President Trump has been very selective when using his clemency powers. But whenever he does use them, the left is predictably outraged.
When Trump granted a full pardon to former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, they had a collective hissy fit. Never mind the fact that if there was ever a case where there was a miscarriage of justice, it was this one, and the pardon was long overdue when it was granted. Democrats want us to forget that Flynn was set up by the Obama administration and railroaded by the FBI. Simply put, they went after him for something that was not a crime, then set up a perjury trap for him in order to get him fired as Trump’s national security advisor. Obama officials also withheld exculpatory evidence, and launched and carried out a bogus investigation over claims of Russian collusion where there was no empirical evidence.
Trump’s pardon of Flynn shouldn’t even have been necessary. The case should have been dropped immediately after evidence presented by Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, showed that “corrupt agents” threatened Flynn’s son to pressure him into pleading guilty.
Nor should have Roger Stone’s newly granted pardon been necessary. It comes five months after Trump commuted Stone’s sentence—another act that had Democrats soiling their diapers. Trump granted 26 full pardons and commutations, including for former campaign chair Paul Manafort and Charles Kushner, his son-in-law Jared’s father.
And I couldn’t care less about the complaints Democrats have over any of them. To Democrats, justice is only served when their enemies are guilty. When Obama granted hundreds of pardons and commutations, they didn’t care. When Barack Obama pardoned retired Marine Corps general James E. Cartwright, who pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI, just days before leaving office in 2017, they didn’t even bat an eye. According to the New York Times, Cartwright had leaked classified information regarding Iran’s nuclear program to the media and lied to FBI officials investigating those leaks. He faced up to two years in prison before Obama pardoned him.
And then there’s Bradley “Chelsea” Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks. He was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Manning was a traitor in every sense, but became a hero of the political left for declaring himself to be transgender, and Obama commuted his sentence just days before leaving office. Obama was praised, and 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 and 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 don’t doubt that some people Obama granted clemency to legitimately deserved it. But no serious person believes that an unrepentant terrorist or a traitor responsible for the biggest national security breach in history deserved clemency of any form.
The left can moan and groan all they want. It doesn’t change the fact that they’ve tolerated and condoned the worst acts of clemency in recent memory.
Matt Margolis is the author of 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