A Note About Manafort and Another Thing Republicans are Fucking Up

As Adam noted below, Manafort was indicted on a number of charges by the Manhattan DA, including several counts of “Don’t Even Think About Pardoning Him You, Shitheel.” Which gets me to my point, which is that the pardon is a good thing, it is not used nearly enough considering how flawed our justice system is, Presidents should issue far more pardons and commutations, and Republicans keep fucking things up by using it to pardon assholes like Scooter Libby and Nixon and Arpaio and D’Souza and other scumbags. Obama, imho, issued far too few pardons, because there are a lot of people out there who deserve them.

Trump did use the pardon correctly, however, when he pardoned Alice Marie Johnson. But here’s the thing- she is not a one off, as there are a large number of people who deserve this.

62 replies
  1. 1
    Steeplejack says:

    As marijuana moves toward being legal everywhere, I wonder whether there will be a movement for a mass amnesty for everybody still serving time for marijuana possession. Seems like there should be, but I haven’t seen anything. Maybe I need to check at HighTimes.com.

    (Even as I write that I get the feeling that High Times is probably the Penthouse magazine of dope sites and there are fresher, millennial-friendly, “artisanal” sites around somewhere.)

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  2. 2

    Pardons remain one of the more questionable powers a President has. It all depends on the temperament of the President and the times in which he serves.

    The problem with it is when the President uses it for personal reasons, even indirectly: Bush the Elder pardoned a bunch of major players in the Iran-Contra scandal, which effectively ended any further investigation into it (because it could have indicted *him* later on). Bill Clinton pardoned FALN Puerto Rican revolutionaries in opposition to his own Dept. of Jusitce for what may have been political quid-pro-quo, and on his last day pardoned various persons with ties to his election campaigns (as well as Whitewater player Susan MacDougal). Dubya commuted Scooter Libby just as his *sentencing* was getting set. So the power of pardons can be abused in various ways.

    trump makes this more dangerous than ever before. Someone who *came into office* surrounded by crooks and having one after the other face conviction, plea deals, and jail time. There’s even serious debate if trump has the power to pardon himself if he faces indictment. We’re at the moment now where our legal system should encourage more pardons – especially non-violent convictions in the war on drugs (because all we’re doing there is turning people into more hardened criminals) – but it should be geared towards people who have no connections at all to the President who issues them.

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  3. 3
    ruemara says:

    You’re not wrong. THe thing is, I believe this is precisely why the GOP does what it does. It discredits democracy, while reserving it’s benefits for people they like.

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  4. 4
    Wapiti says:

    @Steeplejack: Seattle already did this for the misdemeanor cases (they don’t do felony cases). Gov. Inslee has signaled that he wants to pardon 3500 past convictions at the state level.

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  5. 5
    Brachiator says:

    Obama, imho, issued far too few pardons, because there are a lot of people out there who deserve them.

    Putting it into perspective.

    Obama used clemency power more often than any president since Truman

    Barack Obama ended his presidency having granted clemency to more people convicted of federal crimes than any chief executive in 64 years. But he also received far more requests for clemency than any U.S. president on record, largely as a result of an initiative set up by his administration to shorten prison terms for nonviolent federal inmates convicted of drug crimes.

    Overall, Obama granted clemency to 1,927 individuals, a figure that includes 1,715 commutations and 212 pardons. That’s the highest total for any president since Harry S. Truman, who granted clemency 2,044 times – including 1,913 pardons, 118 commutations and 13 remissions – during his nearly eight years in office….

    In short, the story notes, Obama received such a large number of clemency requests in part because his administration asked for them.

    I also appreciate what California Governor Newsom has done:

    Gov. Gavin Newsom put a moratorium on the death penalty in California on Wednesday, sparing the lives of more than 700 death-row inmates.

    Saying the death penalty is “ineffective, irreversible and immoral,” he signed an executive order granting reprieves to all 737 Californians awaiting executions – a quarter of the country’s death row inmates.

    His action comes three years after California voters rejected an initiative to end the death penalty, instead passing a measure to speed up executions.

    Again, maybe not enough, but a step in the right direction.

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  6. 6
    chopper says:

    actually, trump commuted johnson’s sentence. sounds like splitting hairs, but having that conviction still on your record is a big deal in terms of employment, voting rights, etc.

