Trump allies don’t see “three-dimensional chess” in Dinesh D’Souza’s pardon

President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was pardoning far-right commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to campaign finance fraud, caught many in Trump world by surprise Thursday morning, but they insisted it was not indicative of possible pardons for Trump allies ensnared in the Russia probe.

D’Souza isn’t that well-known of a figure among Trump’s base of supporters, leaving many confused about the reasoning behind the pardon, especially since it came at the same time the White House announced major new tariffs, several sources close to the administration told BuzzFeed News — most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. D’Souza met with former White House advisers Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka last year and tweeted photos with the two, as he distributed signed copies of his book to senior staff.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s outside counsel, told BuzzFeed News in an interview that the president told him about his decision to pardon D’Souza Wednesday night, adding he does not know who recommended the pardon to Trump.