The story at the link says that President Trump has been issuing or considering a number of “controversial” pardons, but I’m not sure I’d use that term to describe some of them. He pardoned Scooter Libby, who never should have charged with a crime in the first place. He had his career and reputation destroyed over the alleged leaking of Valerie Plame’s CIA status, which we now know he wasn’t responsible for; he just got caught in the all-too-common DC game of “If we can’t find an actual crime, we'll accuse you of trying to obstruct the investigation.”
This week, Trump pardoned conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who got eight months in a halfway house, five years’ probation, a felony record and a $30,000 fine for a campaign donation law violation that usually results in a fine. D’Souza, coincidentally, was best known for creating documentaries and books that were highly critical of the Obama Administration. His prosecutor, Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, pushed for him to get up to 16 months in a federal prison. I actually heard liberal pundits on cable news declare that they couldn’t think of anyone less deserving of a presidential pardon. Really? Google the names Marc Rich, Chelsea Manning and Oscar Lopez Rivera.
There’s also a rumor that Trump will pardon Martha Stewart to clear her record. Somehow, that’s also being spun as him helping out a celebrity pal, even though Stewart is a Democrat who backed Hillary Clinton and publicly disparaged Trump during the campaign.
Personally, I don’t know that Martha deserves a pardon or if it really matters to her, since she seems to have done pretty well rebuilding her life after her stint in the Big House. But this is the best argument for it I can think of:
I bet that if you surveyed Americans to ask why Martha Stewart went to prison, the #1 answer would be “insider trading,” probably followed by “making people feel guilty about their own tacky Christmas decorations.” But no, Stewart was actually prosecuted by then-US Attorney James Comey (déjà vu!) not for insider trading, which is what he was supposed to be investigating, but for “conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to federal investigators” (déjà vu all over again!) To put it more clearly, she was charged with lying to investigators because she claimed she was innocent of a crime she was never convicted of committing. I’m sorry, that might be even less clear.
When you add all that up, pardoning her might be hard for President Trump to resist.