imprisoned after pleading guilty in 1992 on a cocaine-related conviction for which he was given a mandatory life sentence.
In addition to the criminal justice cases, however, the Times notes some Trump associates including Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos have been angling for pardons, and the report raises the question of the president potentially pardoning itself.
And of course, there are others angling for pardons, including none other than Joe Exotic. And per the Times, the Tiger King’s people have tried:
His representatives have been running a carefully orchestrated campaign to try to persuade Mr. Trump to pardon Mr. Maldonado-Passage, who is one year into a 22-year sentence for trying to hire a hit man to kill an animal-rights activist.
They have focused on getting Mr. Trump’s attention through appeals to Donald Trump Jr. and Mr. Kushner, appearances on Fox News and a visit to the Trump International Hotel in Washington where, one organizer said, they ran up a tab of about $10,000 to try to get Mr. Trump’s attention.
One thing the Times report notes is that some people seeking pardons “were waiting to escalate their appeals until Mr. Trump conceded, or at least signaled that he had started to come to grips with the looming end of his presidency” because they don’t want to be seen “acknowledging a defeat that Mr. Trump has thus far refused to accept.”
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