Hey everyone. I’m finally back from a long sabbatical and ready to untangle all the tricky issues of the day. To get me back into the swing of things I figured I would start with an easy topic.
Today President Trump has pardoned Dinesh D’Souza. As everyone knows Dinesh was prosecuted for making 20000 dollars in illegal campaign contributions to the senatorial campaign of Wendy Long. The prosecution initially wanted to send him to federal prison for nearly a decade but he was able to negotiate a deal where he would plead guilty and only be sentenced to 8 months in a community confinement center and a 30000 fine.
Those on the right like Ben Shapiro see this as a partisan pardon as thanks for the services of Dinesh and on the left it is viewed as an act of obstruction of justice. A guarantee to people being investigated by Mueller that Trump would pardon them in case they were convicted of campaign finance violations.
It is very sad that the quality of our pundit class has degenerated to the point where they can no longer see the strategic plays behind these actions. First off if it was purely a partisan pardon then there would have been no need to do it now. Trump could have done it at any point during his Presidency. While I agree that Dinesh has been treated unfairly he had already served his sentence. Since he is a minor conservative celebrity the conviction was not causing him any great amount of hardship. Surely nothing so grave as to make this an urgent issue. Second for the scholars of the left. Trump had already pardoned Arpaio and Libby. If he was doing this to send a message then the message had already been sent. Multiple times in fact.
To understand the reason for the pardon at this particular time we have to understand the character of Trump himself. When faced with conflict Trump goes on the offensive. His actions become highly proactive, whereas the motive for the pardon offered by our pundit class are highly reactive or defensive in nature. For example securing the loyalty of your compatriots in the face of possible indictments.
Remember that the primary narrative that Trump is running is that the DOJ has been politicized by the Obama administration. It is not hyperbolic to say that nothing else matters as much as this politically. Economy, Foreign Policy achievements, the Judiciary, all of this take a back seat to this issue. If Trump successfully convinces the public that the DOJ and various intelligence agencies have been weaponized by the Obama administration then the backlash will be so great that Trump is guaranteed a win for the midterms and a second term.
Pardoning Dinesh forces people to talk about the circumstances of his crime. More importantly it forces the news media to cover it. Remember the sin committed by Dinesh is that he gave 20000 over the legal campaign contribution limit. For this the DOJ wanted him put in what some posters in reddit and twitter have colorfully termed “federal pound me in the ass prison” (describing a prison that is near maximum security) for nearly a decade. In comparison the Obama campaign was fined for accepting 1.3 million dollars in contributions from individuals who had already contributed the legal maximum. An amount more than 50 times what Dinesh had contributed. Remember that the DOJ wanted Dinesh put away for a very long time. What was the punishment for the Obama campaign? A fine of 375000. No individuals were prosecuted. The Obama campaign put forth no defense instead stating that the amount was negligible compared to the billions it had raised. Which is of course true. One then wonders why a mere 20000 would result in nearly a decade in prison.
If this doesn’t get people to question whether the DOJ is politicized then nothing will.
Guilty Pleas and Bargains
Before I begin recall that most of the convictions produced by Mueller are for people pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. Next take a look at the twitter feed of Dinesh. What was one of the first things he posted after the news of the pardon but that no outlet with a liberal bias is reporting? Dinesh said that in order to force him to plead guilty the prosecutors added a second redundant charge which would have added 5 years to his prison sentence.
Is he telling the truth? That is not really important. This gives pundits on the right an opportunity to discuss situations where prosecutors force people to plead guilty by overcharging and overwhelming a persons capacity to defend himself legally forcing the left to respond. The rallying cry of the left has always been that the guilty pleas prove the crime. This calls into question every single guilty plea that Mueller has garnered.
When Mueller first started his probe it was about treason and colluding with the Russians. Then it became about obstruction of justice. Finally it has morphed into illegal campaign contributions to Stormy Daniels.
Remember the Obama campaign had 1.3 million in illegal campaign contributions and defended itself by saying that it was a tiny amount compared to the total raised. In the Stormy Daniels instance we are talking about 130000. A mere 10% of what the Obama camp had already stipulated was a tiny amount.
Dinesh is just the lucky beneficiary of the pardon. He is not really important in the overall picture. This is about advancing the narrative that the Obama admin politicized the DOJ and other agencies while weakening Muellers case by cutting off the various indictments he can bring. At the end Mueller will either have to prove collusion as he is supposed to be doing all along or go home.