One of the most common symptoms of the brain-wasting disease known as Trump Derangement Syndrome is how it targets and destroys the part of the brain responsible for long-term memories. This explains why, every time President Trump says or does anything, no matter how clearly it is within his powers as President, TDS victims fly into a rage and scream that it’s an “unprecedented abuse of power” and “no other President in history has ever done anything so outrageous!”
And so, when Trump announced that he was commuting the prison sentence of former campaign adviser Roger Stone, like clockwork, the howls erupted that no other President had ever committed such an outrageous abuse of clemency power, it was something that is “simply not done by American Presidents,” and it’s “the most corrupt and cronyistic act” in American history!!!!! (Is that enough exclamation points to capture their mood?)
As is usually the case in these situations, that’s hyperbolic nonsense. Even liberal law professor Jonathan Turley, who is no Trump fan and who believes that Stone should have merely received a new trial, reminded us in The Hill that Presidents have broad pardon powers and have used them in ways that infuriated their political enemies almost since the nation began. He says the claim of Trump’s action being unprecedentedly corrupt is “almost quaint.”
Turley looks back at American history (while we still have it), and cites similar pardon controversies, from Thomas Jefferson all the way up to Bill Clinton, who pardoned his brother, his Whitewater partner, and worst of all, financier Marc Rich, a major Democratic donor who was indicted on 65 criminal counts, including fraud, racketeering, tax evasion and illegal dealings with Iran. His companies pleaded guilty to 35 counts, but Rich himself went on the lam and spent years on the FBI’s 10 most-wanted fugitives list. He was living in Switzerland when Clinton pardoned him on his last day in office.
And since Prof. Turley observes the unwritten media rule of never saying a negative word about Barack Obama, it’s left to conservative media to remind us that Obama pardoned Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, a traitor who leaked a massive trove of sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks, and he commuted the 70-year sentence of Oscar Lopez Rivera, leader of the Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN, responsible for 130 terrorist attacks in the US and at least six deaths.
Makes Roger Stone look like pretty small potatoes, doesn't it?