Secretary of Everything and all around boy wonder Jared Kushner has embarked on yet another mission for his father-in-law. Now Kushner is in charge of Donald Trump’s new, post-acquittal hobby, flagrant abuse of the pardon power. Who needs the DOJ when you’ve got Jared? If there is one factor which is the hallmark of this mis-administration, it is the desire to do an end run around the professional and empower some know nothing to do a job s/he’s utterly unqualified for, instead. And GOP land approves, apparently. Washington Post:
A move by Trump to ramp up the clemency process and seize control from the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney would be welcome by criminal-justice advocates, said Mark Holden, former general counsel of Koch Industries, the private company controlled by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, whose political network worked closely with the White House on legislation to reduce sentences for nonviolent offenders.
“I think the shift would be great,” said Holden, who worked with Johnson and the White House to help secure commutations for Munoz, Hall and Negron. “No disrespect intended to the Department of Justice, but having them decide who gets freed after they’re the ones who locked people up with these ridiculous sentences? There seems to be some bias there.”
Jared approved of commuting the sentence of Rod Blagojevich, even though both Democrats and Republicans — particularly those in Illinois — denounced the move. But bear in mind, it was Jared’s idea to fire James Comey as well. Jared Kushner is so far the phuque in over his head that he doesn’t know what day it is, but that doesn’t prevent him from getting on the tube and not only violating the Hatch Act by campaigning for Trump, but peacocking about how Trump has brought “people with fresh perspectives” to Washington. Fresh, yes. Uninformed, definitely. Stupid? Absolutely. And Jared is the poster child.
Several officials familiar with the matter said the White House has been discussing ways to revamp the clemency process for months, amid growing consensus that the role of the Justice Department should be minimized. The White House has been disappointed with the Justice Department’s process, officials said. While the Justice Department has traditionally received clemency petitions, the new process involves direct submission of applicants to the White House Office of American Innovation, which is led by Kushner, according to people familiar with the matter.
And if you’re worried about Trump’s cronies and reality TV-types getting pardons ahead of those more deserving, you are not alone.
Justice Department officials in the past have worried about how Trump handled pardons.
There was so much concern about subversion of the traditional pardon process under Trump that then-Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein instructed the department’s pardon attorney that they reported only to him, the attorney general and the president, a person familiar with the matter said. Rosenstein told the pardon attorney that if anyone else from the White House called and asked for a pardon warrant, the pardon attorney must first seek his approval, the person said.
The person said Rosenstein was deeply concerned that well-connected friends and benefactors were getting special access. The issue arose in particular when the White House proposed clemency for Oregon ranchers , and Rosenstein insisted officials first hear from prosecutors on the case, the person said.
Maybe Trump should put together a list of commandments for Trumpworld. One of them would definitely be, “Thou shalt not be competent. Education and experience are for losers.” And how about, “Thou shalt think only of optics that will get ratings.” And most of all, “Thou shalt never consider substance, thou shalt worship the God of Form, which is me. As long as things look good on television, so mote it be.” That about describes how Trump policies are arrived at. Might as well carve it in stone.