More news: Trump pardons convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza

Well, Dinesh D’Souza has been given a “full Presidential pardon” by Trump (see below). As you may recall, D’Souza was indicted in 2012 for making $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions to a Republican senatorial candidate, Wendy Long from New York; the indictment also included making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. He pleaded guilty to one felony count of making straw contributions, and was sentenced to five years of probation, which included living in a supervised confinement center for eight months. He also had to pay a $30,000 fine.

This a federal and Presidential pardon, which means that D’Souza’s conviction remains on the record, although certain rights are restored, which can include, for felons like him, the right to vote and the restoration of the ability to own guns, run for office, and serve on juries. But he remains a convicted felon, and so you can always used those words before his name, as I did above.

As for the “unfair treatment” by the government, well, D’Souza pleaded guilty and saw no jail time. It’s not clear what “unfair” means—but of course it’s never clear what Trump means.

When I posted this picture, taken at the Ciudad de las Ideas meeting in Puebla, Mexico in 2009, I wrote, “I shook the hand that fondled Ann Coulter.”

64 Comments

  1. ploubere
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Not surprising anymore. Trump has zero respect for the rule of law and no interest in the public good. What’s depressing is how many people in this country agree with him.

  2. E.A. Blair
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I prefer blogger Tengrain’s name for him: Divorce D’Spousa.

  3. Roger
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Very simple explanation. He was treated unfairly by the government because the government caused him to give too much money to a candidate he liked because he didn’t like the other candidate who was a Democrat and part of the government.

  4. Posted May 31, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Capitalization again. Does Full Pardon really need to be capitalized? Maybe Trump really did write that letter to the teacher.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The Donald wants to keep his pardon power front and center — you know, in case Paul Manafort or Michael Cohen or All the other President’s Men might forget.

    As for Double D, couldn’t happen to a more repugnant twerp.

    • Mark R.
      Posted May 31, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Now there’s word that he might pardon Martha Stewart and Rod Blagojevich. Both happened to be on Celebrity Apprentice. He’s also pardoning people who did what he does. Pay to play, election tampering, violating campaign finance laws…he’s sending a message that these types of charges aren’t a big deal.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 31, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      I think he wants to bring attention to this specific crime too.

      One of the things Michael Cohen could be done for (re the $130K) is what D’Souza was convicted of. So Trump is saying, “make a deal to plead guilty on this (It’s too obvious you’re guilty anyway) if they let you off the other stuff, and I’ll pardon you.”

      Then Cohen has to find a way to get the pardon before the $hit hits the fan for Trump.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        Cohen’s problem is that he’s got big exposure under New York state law, too. (Under the US’s dual system, a federal pardon does not absolve one of state crimes.) He’s gonna flip on the Donald, is my guess. Then it’s Katy-bar-the-door on a statute-of-limitation’s worth of crimes at Trump Tower.

        A lot could depend on this Fall’s gubernatorial and AG races in NY. That Cuomo boy’s in a tough Democratic primary race with Miranda from Sex and the City — and, knowing the stakes, the GOP’s gonna throw a lotta support to Marcus Molinario, its presumptive nominee in the general.

        Preet Bharara, the former SDNY US Attorney that Trump fired, could wind up being the AG for NY. That oughta be interesting.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted June 1, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

          I agree about Cohen: a Trump pardon isn’t enough of an offer, and he will flip.

          I don’t know enough about the other yet to discuss it, but Preet Bahara as AG will be interesting. It worries me how political he’s become though. I know that’s normal there, but I’d like to see less ability for opposition politicians to cry foul on both sides. There are so many examples of egregious behaviour by GOP AGs, and I think the Dems should try and stick to the moral high ground, especially when it comes to the law. They mostly do, but it’s easy to over reach in the current environment.

  6. Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Here’s his Wikipedia entry:

    “Dinesh Joseph D’Souza (born April 25, 1961) is an Indian American right-wing political commentator, author, filmmaker, and convicted felon.”

    Maybe someone should change that to “convicted felon, recently pardoned by an unconvicted felon.”

  7. Rick Graham
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Now do Oscar Lopez Rivera, the Obama-pardoned traitor who ran a terrorist organization that orchestrated more than 100 bombings against the U.S.

    Or Chelsea Manning…

    • Rick Graham
      Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Rosie O’Donnell illegally exceeded campaign contribution limits to FIVE different Dem candidates using different addresses and variations of her name. No penalty.

