President Trump announced on Thursday that he will be exercising his presidential authority to fully pardon conservative filmmaker, author, and political commentator Dinesh D’Souza.
“Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today,” Trump tweeted. “He was treated very unfairly by our government!”
Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2018
“I am thrilled and relieved and elated and as an immigrant in America, my American dream has been under something of a cloud, so I’m very relieved to have that cloud lifted,” D’Souza said on Thursday, via Fox News.
The conservative filmmaker also said Trump called him to notify him of the decision:
D’Souza said he and Trump spoke for about 10 minutes, calling it a “very pleasant and very exciting call.”
“President Trump told me he felt I had been treated very unfairly and he felt that I was an important voice for America,” D’Souza said. “He wanted to clean my record and adhere to continue doing what I’m doing.”
As Associated Press reports, in 2014, D’Souza pleaded guilty to violating election law and was sentenced to five years of probation.
Several liberals took to social media to express frustration over Trump’s decision:
Trump’s Dinesh D’Souza pardon today, on top of his pardons of Scooter Libby and Joe Arpaio, make sense only as an elephant-whistle to Michael Cohen & all who know damning things about Trump: protect me & I’ll have your back. Turn on me & your goose is cooked. More obstruction!
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 31, 2018
Imagine if Nixon had been waiting with a stack of pardons for his Plumbers to return from the Watergate break-in. A president may not be above the law, but he has the power to put his henchmen above the law. That’s what Trump is telling Manafort & others with the D’Souza pardon.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 31, 2018
Dinesh D’Souza pled guilty to violating campaign law; funneling cash to a GOP campaign.
Trump’s pardon doesn’t just signal Manafort & others that they’ll get one, but foreign regimes that they too can break laws to help Trump.
We didn’t serve to see our vote attacked this way.
— VoteVets (@votevets) May 31, 2018
The pardon of Dinesh D’Souza by Trump is meant to send a message to Michael Cohen not to flip on him.
Unfortunately for Trump, Cohen appears to have broken many NY State laws, and will most likely be charged with State crimes, which are NOT pardonable by the President!
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) May 31, 2018
As a report from the FBI indicates, D’Souza received his 2014 sentence of five probationary years by a Manhattan federal court, “with eight months during the first year to be served in a community confinement center.” U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman read the verdict.
“Dinesh D’Souza attempted to illegally contribute over $10,000 to a Senate campaign, wilfully undermining the integrity of the campaign finance process,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in 2014. “Like many others before him, of all political stripes, he has had to answer for this crime – here with a felony conviction.”
.@PreetBharara in 2014 said D’Souza’s illegal campaign contributions was “wilfully undermining the integrity of the campaign finance process…he has had to answer for this crime – here with a felony conviction.” https://t.co/KwDZYyy7P9
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) May 31, 2018
Also interesting that with @MichaelCohen212 being investigated by US Attorney’s office for SDNY, POTUS is pardoning a criminal convicted by the same office.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) May 31, 2018
Here’s more from the FBI report:
In 2012, the Election Act limited campaign contributions to $5,000 from any individual to any one candidate. In March 2012, D’SOUZA contributed $10,000 to the Senate campaign of Wendy Long on behalf of himself and his wife, agreeing in writing to attribute that contribution as $5,000 from his wife and $5,000 from him. In August 2012, D’SOUZA directed other individuals with whom he was associated, namely his assistant and a woman with whom D’SOUZA was romantically involved (the “Straw Donors”), to make contributions to Wendy Long’s campaign for the United States Senate (the “Long Campaign”) on behalf of themselves and their spouses that totaled $20,000 with the promise that he would reimburse them for the contributions. Later that same day or the next day, D’SOUZA, as promised, reimbursed the Straw Donors $10,000 each in cash for the contributions. When confronted by Ms. Long, D’SOUZA initially misled the candidate before admitting what he had done.
During the plea proceeding, D’SOUZA admitted before the Court that he caused two close associates to contribute $10,000 each to the Long Campaign with the understanding that he would reimburse them for their contributions and that he did reimburse them. D’SOUZA also admitted that he knew that what he was doing was wrong and something the law forbids.
Financial Times reports this is the second federal pardon Trump has issued this year:
Mr Trump’s decision comes after he pardoned last month Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the George W Bush administration official convicted of perjury during a probe into the leak of a CIA officer’s identity. Last year, he gave a pardon to Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt of court after failing to stop a crackdown on illegal immigrants using racial profiling.