Trump Loads the Pardon Cannon for His Last Big Move, and Things Could Get Interesting

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The Daily Caller is reporting that President Trump is getting ready to unleash a spate of pardons tomorrow, which will be his last full day in office. Some of this is tied to his push for criminal justice reform throughout this presidency. Others may be of a more specialized variety.

President Donald Trump will spend Tuesday, his last full day in office, issuing at least 100 pardons and commutations, according to multiple reports.

The White House finalized the list of pardons and commutations during a Sunday meeting with the president, his daughter Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and other aides, according to The Washington Post. The full batch of clemency actions reportedly includes white-collar criminals and well-known rappers, but a pardon for Trump himself is not expected.

As noted, Trump is not expected to pardon himself, nor would there be any reason to. He hasn’t done anything in need of a pardon. Further, any investigations that could ensnare him are at the state level via highly partisan prosecutors (such as in New York). A pardon at the federal level wouldn’t help in that situation anyway. But the media are obsessed with the idea of a self-pardon because they would see it as confirmation of all the worst things they’ve claimed about Trump over the years.

Of course, the real question revolves around some of the bigger name pardons that may or may not come. Is Trump going to stick his finger in the eye of the bureaucracy one last time by pardoning Julian Assange? If he did, would Assange then spill the beans on things he’s been holding back? I don’t know. I’m split on it. I don’t think Assange is a good guy or that he has the best motives, but I struggle to find many differences between what he’s done and an outlet like The New York Times, for example. The latter leaked classified information on an Israeli spy and illegally released Trump’s tax returns, just to name a few of their transgressions. Why were they not prosecuted if that’s the standard? Assange has never been shown to be a “hacker.” He’s a middle man, which is exactly what the Times has operated as (although I find it hard to believe they didn’t pay money for some of the stuff they’ve leaked).

Just because you don’t like someone, Assange in this case, doesn’t mean we should have two separate systems of justice. I believe the case for not pardoning Edward Snowden is more open and shut. He directly obtained and leaked classified information. You can’t let that go.

Those are the two big names people are wondering about in regards to pardons, but there may be some other surprises thrown in. Perhaps Trump business associates who have been targeted? Things could certainly get interesting as the day goes on tomorrow.

(Please follow me on Twitter…@bonchieredstate)