      In D’Souza’s case, a felony charge was prosecutorial overreach by the scandal free Obama justice department.

      Also see: Lois Lerner (IRS).

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        Well, what about whataboutery?

        • Rick Graham
          Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          I prefer consistency rather than politicized justice.

          Don’t worry Ken only six and a half years left.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 31, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

            I’ll take all the action you wanna lay on that six-and-a-half-year proposition at even money.

            • Rick Graham
              Posted May 31, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

              I’m in.

              I recall you predicted he wouldn’t survive a year.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 31, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

                I never said that. My position has been clear and consistent that I doubt he will complete his first term. And I’m betting against his being around for Inauguration day 2021 (probably, given what a nasty and resentful prick he is, not even as a spectator, as all other living former presidents have done).

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 31, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

                Oh, and if you’re in, name your price. I’ll cover whatever you want to lay. If Jerry’s game, we can have him hold the stake.

        • Rick Graham
          Posted May 31, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

          The charge of “whataboutism” is just an Alinsky way to get me to unilaterally disarm.

          Apparently, ‘whataboutism” is a synonym for “pointing out hypocrisy”.

          • Posted May 31, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

            You’re not fooling anyone with the faux-outrage. Whataboutery is ignoring the point of a discussion and pretending that if other people did the same thing it absolves the malefactor at issue. No one is saying Obama (or any other president you don’t like) didn’t also make bad decisions. It’s about THIS president and THIS decision.

            Having said that, whataboutery is one of the least bad forms of intellectual dishonesty and sometimes can even be a salient point.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 31, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

            Whataboutery might’ve been a reasonable response if Jerry had asserted that D’Souza’s pardon was unprecedented, or that nothing like it had ever been granted by a Democrat, or that it was improper or just plain wrong. He asserted nothing of the sort.

            • Kiwi Dave
              Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

              PCC’s penultimate paragraph asks but does not answer what Trump meant by unfair government treatment.

              If Trump meant the politically motivated prosecution of some but not others by government agencies, then the what-aboutery to which you object is directly relevant to the post. Several posters see the pardon as evidence of Trump’s lawlessness, but the selective prosecution of D’Souza looks very much like evidence of government lawlessness which long preceded Trump.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 31, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

                The “lawlessness” at issue concerns Trump’s efforts to send a message to possible criminal co-conspirators not to cooperate against him. None of the other instances raised here by Mr. Graham involves anything remotely similar.

                It’s merely the typical right-wing whataboutery — what about Uranium One? What about Benghazi?! WHAT ABOUT HER EMAILS?!!!1!!

        • Craw
          Posted May 31, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          It’s not whataboutery. Think about what pattern you would see if there was selective prosecution. The very pattern he is adducing. Rosie’s case is *evidence*, so therefore it’s not whataboutery.

          • Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            O’Donnell’s been prosecuted? Already? Wow, talk about speedy trials.

            • Craw
              Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

              If you are saying there was selective prosecution then you would point at similar or more egregious cases and note the lack of prosecution, right? If Rosie had been prosecuted you could use that to refute Greg, right? You could say, see no selective stuff, right? The case of Rosie is evidence for his contention, and evidence is not whataboutery.

            • Posted May 31, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

              Nevamind. I misread you. Sorry.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            D’Souza pled guilty. If he believed his prosecution was politically motivate, he had a legal remedy — a motion to dismiss based on selective prosecution. He filed such a motion, and it was adjudged to be meritless, utterly devoid of evidentiary support. He could have preserved that issue for appellate review by going to trial — and, if he believed he was innocent, he should have.

            True it is that not every campaign finance law violation is investigated and prosecuted. It’s my understanding the government did not target D’Souza, but that he was fingered by the strawmen he’d put up to funneling his contributions NY senate candidate Wendy Long. When a case like that arrives at the US Attorney’s office on a silver platter, what are the feds supposed to do, ignore it?

            • Craw
              Posted May 31, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

              You have moved the goalposts. We are not discussing if the pardon was warranted, but if this is whataboutery.

              Without endorsing the pardon I want to address your logic as to legal remedies. Jack Johnson had those too. So did Sacco. The pardon power is intended in part to deal with failures of the system. If a pardon is granted citing a failure of the system, as in this case, it is no answer to say “the system decided against him” or to cite the conclusions of the system. Consider for example DNA exoneration decades later. A man cannot be released because the appeals process found against him?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 31, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

                Jack Johnson and Nicola Sacco both went to trial and both maintained their innocence till the day they died. Dinesh D’Souza, OTOH, entered a plea and confessed his guilt in open court. Unlike them, thus, he abandoned any claim of innocence, and, in so doing, abandoned his meritless claim to selective prosecution.

