Mr, Manafort’s tax offenses are serious crimes, and that’s how a jury saw them. He and Mr. Stone, former business partners, have long been political scoundrels of the type Mr. Trump likes to have around him. But there’s no doubt they were targeted not for their specific offenses but because they associated with Mr. Trump. Prosecutors were out to get Mr. Trump—many of them still are—and they were happy to take down others in the hope they would have evidence against the President.
Yet the targeted men had nothing to offer beyond what prosecutors turned up from other sources. It was inevitable that Mr. Trump would pardon these former associates before he left office. If the good and righteous want to avoid political pardons, they should be more critical of political prosecutions.
These points don’t apply to the pardons for former GOP CongressmenDuncan Hunter and Chris Collins. Both men admitted to violating the public trust and at most deserved to have their sentences commuted, not to have their convictions expunged.