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  7. 7
    chopper says:

    @chopper: ‘

    of course d’souza and arpaio get full-on pardons. because this shitty world sucks.

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  8. 8
    Brachiator says:

    @PaulWartenberg:

    Pardons remain one of the more questionable powers a President has.

    The writers of the Constitution gave the president a power associated with monarchs, but I am fine with it. There is sometimes an tension that cannot be resolved between law and justice, and you must allow for mercy.

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  9. 9
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Michael Issikoff was giving some ‘context’ today to point out that presidents usually issue pardons in their lame duck period. Bill Clenis I mean Clinton pardoned Marc Rich and Susan MacDougal, said “Glory Days” Issikoff. No mention of Cap Weinberger.

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  10. 10
    MattF says:

    @Brachiator: The basic dilemma is that the US President is both chief executive and head of state– the pardoning power comes with being head of state. In most constitutional systems, the two roles are separated, and for good reasons. But– here in the US– if the president doesn’t have that power, who would?

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  11. 11
    germy says:

    As president I will continue to fight to legalize marijuana, but we should go further—we need to expunge records and reinvest in communities most hurt by the failed drug war. Let's focus on restorative justice, not just ending the prohibition on marijuana. https://t.co/36h5edxu1D— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) March 12, 2019

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  12. 12
    jl says:

    A cynical person might be excused for thinking Trump pardoned Johnson because he could get a big photo op out of it that would go national with Kim Kardashian, who was pushing it. Maybe Kardashian should get primary props for that.

    Not saying I am a cynical person, but… if there were any Trumpster interest behind that kind of pardon, it wouldn’t be the only one or two, with celebs being the real brains and guts behind them.

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  13. 13
    jl says:

    @MattF: Amend the Constitution to create the office of National Figurehead.
    Trump would prob never have bothered to run for president if an office like that had been available.

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  14. 14
    tobie says:

    @ruemara:

    It discredits democracy, while reserving it’s benefits for people they like.

    That is so chiseled and precise that it’s like a mathematical formula. Hat tip to you.

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  15. 15
    germy says:

    Onion Headline:


    Religious Conservatives Argue Adam And Eve Would Never Have Been Banished From Eden If They’d Had Guns

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    WaterGirl says:

    @germy: Stand your ground, dammit!

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    Gin & Tonic says:

    @WaterGirl: In all the pictures I’ve seen they had no clothes, so concealed carry wasn’t possible.

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    randy khan says:

    Even the Johnson pardon came about not because Trump understood the systemic issues (as if!), but because of a personal plea from a celebrity. Trump more or less uses the pardon power because he can and to make himself feel powerful, not as a way to address injustices in the system or to recognize people who have turned their lives around.

    BTW, typical Obama to set up a process to achieve a goal, work the process, and then implement it. It seems so . . . alien nowadays.

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  19. 19
    rikyrah says:

    @ruemara:

    You’re not wrong. THe thing is, I believe this is precisely why the GOP does what it does. It discredits democracy, while reserving it’s benefits for people they like

    That is who they are.
    They don’t believe in little ‘ d’ democracy. Never have.

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  20. 20

    @Gin & Tonic: Open carry is better anyway. Scares off those liberal snakes.

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  21. 21
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gin & Tonic: You must be looking at the wrong Instagram account. :-)

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  22. 22
    Doug R says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    In all the pictures I’ve seen they had no clothes, so concealed carry wasn’t possible.

    Oh yeah?
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/09/08/woman-pistol-vagina-charged-unlawful-carry/71899282/

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  23. 23
    ruemara says:

    @Doug R: It’s too early for this fuckery. 100 years from now, it will still be too early for this fuckery.

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  25. 25
    Miss Bianca says:

    @germy: OK, that may be my new favorite “Onion” headline…

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    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Obama, imho, issued far too few pardons,

    President Obama has now commuted the sentences of 1,385 individuals – the most grants of commutation issued by any President in this nation’s history. President Obama’s 1,385 commutation grants – which includes 504 life sentences – is also more than the total number of commutations issued by the past 12 presidents combined.

    Commutations by President:

    Obama………..1385

    Bush Jr…………….11

    Clinton…………….61

    Bush Sr…………….3

    Reagan…………..13

    Carter……………..29

    Ford………………..22

    Nixon………………60

    LBJ………………..226

    JFK………………..100

    Ike…………………..47

    Truman…………118

    Roosevelt……..488

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  27. 27
    rikyrah says:

    😠😠😠
    The Nakamoto Group, hired by ICE to do inspections, rarely reports on serious violations—identified by @DHSOIG—at immigrant detention centers.

