Soon after it was announced that President Trump had commuted the prison sentence of Roger Stone, the outrage mob mobilized. Nancy Pelosi went on CNN to suggest that a law should be passed limiting the president’s clemency powers.
“There ought to be a law, and I’m recommending we pass a law that presidents cannot issue a pardon if the crime that the person is in jail for is one that is caused by protecting the president, which this was. It’s appalling,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Adam Schiff couldn’t help invoking the debunked Trump/Russia theory when he responded. “Stone lied and intimidated witnesses to hide Trump’s exploitation of the Russian hack of his opponent’s campaign,” he tweeted. “With Trump there are now two systems of justice in America: One for Trump’s criminal friends and one for everyone else.” Cory Booker echoed the same talking point in his own tweet, “There should not be two justice systems in the U.S.—we can and we must do better.”
This is hardly the first time Democrats have claimed to be outraged at Trump’s acts of clemency. Last year, President Trump granted full pardons for Army First Lt. Clint Lorance and Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, who’d been accused of war crimes for taking actions to defend themselves on the battlefield. Yet, when President Trump pardoned them, it immediately sparked controversy and outrage. Earlier this year, Trump commuted the sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, once again, sparking outrage from Democrats and calls for investigations.
But, these same people who pounced on Trump’s acts of clemency yawned and looked the other when Barack Obama commuted the sentence of terrorists and traitors.
Just before leaving office in 2017, Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Bradley Manning (you may also know him as Chelsea), who leaked hundreds of thousands of sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks. A traitor in every sense, in 2013 Manning was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison. But, Bradley Manning became a hero of the political left for declaring himself to be transgender, and Obama made his controversial commutation literally just days before leaving office. Manning maintains hero status amongst the left today.
Obama also commuted the sentence of convicted terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera, the leader of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña (FALN), a Puerto Rican terrorist group. FALN was responsible for 130 attacks in the United States, and at least six deaths. An unrepentant Lopez-Rivera was serving a 70-year sentence when Obama set him free. The Congressional Black Caucus had repeatedly lobbied for Lopez’s release during the Obama years, and the commutation was met with praise from Democrats like Bill de Blasio, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, Bernie Sanders, and others.
Obama also granted clemency to hundreds of drug offenders he claimed were non-violent offenders who deserved a second chance, because of racism or something. It later came out that many of the people he released were actually violent offenders guilty of gun crimes. Obama granted more acts of clemency than any president since Truman, though he saved much of that executive use of power for the latter months and days of his presidency.
I’m sure there were some individuals Obama granted clemency to who legitimately deserved it, but who in their right mind believes granting clemency to an unrepentant terrorist or a traitor responsible for the biggest national security breach in history was just?
Roger Stone was caught up in a bogus investigation over bogus allegations of Russian collusion, but Democrats would rather see him in jail than the leader of a terrorist group responsible for the deaths of American citizens. In Obama’s system of justice, all it takes to above the law is to claim to be a victim of racism, an unrepentant terrorist, or transgender.
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis