Pardon Trump

by | Aug 10, 2022 | Editor's Blog | 32 comments

The raid on Mar-a-lago could not have come at a worse time for Democrats. While a lot of them are giddy about the prospect of prosecuting Trump, Republicans are now fired up to protect their leader, likely offsetting any advantage Roe v Wade may have given Democrats in enthusiasm. The incursion onto Trump property also totally shut down the discussion about Democrats’ successful legislative record. Instead of talking about addressing climate change and  lowering prescription drug prices, we’re going to be talking about Trump. That’s not the conversation Democrats should want heading into the midterms. 

Trump is a conman and grifter who almost certainly committed crimes while President of the United States. He’s also firmly in control of the Republican Party which is no longer loyal to the Constitution and no longer respects the rule of law. They are only beholden to Trump. The statements from GOP governors and Members of Congress mocked the FBI and Justice Department in an attempt to delegitimize the raid among the Republican base. I suspect they will be successful. As Damon Linker writes, “The rule of law can’t be vindicated if half the country thinks the effort to do so is a sham.”

I hope that the raid on Trump’s residence is about more than just withholding documents. I hope that it’s about criminal activity related to January 6 or some other grift. If it’s not, a lot of the country is going to see the raid as purely political. The FBI and Justice Department need to show that their rationale for the warrant justified the upheaval it’s causing in the country. 

That said, I don’t believe Trump should be prosecuted. Nothing good will come of it. A Trump trial will be little more than a platform for the former president. He’ll turn it into a reality show. The whole world will watch as the two sides of activists clash like some sort of professional wrestling match. Both sides will dig in and neither side will accept a verdict. 

Instead, the investigation should play out and prosecutors should indict every member of Trump’s inner circle who committed a crime. From Mark Meadows on down, people who planned or encouraged the assault on the Capital should go to jail. So should the people who tried to cover up the complicity. We need to have accountability. 

Then, Biden should pardon Trump. In his pardon, he should lay out all the ways that the president violated both his oath of office and the law. And then, he should make clear that he is pardoning him because we do not want to give even the hint of the impression that we lock up our political opponents in America. It should be an act of healing, not vengeance or even justice.

Trump’s loudest supporters may protest, but I suspect Biden can muster the gravitas to convince a majority of Americans that Trump should never be president again. If his underlings are all in jail or convicted, it will send a message that supporting insurrection or corruption has dire consequences, even if the boss gets a pass. The goal should be to get past this period of unrest and division, not prove that one side is right and the other wrong.


  1. cocodog

    Criticism of the Feds may be inappropriate and ridiculous as this mess plays out. The current facts suggest a scheme by Trump to use these documents containing highly classified weapon information for self-serving purposes. His former attorney who has served time and been disbarred suggested that Trump would use the documents as a bargaining chip. However, at the time he made this statement he did not consider his (Trump’s) current financial situation. The New York Tax folks had not fully developed their case against Trump business organization. Based on what they have available Trump will owe millions in back taxes, plus interest. In addition, Trump has outstanding obligations such as loans, attorney fees, coming due soon. He is currently attempting to hire experienced attorneys that could best represent him in a case involving matters of espionage and related charges. Those law firms that could assist him have turned him down knowing his reputation for flaking out on the payment of costs and fees.

    Extraordinarily little attention was given Trump’s insistence on the originals. In the world of espionage copies are suspect as they could be altered or spiked to give a false impression. The sales value is at its highest when the document is the original and contains current information. A foreign power will pay millions if not billions for his type of information.

    Considering Trumps prior behavior, he may have held on to documents that offered the best chance of demanding the highest price. Although, Trump is not smart enough to know what had value and what was useless, somebody he had an existing or prearranged relationship was knowledgeable.

    The Feds may have grabbed the valuable ones before they could be negotiated. In that case , they acted in the best interest of this country. But of course, we may never know as the content of these documents may be so sensitive, they cannot be released to the public.
    The book and later movie rights to this sorted story may be Trumps only chance at future ligament income. An income that will be of little value to him in prison but could help pay off his attorney fees and fines.

  2. Dave Connelly

    Wow, Thomas, did you take the day off and allow David Brooks to fill in for you?