    Consequently, Congress & other policy makers may have a misleading picture of the true state of detention: https://t.co/YyWJ7852L9

    — Project On Government Oversight (@POGOBlog) March 13, 2019

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  28. 28
    rikyrah says:

    See,

    It’s all gonna come out🤔🤔

    A new detail here: Canada’s abrupt decision to ban the 737 MAX this morning came hours after viewing detailed data that was provided to the FAA two days ago https://t.co/4SXNGTozbL

    — Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) March 13, 2019

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  29. 29
    rikyrah says:

    Donald Trump: I’m not grounding these defective Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 planes, because the CEO of Boeing keeps donating money to me

    New York state: We just killed Paul Manafort

    Donald Trump: Okay, I’m grounding the planes as a distraction

    — Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) March 13, 2019

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  30. 30
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @JC: @Doug R: You guys are on the list now.

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  31. 31
    Kdaug says:

    Know what? The sun is shining, the dog is sleeping, birds are chirping, and I’m going to leave theae shitstorms up to you jackals while I take a nap.

    Try to have a habitable planet when I wake up

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  32. 32
    Aleta says:

    Quotes from Judge ABJ’s sentencing (Andrew Prokop @awprokop)

    ABJ: “It is hard to overstate the number of lies and the amount of fraud and the extraordinary amount of money involved.”


    ABJ: “The defendant hid the proceeds of his int’l lobbying work from the United States, from the American people” — “cheated the US Treasury out of over $6 million.”


    ABJ: This isn’t just a regulatory matter, as defense claims. “He was hiding the truth of who he represented from policymakers and the public.”


    ABJ: “What you were doing, was LYING to members of Congress and the American public.” (Re: Habsburg group, other lobbying efforts in US)


    ABJ says the defense keeps saying Manafort wouldn’t have been prosecuted if Mueller wasn’t appointed. She doesn’t buy it. Points out DOJ was looking into him beforehand.


    ABJ: “The dissembling in this courtroom began with the bond proceedings and it never abated.”




    ABJ: Since the plea deal, “He’s begun to minimize his conduct, and to shield others, in ways that I have found intentionally false.”


    ABJ: It’s also problematical that what he had to say about others became less incriminating after the proffers, after the plea. Was he spinning the facts beforehand to get a good deal? Or after, to protect others? We don’t know.


    ABJ says she appreciates Manafort’s comments this morning. But prior to this morning, the entire import of his comments were “look what they’ve done to me,” without remorse.

    And comments today seemed prompted by Judge Ellis’s statements last week (about Manafort not apologizing)


    ABJ: “Saying I’m sorry I got caught is not an inspiring plea for leniency.”


    ABJ: “It’s not particularly persuasive to argue that an investigation hasn’t found anything when you lied to the investigators”

    

ABJ is very annoyed with Manafort and his team constantly repeating he was in “solitary” confinement. Says it’s just more spin, attempt to mislead the public about his conditions

    ABJ re: Manafort’s gout claims — Not contesting it, but “not one doctor’s letter or medical letter has been given to me, so I don’t know what to make of it.”


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  33. 33
    raven says:

    @Steeplejack: It was originally a publication done by some friends from Urbana. I don’t know if they are still involved or not.

    ReplyReply
  34. 34
    WaterGirl says:

    @Miss Bianca: I don’t know, I don’t see how anything can top the “why do all these guys keep sucking my dick” headline.

    ReplyReply
  35. 35
    MattF says:

    …and Trump rejects the Senate ‘compromise’ on emergency powers. And loses another Republican Senate vote.

    ReplyReply
  36. 36
    WaterGirl says:

    @MattF: He truly has mastered the Art of the Deal! But only if it’s Opposite Day.

    ReplyReply
  37. 37
    Aleta says:

    They try every trick and lie they can think of, playing the odds that some of it will get through. It’s not just legal strategy for the wealthy, it’s political strategy and election and vote prevention strategy. The strategy of corruption, for developers, polluters, Wells Fargo, health insurance companies.

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  38. 38
    rikyrah says:

    Uh huh 😒

    Nadler: “Unlike in the hearing room, Whitaker did not deny that the president told him to discuss the Michael Cohen case and personnel decisions in the Southern District.”