                No one here contends that Trump lacks the power to grant this pardon — a president’s pardon power is all but unlimited. The question that’s been raised here is whether Trump’s exercise of that power was done in an effort to convince others not to cooperate against him. How is it anything but “whataboutery” to respond to this by saying “well, Democrats granted some sketchy pardons, too!”

              • BJ
                Posted May 31, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

                You keep addressing whether or not D’Souza pleaded guilty, but that doesn’t seem to address the point Craw and others are making, which is that his very prosecution is evidence of politicized prosecution (in the context of others not being prosecuted). I’m not sure I agree, but I don’t feel like you’re addressing their point.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 31, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

                What evidence is there that D’Souza was the victim of “politicized prosecution,” BJ? D’Souza made a selective-prosecution motion in the district court; the judge found it to be meritless, utterly lacking in evidentiary support. D’Souza could have appealed that decision, had he taken the case to trial. He didn’t.

                Repeated the “politicized prosecution” incantation that’s emanated from the fever swamp is no substitute for evidence.

    • Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Rivera was NOT pardoned. He was given clemency. CLEMENCY. Look it up. It was first offered by President Clinton but Rivera rejected it.

      • Rick Graham
        Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        Oh. You’re right. That’s less awful.

        • Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

          It is. Glad you agree. You need to get your whataboutery straight if you wish to be taken seriously.

          BTW, I agree Obama should NOT have commuted this man’s sentence. Rivera never repudiated his terrorism and in fact that was the reason why he rejected Clinton’s offer – because that clemency was contingent on his repudiation.

      • Craw
        Posted May 31, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        This isn’t quite right. It is the same executive power vested in the president. That is the pardon power. Clemency is the usual term used. D’Souza was, if you read the WH announcement, granted “clemency”. What you mean was he was not granted a full pardon, full being the operative word, about which we have a thread here already. But Obama exercised his pardon power for Rivera, the same power Trump used.

        • Posted May 31, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          Now your playing with words. Since this is a legal argument, I suppose that’s appropriate.

          Clemency IS the legal term that describes both a pardon and a commutation (and other forms of relief). In practice though, clemency is not used to mean a pardon, it is used to mean commutation of a sentence.

          Graham claimed Rivera was pardoned – he wasn’t. His conviction was not vacated, his sentence was commuted – or in the common usage – he was granted clemency.

    • Harrison
      Posted May 31, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Commuting Manning’s sentence was a way of calling Julian Assange’s bluff that he would turn himself in to Swedish authorities for his outstanding crimes in that country.

      • Posted May 31, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        Maybe so, but Manning should still be in jail.

  8. Craw
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I believe you are in error. This is a full pardon, which I believe restores legal innocence. That is the rationale for posthumous pardons such as the recent one for Jack Johnson after all. Here is a link

    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Pardon

    • Craw
      Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Needless to say, if the pardon does restore his legal innocence that is an abuse. There is a colorable case he was singled out unfairly, but no case that he wasn’t guilty.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 31, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        Hell, he pleaded guilty, so there’s no colorable case that he’s not.

    • Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      You might be correct, but I checked on this before I posted. On the Department of Justice website you can find this:

      10. Effect of a pardon

      While a presidential pardon will restore various rights lost as a result of the pardoned offense and should lessen to some extent the stigma arising from a conviction, it will not erase or expunge the record of your conviction. Therefore, even if you are granted a pardon, you must still disclose your conviction on any form where such information is required, although you may also disclose the fact that you received a pardon. In addition, most civil disabilities attendant upon a federal felony conviction, such as loss of the right to vote and hold state public office, are imposed by state rather than federal law, and also may be removed by state action. Because the federal pardon process is exacting and may be more time-consuming than analogous state procedures, you may wish to consult with the appropriate authorities in the state of your residence regarding the procedures for restoring your state civil rights.

      Of course perhaps a FULL presidential pardon might differ from that, but I haven’t found out otherwise.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 31, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        I posted the analysis below before I refreshed my screen and saw this discussion.

        I note that Trump has yet to grant a pardon according to regular process and procedure, which involves an investigation and recommendation from the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney. He just tosses ’em off as whim and expediency dictate (pretty much the same way he does everything else).