  3. Fetzer Mills Jr

    I disagree strongly. He’s just a citizen who happens to be a Russian asset. He has been all along. He needs to pay the same penalty as the Rosenbergs.

    • Nik

      I completely agree. I’ve also read the ridiculous argument fearing violence from right extremists. There will be much more bloodshed and lives ruined if this family is allowed to continue their dismantling of this country.

  4. Morris

    So much naivety here. First pardoning someone who has not been charged with a specific crime is probably not going to standup. I say probably because Nixon was pardoned this way, but it was never challenged in court.
    Second a pardon can be refused and probably would be. Accepting a pardon legally implies guilt so it is legal to refuse one.
    But overall this was a stupid and scary move by the FBI/DOJ. Sure Trump had documents that should have been sent to the National Archives. All ex presidents do. Obama is about 5 years past the time he promised to return over 30 million docs. It is common practice and gray area. This wasn’t a Jan 6 warrant either. So even nonTrump supporting Republicans and Independents are disturbed by this thuggish action. Definitely helped Trump in a big way.

    • Stephen Advokat

      Wrong! NARA still maintains all of the “Obama” documents—none of which were classified, top secret nuclear documents, btw—in its Chicago offices.

    • cocodog

      The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration rejected former President Donald Trump’s claims that former President Barack Obama took classified documents from the White House. It would be correct to say Nixon resigned and was subsequently pardoned for any crimes he may have committed. The pardon was never challenged in court. But accepting a pardon is an admission that he committed the crimes. In view of Trumps documented history of deceit it is amazing that some folks still place any credibility in Trumps statements!

  5. JB

    This didn’t age well if current polling is any

    The rules have changed, for good or I’ll, and if we don’t change with them, the game will be over. And Mango Unchained and his stooges will win.

    Will Hurd, former Republican congressman from Texas recently said that “weaponizing” the FBI to investigate a crime is like “weaponizing” the fire department to put out a fire.

    Either the law matters or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t apply to everyone, it doesn’t apply to anyone. Which is not something I want to contemplate in a nation with more guns than people.

    The shitshow has to end. And if Fat Donny Two Times did the crime, he should do the time. The end. It’s time to stop coddling these goombas because they might get upset.

  6. Chet Vogel

    I agree with most of your comments but not on pardoning Trump. When you consider the likely nuclear papers, you’ll agree with me. Interestingly, Trump supporters agree with Garland and most Democrats on releasing the subject overview of papers subject to release. Appears Trump doesn’t!

  7. ctw

    Members of the “political class” need to wake up and realize that they’re playing by old rules that don’t apply anymore. The world where society could shame a person like Trump into suddenly following the rules no longer exists. FFS, this is how we got here in the first place, trusting propriety to be a check on traitors and criminals.

    Nobody ever thought going after the al-Qa’ida operators but leaving UBL and al-Zawahiri alone would be a good idea. Trump poses no less a threat to our way of life than they did.

  8. TC

    Well, here I go again with another ridiculous corollary. Have you ever thought about how Donald Trump’s rise to power assimilates that of Adolph Hitler? I’m not talking about delineated specifics, but generalities. Adolph’s first attempt to assume power with a hostile takeover failed. Donald, through his minions, tried to seize power when he couldn’t win it on January 06th. Hitler went to prison. Donald exiled himself to Mar-A-Lago and bided his time laying low. Hitler bounded back into politics and slowly began to rise back through little victories. Donald has seeded local races with his own loyalists across the country and is now in almost every news cycle…again. His support grows because our nemesis is a perpetual victim of circumstance. The fact that circumstance runs the gamut of a law library’s various penal codes and statutes across the country is immaterial. People who hold fealty to Herr Trump will never believe (there’s that word again) anything but his absolute innocence and how he is persecuted.

    Hitler and Trump have learned from their previous mistakes about how to take power and increase it. Both know or knew how to manipulate the masses in their quest for absolution of control.

