Phew! America has dodged another bullet, ladies and gentlemen! And it’s all thanks to Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson including the “Trump Exception” in the US Constitution. The Trump Exception explicitly states that any rights, freedoms, privileges, amendments, rules, regulations, emanations and even penumbras can just be tossed out the window when you’re talking about Donald Trump or his associates.
The latest Trump Exception that we’ve just learned about pertains to presidential pardons. If Donald Trump pardoned someone – it doesn’t count!
That’s what the Department of Justice just announced when it argued before a federal judge that it would not be dismissing its bogus charges against Steve Bannon. Sure, Donald Trump extended a full pardon to Steve Bannon on January 20, 2021. But that doesn’t count! Trump Exception!
You might have been thinking that pardons and commutations of sentences were some sort of special, plenary power reserved solely for the President of the United States in the US Constitution. Yes, that’s normally true. But not under the Trump Exception!
As you probably recall, Paul Manafort was sent to prison under the Trump Exception a few years ago, for not filling out a piece of paperwork with the IRS. That was under an obscure federal rule that’s never been enforced since the 1960s, but under the Trump Exception, Manafort went to prison for it.
Likewise, Gen. Mike Flynn struggled for years with the false accusation that he had lied to the FBI. Even after the Justice Department dismissed the case against Flynn, the federal judge decided that he would act as the prosecutor to keep the case going. Trump Exception!
Sure, that had never happened in any federal case in US history before. But desperate times call for throwing the entire rule of law and all norms and traditions out the window. Donald Trump is just too icky to allow his associates to somehow go unpunished. Just ask the QAnon shaman who’s rotting in federal prison right now for singing a song in the US Senate chambers last January.
The Department of Justice is claiming that Steve Bannon defrauded donors of the We Build the Wall Foundation, by collecting a salary for his work with the organization. That was the wildly successful private-sector fundraising effort that built several miles of impenetrable new walls along our southern border. As for the “fraud” that Bannon is falsely accused of committing, it’s totally absurd.
Every single person on planet earth understands that when they make a contribution to a non-profit or a PAC that part of the funds are used to pay staff salaries. The DOJ prosecutors are claiming that because the We Build the Wall Foundation said that 100% of contributions were going toward construction of the wall, every donor was somehow too stupid to understand that that always means “minus expenses for employee salaries and expenses.” So, the charges were bogus from the very beginning.
But now the Department of Justice says that even though Donald Trump pardoned Steve Bannon, they’re going to keep the case going anyway. Wouldn’t want any uppity Trump supporters to think that they’re in charge of their own destiny and have the power to vote for candidates that The Swamp does not like.
Obviously, I’m being sarcastic about the so-called “Trump Exception” and there is no such thing in the Constitution. Everyone should realize that the Department of Justice is deadly serious: They plan to challenge the constitutionality of presidential pardons, based on the fact that they don’t like Donald Trump.
Prosecutors argued, “The pardon granted to Bannon is not a basis to dismiss the Indictment against him.”
Uh… yes, it is. Presidential pardon powers are plenary – meaning they are not subject to review or approval from any other body, any department, any court or any other branch of government. It’s one of the few “plenary” powers that presidents actually have, just as the US Congress has plenary power over interstate commerce. No one can step in and say that a pardon is invalid for any reason – which is why a lot of pardons throughout the years have been protested, but never overturned.
What’s most concerning about the fact that the DOJ is suddenly claiming pardons from Trump are not plenary, is the fact that the judge didn’t simply laugh at the prosecutors and throw tomatoes at them. The judge said he’ll need two weeks to make a decision on whether a pardon actually counts, if it was granted by Donald Trump.