Unsurprisingly, President Donald Trump’s pardon of Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn triggered the verbal wrath of House of Representatives’ senior Democratic leaders and a liberal media.
Concerning Flynn, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the pardon a “brazen abuse of power.” Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., mind-melding with Pelosi, echoed the same sentiment. Joining this chorus after Roger Stone and others were added was “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough whose vile contribution follows:
“The Trump administration … turned the sleaze factor up to 11 … pardoning like the sleaziest gang of just scum – just political scum. And this is what the Republican Party now is,” going on to criticize Republican silence concerning the pardons.
All three malcontents represent hypocrisy at its worst, viewed from a precedent they irresponsibly helped establish by never questioning it at the time it occurred. Understanding it necessitates going back to January 2001.
Waiting until his last day in office to minimize criticism, President Bill Clinton pardoned a rich Democrat Party donor named, appropriately, Marc Rich. Devoid of socially redeeming value but loaded with money gained by violating U.S. sanctions against Iraq, Rich was charged in 1983 with tax evasion and violating sanctions against buying and selling oil. He fled the country, leaving his ex-wife to pitch a Clinton pardon for him. Clinton granted it, later receiving a hefty donation for his presidential library from Rich – one that continued paying off even after Rich died.
What is appalling, however, is all three of the above critics – Pelosi, Nadler and Scarborough – were serving in Congress at the time, but said nothing, despite other Democrats doing so. Clinton’s pardon ultimately triggered an FBI investigation, closed out in 2005 with no charges recommended. This was unsurprising as the FBI investigator was James Comey. But it is outrageous now for these three to act so indignant over Trump’s pardons after their silence over Rich’s.
Meanwhile, the three liberal whiners turn a blind eye to the prosecutorial misconduct the pardoned victims endured.
As for Flynn, the Deep State struggled to find evidence supporting a false charge of Trump/Russia collusion – a claim originated by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Steele report muckraking effort – it hoped quickly to find someone within Trump’s inner circle to turn against him. By virtue of its illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign continued after the 2016 election but before he took office, the FBI determined Flynn, as Trump’s national security adviser-designate, was talking to Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. concerning sanctions President Barack Obama imposed for Russian interference in the presidential election. Hearing this, then-Vice President Joe Biden suggested Flynn be prosecuted under the Logan Act.
The 1799 Logan Act was implemented making it a federal crime for private citizens to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the U.S. and on its behalf without authorization to do so. While the Act’s language arguably encompasses almost any communication involving U.S. citizens and a foreign government seeking to influence negotiations between that country and the U.S., to date it has yielded no convictions and only one indictment. This suggests the overly broad Act may be unconstitutional, but it still comes in handy to threaten U.S. citizens with criminal prosecution.
The FBI “grew suspicious that perhaps there had been a secret deal between the incoming team and Moscow” and began questioning Flynn, eventually threatening both him and his son with prosecution. To protect his son, despite doing nothing wrong, Flynn copped a guilty plea of lying to FBI agents. Ironically, while Flynn had committed no crime, evidence later indicated the FBI had by altering information helpful to Flynn’s defense.
Biden’s suggestion Flynn be threatened with prosecution under the Logan Act is intriguing. After all Biden had held discussions with foreign leaders while still a private citizen in the same manner as Flynn. But Democrats, silent about Clinton’s actions above, remained silent about Biden’s too.
Stone’s conviction on seven counts (obstruction, witness tampering and lying to Congress) became questionable after learning the jury foreperson had failed to disclose her anti-Trump social media rants and Democratic Party activism, thus denying Stone an unbiased jury.
French history informs us pardons become necessary to reverse prosecutorial misconduct.
For 12 years (1894-1906), France was divided over the fate of Army Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment, allegedly for conveying military secrets to the German embassy in Paris. What convicted Dreyfus, however, was not a treasonous act – but a need for a sacrificial lamb. Dreyfus, resented for his Jewish ancestry, fit the bill. Despite discovering exculpatory evidence in 1896 indicating someone else was guilty, the French military suppressed it, later adding even more charges against Dreyfus. The dogged efforts of civil rights activists triggered media and public support to reopen the case after Dreyfus endured five brutal years on Devil’s Island in French Guiana. Re-convicted in a retrial, he was finally pardoned and later completely exonerated, going on to serve his country in World War I.
The Dreyfus affair today remains one of the most notable examples in French history of a complex miscarriage of justice – one in which the media played an influential role to set him free. Similarly suffering a miscarriage of justice, both Flynn and Stone fought for their freedom, unaided by a liberal and disinterested media. Trump was well justified to grant them pardons.
The Flynn and Stone cases have become notable examples in America of the complex miscarriage of justice based on political ideology. Like Dreyfus, Flynn and Stone were victimized by those placing a higher value on politics than virtue.
Stone is still determined to show, just like the underlying facts in the Russia collusion case were false, so too were those underlying his case. In recently filing a $25 million lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice, he has an opportunity to see his prosecutorial misconduct claim “chiseled in stone,” justifying a pardon due to a tainted justice system.
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