    I agree with everyone here who commented about being in agreement with Thomas. I am too. He is always well rationed and it’s always obvious he has given his words a lot of thought. But here, the prosecution and incarceration of Trump’s inner circle will only serve to stoke the fires of dissent. They will become martyrs to the cause, they simply won’t lose their life in the process. That’s what happened in Adolph’s first bid for power. People got killed. They were elevated to Demi-God status; symbolic and utterly meaningless to Hitler but useful. Just as the incarceration of his inner circle will prove to be to Donald. They will be used for their propaganda value to perpetuate Donald and then be cast off. There are more lambs lined up to assume those roles in the new Reich.

    Beginning the third act of Donald the First, it remains to be seen how his ascension back to power will play out. But the cause for all of his woes and suffering, the basis for his grievances and what is stopping utopian Trumpworld are Democrats. Not just those in power, but all Democrats. “Owning the Libs” is not just a slur; it’s a battle cry. The day that you and yours face persecution because of your political affiliation is not as far off or as ridiculous as we want to believe.

    Pardoning him will serve his narrative as much as prosecuting him. This man is not to be toyed with or trivialized.

    • SI

      The Gestapo raided homes and property, sound familiar? Marxists and Democrats have much in common. Suppress those who have opposing views, indoctrinate children to your deviant, biased and perverted ways, print print and print more $$$, tax the Jews. You choose to look at the world through your jaded glasses, that is all.

      • cocodog

        Si, I sorry you hold such views. It would be nice if you could back them up with points of authority. At least one example would be a fair beginning.

      • TC

        Actually, Si, it does. The Gestapo, Einsatzgruppen, the SS. What makes zero sense though is how you went from Fascist enforcer hit squads, provocateurs, murderers, and executioners to Marx.

        As far as that banal attempt to weave Marx and Democrats together, well…you really should quit watching Fox News so much. I’ll bet you use ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ interchangeably when sitting around talking to your echo chamber of associates about how Democrats are just like that.

        Yes, I do look at the world. I look at cause and effect. I look at how the few feed off of the many. I look at how the advantaged perpetuate their position and manipulate the rules to maintain it…and take more. I want to believe, despite my morose pessimism of the current state of affairs that there are decent people left that want to make the world a better place and leave it better than how they found it. Not doing so just for themselves and their own selfish motivations.

        And then, there you are. A complete and utter lack of understanding, but, being incensed because I wrote a bland comparison about your hero and a tyrant, you were compelled to respond.

        I do wonder though; which one is which for you.

    • Stephen Advokat

      For starters, Hitler wasn’t 77 years old. Moreover, how is no accountability more of a deterrent than accountability? Explain it as if I were in 1st grade, pls.

      • TC

        I’m not sure how age, comparatively, is relevant to the issue. However, deterrent to whom? In less than three months, we face the very real potential of a monumental shift in this nation. Not a shift for the good either. Given that very real possibility, who is going to indict, prosecute, and convict Fountainhead Orange before they come to power? And, if you could pull that off, do you honestly think the conviction would stand on appeal?

        But for the sake of argument, let’s say he is convicted. What do you think would happen in this country when he hit the cell? Actually, before he was ever sentenced. The civil war, that no one thinks would look like the previous one is going to roll out in all its shame and violence. A search warrant was served last week. There have been how many threats against law enforcement in the aftermath? One man is dead after attempting, albeit vainly, to breach an FBI office. The search warrant and the inventory were released after petition by the judge. The FBI agents involved in the application, service, and search at Mar-A-Lago have had their names posted by Breitbart.

        Essentially half of this nation that voted, voted for him. A large majority of those folks will never believe that Trump is guilty of anything and that he had the election stolen from him. Despite the evidence, court decisions, and that the other half of the electorate think otherwise. What kind of a mind believes with their very being that there are 81 million people conspiring to act in concert to deny Donald Trump the Presidency? That’s what we’re dealing with.

        The eventuality of prosecuting him then, knowing that he will never admit responsibility or guilt, even when adjudicated so, boils down to an “I’ll show you” moment in time. Then with the upheaval and violence that will accompany that prosecution, how much accountability do you think we can stand just to prove that point?

        Anybody sane knows he’s guilty as hell. Why so many people want to run counter to what their eyes see escapes me. Why they want to lay down their lives for someone who holds them in contempt except when he needs them to go out and perform defies not only logic, but imagination.

