Thursday, November 10, 2016

Obama. Pardons. Hillary. O'Reilly.

In response to what the Editor believes has been an awful lot of very poor writing / reporting / commentary over the last 24 hours, the following thoughts are offered:

President Obama has granted a total of 70 pardons. That's the lowest number for any two term president since George Washington.

While it is apparent that the President will be granting additional commutations of sentence (especially for drug offenders), there is little to suggest that pardons are anywhere on his agenda between now and the end of the term.

To date, the President has not granted a single pardon or commutation of sentence that could be reasonably be categorized as "political" or "controversial" in the normal sense of the language. Every grant has gone to an applicant. Every application has been vetted by the DOJ and some (CP14's lawyers now being part of the process). No recipient has by-passed the process. To date, there is not a trace of donors, friends, family members or partisan hacks in the mix of over 1,000 clemency recipients. The President said, in an August press conference:
... Our focus really has been on people who we think were overcharged and people who we do not believe have a propensity towards violence. And in terms of your last question about sort of last-minute pardons that are granted, the process that I put in place is not going to vary depending on how close I get to the election.  So it's going to be reviewed by the pardon attorney, it will be reviewed by my White House counsel, and I'm going to, as best as I can, make these decisions based on the merits, as opposed to political considerations ...
A preemptive blanket pardon for Hillary Clinton would instantly be deemed - rightly or wrongly - one of the most (if not the most) "controversial" and "political" pardons in American history. Mrs. Clinton would, of course, be remembered  / thought of, for the rest of her life, as the former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State and Presidential candidate "who was pardoned."

Yes, a pardon could be spun as the just response to an unjust "system." or unwarranted attempts at prosecution, but - very clearly - most Americans would see it as a straightforward implication of guilt - even if 1) Clinton did not ask for it and 2) Clinton insisted that she did not need it ... because she is not guilty of anything. Consequently, while there might very well be those who would favor / support a preemptive, blanket pardon for Mrs. Clinton, there would be just as many people who 1) would oppose it and even more who 2) would wonder why on earth President Obama did such a thing, especially if Clinton did not ask for it and, apparently, did not want it.

Obsessing about whether or not the President has the power to grant such a pardon, and littering social media with headlines speculating that he "may," sheds no light whatsoever on 1) whether or not there is any real, serious reason to do such a thing or 2) whether or not there is any evidence whatsoever the President would be willing do such a thing or 3) whether or not there is any real, serious reason to expect such a thing.

Bill O'Reilly says he thinks President Obama will grant a pardon to Clinton, who has not been charged with  - much less convicted of - anything. He cannot articulate a single intelligible reason for that belief. The only possible premise upon which such a belief can rest is the assumption that Clinton has certainly violated the law, that she will certainly be tried, that she will certainly be convicted and that a sentence would certainly be of such severity that a pardon would be desired ... and President Obama is operating under that assumption. We don't buy it.


Anonymous said...

Not that my opinion matters but, I'll throw it in the mix anyways.... I also believe President Obama will pardon Hillary. Who's going to be the next Attorney General...? Trey Gowdy, Rudy Guliani..?? Either one would go after her, & the Clinton foundation. The majority of reporting has indicated the current Justice Dept has put the kibosh on the foundation investigation. Do you really think the incoming AG wont aggressively pursue the allegations of pay for play, & shady donations/accounting..?

Whether or not she is actually guilty of a crime aside..... granting HRC a pardon would forever end investigations into her, & the Clinton Foundation. Would that be a bad thing..?? Might save all of us a ton of money, & plenty of heartburn.

Regardless of her public opinion, I'd be willing to bet privately, she'd welcome a preemptive pardon.

Anonymous said...

Who cares what O'Reilly says? And we now know that Sessions will be the new AG. With that in mind, there's good reason for President Obama to pardon her. The argument for doing so will be to save the people money and move forward. The argument against will be that Clinton has run a criminal enterprise and used her political positions to enhance her lifestyle.
Stay tuned for the chaos that is surely to come soon.

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