    — Nicholas Fandos (@npfandos) March 13, 2019

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  39. 39

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:
    Obama may have issued more pardons than every other president since FDR and still not granted enough. FWIW, though, this includes only pardons for people who were convicted. It leaves out things like Jimmy Carter’s blanket pardon of Vietnam era draft dodgers, which was IMO an example of a very good use of the pardon.

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  40. 40
    Kay says:

    This Yang 2020 site is just wild.

    Look at all the policies!

    My 16 year old texted me about him. I said “is he the UBI guy?” Well, yes! But there’s more….

    ReplyReply
  41. 41
    Kay says:

    American Mall Act

    He has a plan for literally everything.

    ReplyReply
  42. 42

    @WaterGirl:
    “Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My Cock?” isn’t the best Onion headline. That would go to “Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'”.

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  44. 44
    trollhattan says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Followed VERY closely by

    After Obama Victory, Shrieking White-Hot Sphere Of Pure Rage Early GOP Front-Runner For 2016

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  45. 45
    Mary G says:

    @Kay: “Every Cop Gets a Camera” is my favorite. I guess I will send him a dollar or two to get into the debates.

    ReplyReply
  46. 46
    WaterGirl says:

    @Roger Moore: In my dreams, the next Democratic president pardons all illegal immigrants who haven’t committed violent crimes. Real crimes, not the bullshit they get them for now with ICE.

    ReplyReply
  47. 47
    hueyplong says:

    @trollhattan: “Sphere” makes what became Trump sound too svelt, but otherwise it’s a great headline.

    ReplyReply
  48. 48
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: Know him? No. Think I’ve seen him around, yes. I had no idea that started here!

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  49. 49
    raven says:

    @WaterGirl: He died years ago but he was one of my oldest pals. President of the UHS class of 68.

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  50. 50
    WaterGirl says:

    @Roger Moore: That’s my #2!

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  51. 51
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: My picture of him is that he was a happy guy.

    ReplyReply
  52. 52
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yes. That will never be topped.

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  53. 53
    Raven says:

    @WaterGirl: He was really brilliant and a great athlete. He was doing what he wanted to with the pro-weed movement but I always thought he had more to offer. His sister worked for Janet Reno at justice and, one day, she called his sis in and said “Is Jim your brother”? Sis was freaked until Reno pulled out a copy of the mag and asked here to get it autographed!

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  54. 54
    R-Jud says:

    @Roger Moore: I like the elegance of “Supreme Court Rules Supreme Court Rules”.

    ReplyReply
  55. 55
    WaterGirl says:

    @Raven: What a great story!

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  56. 56
    Kraux Pas says:

    @trollhattan:

    After Obama Victory, Shrieking White-Hot Sphere Of Pure Rage Early GOP Front-Runner For 2016

    It rode that early front-runner status to the presidency. But who would have known it was working the earth for 70 years prior? thought it would have been longer…

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  57. 57
    Raven says:

    @WaterGirl: There will be a memorial at the Esquire June 22 for my buddy who died yesterday. I expect there will be some serious yarns wove at that!

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  58. 58
    J R in WV says:

    Regarding those quotes from Judge Jackson in the sentencing hearing for Manafort…

    She specifically said (IIRC) that Manafort clearly was proven to have colluded with the Russians (Konstantin Kilimnik to be really specific!) when he handed over Trump’s polling metadata. Which no Republican is ever going to mention or recall, ever Never!

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  59. 59
    WaterGirl says:

    @Raven: That’s a good choice for location. I take it you won’t be there?

    ReplyReply
  60. 60
    Raven says:

    @WaterGirl: I don’t think so, it’s hard to get up there anymore.

    ReplyReply
  61. 61
    WaterGirl says:

    @Raven: Yeah, I get that.

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  62. 62
    Mnemosyne says:

    I know it drives defense lawyers nuts when people say that we should be giving rich white actresses punishments in line with the ones that poor black drug dealers got for similar crimes, but there’s an easy way to fix that: grant pardons to the non-white/non-rich people who got sentences that were way too harsh.

    Until then, though, we all know that Laughlin and Huffman are going to get slaps on the wrist while a Black mother continues her FIVE YEAR PRISON SENTENCE for using her babysitter’s address to send her first grader to a better school.

    ReplyReply

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