        It is true; no man is above the law. Nobody wants to see Donald J. Trump imprisoned more than I do. Not just imprisoned but housed in a single cell in a supermax prison. No window, no outside contact, and a very dim light for illumination, 23.75 hours a day. I’ll never see that. But I know that is what he deserves. He’s sucking down air that a decent human being could use. But is it worth the price that will be paid just to prove that point?

  9. cocodog

    Many folks are wearing out the old phrase that “nobody is above the law.” In practice I have seen folks going to jail for many years after having been convicted of possession of a small amount of marijuana. Their lives destroyed for a charge that in many states is not a crime. These folks were easy targets, minorities, poor white and immigrants. Folks that lack the funds to hire high priced lawyers to represent them.

    Trump is not a member of this class and the crimes he may be charged with are more serious. Possession of materials that could threaten the lives of undercover operatives in foreign countries, friendly members of enemy regimes or information that if exposed could lead to their arrest and torture is not something Trump needed. The only reason he would take such information would be for potential future sale or exchanged for asylum. Moreover, he was warned before removing these documents.

    Of course, as a matter of reality, this conclusion would be speculative, but since many of the items seized were described as so sensitive, they could not be fully explained in the receipt of seizure leads to this conclusion.
    I am supportive of the notion; the criminal enforcement mechanisms should never be used to accomplish a political end. But I do not believe that was the underlying motivation for this search. Matters of foreign relations or national security are far more important than an act that could be classified as stealing the White House silverware.

    All Trump must do is release for public scrutiny a copy of the warrant and the receipt for items seized to clear up these speculations. In a sense, he holds the solution to his own dilemma. But instead of doing this he chooses to raise money over political ads claiming he is the victim of political repression. I find this amusing coming from a guy who order that minor child of illegal immigrants be separated from their parents as punishment.

    • Michael F Adams Sr

      tRUMP is the head of the snake. And the best way to kill a snake is to cut off the head. And you don’t wait for a convenient to cut off the head when the snake is threatening you. You do it ASAP.

      • Michael F Adams Sr

        You can only bend the law so much before it breaks!

  10. Andy Stevens

    FEMA Camps for the rest of us soon to be a reality, Thomas? Or Soviet-style political gulags? Don’t book my reservation just yet, though, I’m not planning to go.

  11. Tom Lambeth

    The DOJ and AG are behaving just right and I hope they will ignore everybody except the professionals on how to do their jobs with respect for the Constitution and the courts.

  12. Rick Gunter

    I don’t deagree with you much. I do this time. Mr. Trump needs to be indicted and tried. Otherwise, the message to this and future generations is that the president of the U.S. can commit crimes with impunity
    GOP senators already have shredded the impeachment process by not convicting their Cult Leader. Impeachment is useless now. Trash it. Are we going to do the same thing with the criminal law?
    This country needs to understand that a federal judge approved this warrant. It was not the result of a bunch of FBI agents standing around and saying, “Let’s search Trump’s place.”
    I also disagree that it was a raid. It was a search.
    The hypocrisy in all of this does not surprise me. Mr. Trump and his cult are into victimhood. They clearly don’t give a damn about the country and rule of law. It is about time someone in authority takes this dangerous man down.
    The country already is divided in large part because of Trump. The healing may not begin for years. But the wound needs to be treated. Now.
    Mr. Trump has gotten away with crime after crime in large part because of his enablers and protectors. It is damn time to take him down.
    I am not a vengeful guy. But I believe crimes and damage to the country and those responsible for them have to be held to account.

  13. tmagi

    The sturdiest plank in the GOP platform is, and has been for upwards of 40 years, the destruction of our democratic republic. In her award winning book, Democraccy in Chains:….., Nancy MacLean documents every aspect of the GOP’s campaign to impose minority rule, apartheid in the US. The plank was there before Trump was a factor in anything other than grifting. No matter what happens to Trump,the plank will remain. Now they are using him as a cause celebre to offset their horrific defeat in Kansas and capture the narrative once again. I damn near put a shoe through the TV last night as Public Television news swallowed the ballyhoo hook-line-and-sinker.

