Pardon Me?

President Trump is thinking about pardoning some people before leaving office in January. That’s not unusual. What is unusual is that some of them are family members and the pardons are preemptive (Vanity Fair). He is also considering preemptive pardons for Rudy Guiliani and himself. By preemptive it is meant he is going to pardon them before they go to trial. Currently Guiliani, Don Jr, Ivanka and Eric Trump are all under investigation for various offenses. Those investigations aren’t going to be finished before February. If the investigators file his family won’t end up in court until Biden is the president. Can he do this? There’s some debate but it may be possible. Can he preemptively pardon himself? Dunno.

Trump has made some pardons. Here’s a list from Wikipedia and another from the Department of Justice. Most of them, and the one’s he’s now considering, are close associates. The problem is it’s going to look like the Big T has surrounded himself with criminals. Factually he kinda has, albeit not necessarily on purpose.

Capt McCoy is here to save the day! The best way to fix this mess is to add some pardons that people will pay more attention to. There are plenty of people in prison for more political than criminal reasons.

Julian Assange

Mr Assange is best known as the founder of WIkileaks. He has been charged by the United States for violating the Espionage Act of 1917. Leaders of press organizations and editors from The Washington Post and The New York Times have criticized the charges. He is currently being held in prison in the UK pending extradition hearings. Most of the information he leaked reveal illegal government activity. Trump has been considering a pardon for Assange. He did after all dump the Democrats hacked emails in 2016.

Leonard Peltier

Mr. Peltier of the Turtle Mountain Chipewa has been sitting in prison since 1977. He was convicted of the murder of two FBI agents during a shootout at the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975. He was a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM). After pursuing a red pickup onto the reservation and getting in a shootout with the occupants, the two agents were killed. The conviction of Peltier relied on a witness who claimed to be his girlfriend, later declared mentally incompetent. It turns out she didn’t know him at all. Peltier’s vehicle was an orange and white suburban. The FBI’s reexamination of the casings from the scene shows no match to Peltier’s weapon. Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Amnesty International all believe(d) Peltier should be pardoned.

Edward Snowden

Snowden was a subcontractor for the NSA who became concerned about the mass surveillance programs he was working on. In 2013 he gathered data on several surveillance programs the NSA was involved in with the collusion of telecommunication companies and other nations. The Five Eyes Program is one of these operations. He leaked the information to several journalists and was charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917. He left the country and sought refuge in the Russian Federation where he has been granted permanent residency. On September 2, 2020, a U.S. federal court ruled that U.S. intelligence’s mass surveillance program, exposed by Edward Snowden, was illegal and possibly unconstitutional (Reuter’s). This guy is a patriot, not a spy for a foreign power. The Espionage Act of 1917 was about World War I. It was not intended to be used against a heroic stand against anti American fascist surveillance programs.

Mumia Abul-Jamal

Abul-Jamal was a former Black Panther member. He left the party and became a radio news commentator. He served as president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. His coverage of racial issues and the group MOVE led to the radio station WHYY to ask for his resignation in 1981. He was convicted in the 1981 killing of a police officer and sentenced to death. His sentence was overturned in 2011. He had been shot and was taken to the hospital. A nurse testified he had said “I shot the MF and I hope he dies.” The doctor who saw him said later he was in and out of consciousness from loss of blood. Other witnesses later recanted their testimony. Police testimony about his weapon having been discharged was not backed up with forensic evidence. There is also a confession to the murder of the same officer by a man named Arnold Beverly. Abul-Jamal is a prolific writer and speaker. He is a honorary citizen of Paris, Montreal and Palermo. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have expressed concern about the impartiality of his conviction.

If Trump pardons these guys he’ll be doing the country a favor and no one will notice his family or lawyer slipping out the back. C’mon T, let’s do this!