Now that Donald Trump has begun attempting to pardon his criminal co-conspirators, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t mean he’s now suddenly winning. Instead it’s the latest reminder that he lost, that he’s been defeated, that he’s now earmarked for prison and bankruptcy, and that he’s forced to use his remaining time in office to try to give himself a slightly softer landing when it comes to prison and bankruptcy.
Put another way: why did Trump wait until now to pardon Michael Flynn? He’s clearly wanted to do it for the past four years. He waited until now because it’s the kind of move that sends a clear signal that his presidency is over. It’s why he didn’t do it immediately after the election; he waited until he knew he could no longer milk the fantasy that he was somehow going to overturn the results.
Also keep in mind that while pardoning Flynn may keep him from cutting a plea deal against Trump, or leaking whatever criminal dirt he has on Trump, it doesn’t mean that Trump is now magically out of the woods. Trump is in the process of being indicted on financial crimes in New York State, and those charges don’t require eye witnesses; the financial records are all the proof that a jury ever needs on those kinds of charges.
In short, Donald Trump’s life is over. Realistically his life ended the day he took office, because the spotlight of the presidency was always going to expose his every last crime, and he was never going to perform on the job in a way that gave him a shot a reelection, meaning he was always going to prison in 2021. Now that he’s lost the election, it’s really, truly over for him. These pardons don’t somehow turn things around for him. They’re just another last gasp from a man whose world has been canceled and is caving in on him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report