  14. Mike Leonard

    If Trump isn’t held accountable for trying to overthrown the government, he will try it again and again until he succeeds thanks to seditious Republicans.

  15. Jane

    First Trump does not enjoy the support of half the country! He thinks he is above the law. He must be held accountable!

  16. Kycowboy

    I agree with Ruth and Rodney. The Orange president has gotten away with everything. He needs to be held accountable. If not, then that emboldens others to do the same .

    • Robert R

      Interesting idea. Was the Nixon pardon good for democracy? I expect that in the end it was. The thought of a Democratic president pardoning a Republican one is almost mind-boggling. However, it would take the wind out of the sails of the right wing and might even create some Republican Biden fans. A pardon presumes guilt, which, as you say, Biden should emphasize. Taking the investigation out of the political theatre might take some of the toxic divisiveness out of the rift and lead to us all resting more easily. It would also send a very powerful message to other world nations.

  17. Jay Ligon

    The law should not be so malleable and it isn’t.

    There have been popular criminals in America’s past. Al Capone was very popular. Al Capone became an infamous gangster during the height of Prohibition, Capone’s multi-million dollar Chicago operation in bootlegging, prostitution and gambling dominated the organized crime scene. He was very popular but he died in prison for tax evasion.

    Bonnie and Clyde were also popular The two criminals are known for a series of bank robberies, murders, and kidnappings were, at last, gunned down by police officers.

    America has made heroes out of villains in the past and they have made Trump, a rapist, a traitor, a thief, a tax cheat, a conman, the founder of Trump University, an abuser of women and the leader of a terrorist, racist cult bent on overthrowing the United States, some kind of larger-than-life super hero. In the eyes of his cult, his actions make some sense. To law enforcement, he is a slippery crime boss who evades the administration of justice through lawyers, lies, bullying, clogging the system and constantly playing for more time. He is the target of at least eight investigations into various criminal and civil offenses against parties and the country. He was impeached twice but was able to escape accountability by spreading the virus of corruption throughout the Republican Party. Republican leader still claim, without any evidence, that Trump beat Biden. Poltroons in the GOP leadership know the truth, but they are afraid to tell it. They need the support of the racists, anti-Americans, Nazis and terrorist that make up their base.

    Law enforcement should not bend because the criminals’ collaborators might not like it. The terrorist wing of the Republican Party will not be mollified by accepting Trump’s criminality and letting him go. They will be emboldened by it. Their plan would be working. Their assault on America will continue with more fervor.

    We are stuck with the Rule of Law in this country. Justice demands that we follow the facts and apply the law fairly to everyone, even if the criminal is extremely popular. Justice must not shrink from threats of right wing violence. The terrorists in the GOP have threatened murder and civil war if the law is applied to the leader of their anti-American movement. America must stand for something. If the facts lead to a prosecution of Trump, our law enforcement should do what the law requires. If the criminals in the terrorist wing of the GOP want to rise up and kill more Americans, we should fix bayonets and prepare to win the war against those criminals. January 6 would not have happened if the Capitol Police had unloaded on the terrorists with real bullets.

    • cocodog

      If Trump is serving time at Club Fed it should send a message this nonsense has ended. Time to start playing well with others in the sandbox. Note: Capone did not die in prison, he was released due to an advanced stage of syphilis. He died while fishing in the swimming pool of his Fl. estate. Although, I seriously doubt he had any idea where he was at the time of his demise.

  18. Ruth Bromer

    No! Trump absolutely must be charged and sent to jail, preferably for life. He’s trying to destroy our country. He absolutely should not get off no matter what his sycophants want. If he gets away with this, anything can happen going forward. We can actually end up with another Hitler or Trump again. I’m hoping that this is even another wakeup call to Democrats to get out and vote. Do you think that the crazies won’t try again no matter what?

  19. Rodney Mark Lee

    Thomas, I usually agree with you, or at least am sympathetic to your view, but this time I think you have it wrong. If the goal is to get past this period of unrest and division (a worthy goal), then the LAST thing you can do is to hold a principal perpetrator of it harmless. No pardon should come absent a significant act of contrition.

  20. Jim

    Hell no! Trump needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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