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Pardon me? No really Pardon me…UPDATED

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Posted on April 13 2018

4/13/18 Update:

Maybe, just maybe you will understand that currently there’s zero laws on the books to require Trump or any President for that matter to EVER disclose who they have pardoned. Before I dive into that issue, let’s back up and go over the steps that all 44 previous presidents followed:


 Department of Justice

“Office of Pardon Attorney”


From their homepage:

  • ‘For over 125 years, the President has relied on the Department of Justice, and particularly the Office of the Pardon Attorney, for assistance in the exercise of the executive clemency power granted to the President by Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution.
  • Under the Constitution, the President’s clemency power extends only to federal criminal offenses. Executive clemency may take several forms, including pardon, commutation of sentence, remission of fine or restitution, or reprieve.
  • “All requests for executive clemency for federal offenses are directed to the Pardon Attorney for review, investigation, and preparation of the Department’s recommendation to the President, which is signed by the Deputy Attorney General, for the final dispositions of each application. The Office of the Pardon Attorney also prepares the documents the President signs when granting executive clemency and notifies all applicants of the President’s clemency decisions.”


Step 1 - subject must be found guilty of a federal crime.


Step 2  - identify which pardon is most applicable pursuant to the Justice Department’s Pardon Policies, 👉🏻DOJ LINK👈🏻




Step 3 - subject must  complete and submit the following form(s), to the DOJ Office of Pardon Attorney.


Step 4 - each “application” is thoroughly reviewed by DOJ Pardon office. During this step, the DOJ may request additional information/documentation from the subject. Upon a through review of the application and any supporting documentation the Office of Pardon Attorney will make a recommendation to the President. This particular “step” may take many months to complete.

 step 4 a - Pursuant to the United States Attorneys Manual

USAM CRM 👉🏻Link👈🏻
    • 1-2.110 - Office of the Pardon Attorney


    • 1-2.111 - Role of the United States Attorney in Clemency Matters


    • 1-2.112 - Standards for Considering Pardon Petitions


    • 1-2.113 - Standards for Considering Commutation Petitions


Step 5 - president either grants or denies pardon or clemency.




is the President REQUIRED to disclose pardon or clemency.



Both the House AND Senate are acutely aware of this particular “loophole” in our current statutes. Case in point on July 7, 2017 Rep Krishnamoorth and 36 other House members 👉🏻sponsored👈🏻 H.R. 3489

H.R.3489 - Presidential Pardon Transparency Act of 2017


There was/is considerable chatter and concern that Trump would pardon his family, staffers, close political surrogates in SECRET and none of us would know. Not to belabor the point: there are ZERO laws that require Trump (or ANY President) to disclose who they have pardoned. The aforementioned House Resolution has laid dormant since July 2017, see activity via this 👉🏻link  👈🏻


Now, ask yourself WHY would speaker Ryan refuse a floor vote on this HR???



Presidential Pardon…


Let’s rewind back to  2017, when Donald Trump (preemptively, my word) Pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio. At the time, there was a lot of legal “pundit’s” punditing going on during various cable news segments. What many overlooked was this  July  2017 Tweet , remember the White House has repeatedly stated Tweets are “official” Presidential Statements. So this tweet is an official statement?

At this Arizona “rally” per the Washington Post, Trump proclaimed:

“President Trump spoke about possibly pardoning former Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff Joe Arpaio during a rally in Phoenix on Aug. 22. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in July.”


August 25, 2017

In the midst of an actual freaking hurricane Trump issued a pardon to Sheriff Joe.

CNN carried it live 


All of us should have known or at least assumed this was Trump being Trump and like the megalomaniac that he is, he was testing his “powers”. The postmortem of this pardon was exasperated by the following facts:

  • Sheriff Arpaio had yet to be sentenced upon his conviction of Criinal Contempt of Court.
  • at no time did Sheriff Arpaio submit an application to the DOJ pardon and clemency division. (this matters).
  • the timing of Trump’s pardon was, suspect


And thus created a month’s long debate. Leading to a greater intellectual discussion of Presidential Pardons writ large. As a baseline this October 2017 White Paper by 3 venerable litigators and former public servants, more broadly discussed what, if any limitations are there to a Presidential Pardon. To read the full Brookings Instiutes Report

Link here Obstruction & Pardons

Ambassador Eisen does an excellent job of explaining the intracies and nuances of a Presidential Pardon. The reality is many Americans falsely assume Presidential Pardons are limitless, the fact is Presidential Pardons DO in fact have some limits.

See the video below

Amb Eisen Presidential Pardons 101

👉🏻link 👈🏻


Over the weekend I’ll post a far more thorough entry regarding Presidential Pardons. But given the NYTs article released earlier today, I figured I’d check the Department of Justice’s website as it relates to Pardons.

Incidentally there  has been a bit of Beltway chatter that Trump will move to fire Special Counsel Mueller while Members are out of DC for Spring Break. Hence the curious statement from Sens Tillis and Coons yesterday and the late night disclosure of Sen Blumenthal’s notice to the 5 DOJ Members in the line of succession.


But back to the point of this particular entry.

Trump and Pardons. I am surprised that the American MSM hasn’t really reported on the following Pardons & Commutations. For future reference I would bookmark the following Department of Justice weblink. Pardons Granted by Dotard Trump




Original FBI Press Release👇🏻





On March 19, 2018 Donald Trump granted Mr. Saucier a full and unconditional pardon.  

Link to the DOJ pdf of his pardon hereMarch 19, 2018 Presidential Pardon


Sholom Rubashkin


Link to DOJ Release here   Rubashkin Commutation Dec 2017


Offense: Bank fraud.

  •  18 U.S.C. §1344 (14 counts);
  • false statements and reports to a bank, 18 U.S.C. §1014 (24 counts);
  • wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1343 (14 counts);
  • mail fraud, 18 U.S.C. §1341 (nine counts);
  • money laundering and aiding and abetting,
  • 18 U.S.C. §1956 (10 counts);
  • willful violation of order of Secretary of Agriculture and aiding and abetting, 7 U.S.C. §§193 & 195 (15 counts) (Northern District of Iowa)


Link to the 2 Page Commutation here Commutation Dec 2017

I would argue that legal scholars should drill down on the original charges and think about these charges in the context of the current Special Counsel Mueller’s ongoing investigation. Trump maybe a lot of things, but he is not dumb. Well that’s kind of debatable but suffice to say I’m confident all of this is a “test run” for Trump.

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