President Trump’s pardon of conservative provocateur Dinesh D’Souza has provoked rapture and outrage in equal measure from political junkies — which is probably part of the point. Pardoning D’Souza thrills Trump’s base, which sees it as a thumb in the eye of liberals.
D’Souza, a now-triumphant member of that base, reprised his familiar theme that he was targeted by “Obama & his stooges.” Trump, equally true to form, proclaimed that D’Souza ”was treated very unfairly by our government.” And then, clearly feeling his oats, Trump further suggested he might pardon media mogul Martha Stewart and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
It is true, as any federal criminal defense attorney will tell you, federal investigators and prosecutors do abuse their power all the time, including in high-profile cases. On the rare occasions that they face consequences, it’s big news. This week, for instance, federal prosecutors were forced to drop rioting charges against seven people who protested at President Trump’s inauguration when the court found that they had wrongfully withheld potentially exculpatory videos. In January, federal judge in Nevada dismissed charges against anti-government activist Cliven Bundy and his family for what she called “flagrant misconduct” by prosecutors in withholding evidence.