Donald Trump has pardoned his friends like Joe Arpaio and his supporters like Dinesh D’Souza. But to date, Trump has pardoned precisely zero of the people who have committed crimes at his instruction. There’s a reason for that: Trump isn’t willing to trigger a court challenge on whether he can pardon his own alleged co-conspirators, which could end up preventing him from ultimately pardoning himself and his family on the way out the door.
This brings us to the news that Donald Trump is so eager to get his mythical border wall built before the 2020 election heats us, he’s promised to pardon his underlings if they just happen to commit any crimes in the name of getting his wall built as quickly as possible. This is according to the Washington Post. Naturally, Trump is denying it on Twitter. Here’s the thing.
We have no doubt that this story is true. We’ve already seen Donald Trump famously dangle pardons at his campaign people like Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and Roger Stone, in an effort at convincing them not to flip on him. So of course he’s dangling pardons at anyone in his administration who’s willing to break laws on his behalf. But he’s proceeded to let all his campaign people rot. Manafort is dying in prison. Flynn and Stone are seeing their lives ripped apart by criminal proceedings.
Donald Trump was never going to pardon the campaign people who committed crimes on his behalf, because he’s not willing to stick his own neck out in order to save them. For that same reason, he’s never going to pardon anyone in his administration who commits crimes in the name of getting his stupid wall built. We’ll just have to see how many of them are gullible enough to believe that Trump actually means it when he dangles pardons.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report