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted May 31, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

          I’d love to work in the Office of the Pardon Attorney because every time someone asked me a question, I could answer it with, “Pardon?” And I’d never let it get old either.

          • Posted May 31, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

            😀

          • BJ
            Posted May 31, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

            I feel like you would quickly become unpopular in that office 🙂

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted May 31, 2018 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

              Worth it!

      • Craw
        Posted May 31, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        The FAQ may not be dispositive but it strongly supports your position.

        https://www.justice.gov/pardon/frequently-asked-questions. Question on expunging

  9. DrBrydon
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Welcome back to Gilded Age politics.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    … he remains a convicted felon, and so you can always used those words before his name …

    Not sure I agree with ya 100% on your legal analysis there, counselor. There seem to be three schools of legal thought on this matter.

    The first, based on the 19th century SCOTUS case Ex Parte Garland is that “a pardon obliterates both conviction and guilt which places the offender in a position as if he or she had not committed the offense in the first place.”

    The second, which prevailed in the interpretation of pardons granted after the Iran-Contra affair, is that the conviction is obliterated but guilt remains, since the pardon takes effect only if the recipient accepts it, thereby acknowledging guilt. (This is the interpretation Gerald Ford used to justify his pardon of Richard Nixon until the day he didn’t go to meet his non-maker.)

    The third is that neither conviction nor guilt is obliterated, only the civil disabilities that arise as a result of conviction. Don’t know if this one’s correct, but it’s the thought that makes me the warmest & fuzziest about Dinesh D’Souzaphone.

  11. Posted May 31, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    D’Souza? Were people clamoring for this?

    • Craw
      Posted May 31, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes. D’Souza is a quite unpleasant fellow IMO, but this does look like it was selective prosecution. See for instance Rick Graham’s comment above about Rosie.

      • josh
        Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        The Rosie O’Donnell stuff is an accusation about on-line donations by a right-leaning newspaper that came out this month. It shouldn’t need saying that it tells us nothing about selective prosecution at this stage: it’s not the same situation, we don’t know if there is actually a case, and it is too early to tell if any prosecution will be forthcoming.

        D’Souza, on the other hand, admitted to breaking the law, and was given probation and a fine. A judge stated “The court concludes the defendant has respectfully submitted no evidence he was selectively prosecuted.”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 31, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        In what way does it “look” like selective prosecution? D’Souza had his chance to produce evidence on this issue, and he adduced NONE. What evidence do you know about that D’Souza’s own lawyer missed?

        If you know of none, you ought not to say it; it’s just another conspiracy theory emanating from the fever swamp.

  12. Evan Plommer
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    And several other scoundrels this aft!

  13. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    On some panel discussion, Dinesh repeated a charge made by Ann in her book “Godless” that liberals “view abortion as a sacrament” (without attribution). What a pair.

    “Dinesh DSouza Ann Coulter” is an anagram for
    “Hazed Duo Sins on Real C-nt”. (Yes, I came up with that myself!)

  14. BJ
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    While I think this is a pretty gross abuse, I think a pardon like Clinton’s of Mark Rich is worse. I don’t think this even comes close to that level, as Rich’s ex-wife donated over $1 million combined to the Democratic Party, Hillary’s Senate campaign, and the Clinton Library Foundation. And obviously because Rich’s crimes were far worse and far more damaging to others. And because Clinton clearly knew it was wrong, which is why he waited until a few hours before leaving office to do it.

  15. Randy Bessinger
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    I know that those on the right do not watch The Rachel Maddow show but the first part was fascinating. Having lived through the Nixon Watergate affair, I never knew or heard that Haldeman made recordings after his meetings with Nixon. Over a year before he resigned, at Camp David when Nixon told him he was firing him, Nixon admitted it was all his doing and that he was going to have to resign. Later before the Senate hearings he told Haldeman that he, Erlickman and Mitchell woukd get pardons. Haldeman realized this coukd be an impeachable offense said don’t say it…don’t say it. That was never part of the articles but most say it would have been if they had known about it at the time. Makes you think. Listening to those tapes now reminds me of how I had arguments with my stauch conservative dad of whether Nixon had broken the law. His argument reminds me of today…the Democrats were always worse.

  16. Dave137
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Everytime I see Dinesh, I’m reminded of Hitch just wiping the floor with him.

  17. Diane G
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    sub


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