Trump’s Celebrity Pardons

Trump's Celebrity Pardons

U.S. President and reality show host Donald Trump ramped up the “wow!” factor on the latest episode of Celebrity White House yesterday with a presidential pardon for confessed federal felon Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative trollTwitter abuser, conspiracy theoristadulterer, and Christian college official who admitted to making illegal campaign contributions. Ted Cruz is “positively gleeful.”

Mr. Trump, who prefers to govern by fiat, discovered his federal pardon power when he sprang racist Joe Arpaio from the pokey, pardoned perjurer Scooter Libby, and pardoned Sly Stallone’s pal Jack Johnson, “a person that, when people got to know him, they really liked him,” as the president put it. The chief executive is also eyeing relief for federal felons and former Celebrity Apprentice stars Martha Stewart and Rod Blagojevich.

Donald Trump isn’t all that interested in celebrity justice; he’s sending a message to his indicted collaborators Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, and Paul Manafort that he can bust them out of prison with the stroke of a pen if they keep mum.


“Trump Pardons Flame-Throwing Defender of Hitler, Hints His Next Pardon May Go to Martha Stewart,” Diane Herbst, People

“Friends in high places: How Trump uses the power of the pardon,” Jonathan Allen, NBC News

“Why Trump should leave Blagojevich in prison,” Chicago Tribune editorial

“Trump may be using pardons to send message to Manafort, Cohen,” Max Jaeger, New York Post

“Trump ally Roger Stone admits Trump’s D’Souza pardon is ‘a signal to Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort,” Peter Weber, The Week

“Trump disparaged pardons in the past. He’s been generous with them as president.” JM Rieger, Washington Post

“Trump Is Weaponizing Pardons,” David A. Graham, The Atlantic

“How to get a pardon from President Trump,” Philip Bump, Washington Post


“Trump grants clemency to woman after Kim Kardashian pressed her case: report,” Luis Sanchez, The Hill

“Trump Reviewing 3,000 Pardons, Including Muhammad Ali,” Nicole Lafond, TPM Livewire

“The Pardon Game”: Trump’s Celebrity Edition, Mike Allen, Axios


“The Pardon Power Can Be Used to Obstruct Justice. Just Ask Richard Nixon.” James D. Robenalt, History News Network.

“This overlooked part of the Constitution could stop Trump from abusing his pardon power,”  Jed Shugerman and Ethan J. Leib, Washington Post

“Trump Is Probing the Constitution for Weaknesses, and Finding Them,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“If Trump Pardons, It Could Be a Crime,” Daniel Hemel and Eric Posner, New York Times



Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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