Now that the dust has relatively settled on President Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s sentence, it’s worth examining the issue of clemency and what the previous eight presidents have done prior to President Trump.
Clemency refers to a variety of options – including commutation, pardons, remissions, and respites – that the president can grant to an individual or to a group. Clemency bestowed based on an executive order, such as that exercised by Jimmy Carter or by Gerald Ford, can forgive the crimes of hundreds or thousands of people in one fell swoop.
Commutation is the complete or partial reduction of the sentence for those already in prison, on parole, or on community supervision. A commutation makes no assertion of innocence or guilt but serves nevertheless to relieve a convicted party of either incarceration time, associated fines, or other penalties.
Pardons, on the other hand, not only forgive past crimes, but they also restore civil rights, including the right to vote. A pardon offers exoneration of a crime and any fines or any other penalties imposed upon an individual.
A remission, sparingly employed, decreases a financial penalty levied as a result of a conviction. A respite offers a temporary reprieve, primarily granted to an inmate for some medical reason.
Pouncing on the Case
Democrats were quick to pounce on the case of Roger Stone. They claimed that Trump offered commutation to Stone solely as a reward for remaining silent and not offering testimony that could incriminate the president for collusion with Russia. In other words, the Democrats are still on the Russiagate witch-hunt.
Nearing four years, the total number of pardons and commutations President Trump has issued is 38. To put that number in the context, how many did Barack Obama dole out during his eight years in office? By the time he left office, Obama granted clemency to more individuals convicted for federal crimes than any other president in the last 64 years.
As Obama neared the end of his second term, he became increasingly forgiving. In 2016 alone, he offered clemency 589 times including six pardons and 583 commutations. In all, he issued 212 pardons and 1715 commutations for a total clemency figure of 1927.
And the other presidents? George W. Bush pardoned 189 and commuted 11 for a total of 200 cases of clemency. Bill Clinton offered clemency to 459 individuals. George H.W. Bush, in his four years, was most parsimonious in offering clemency, at only 77 times. Ronald Reagan in eight years offered clemency 406 times, Jimmy Carter 560 times, Gerald Ford 409 times, and Richard Nixon 926 times.
Beyond the contention that Roger Stone was shielding Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia, why else would the left kick up its heels over the incredibly sparse number of times that President Trump has offered clemency? The left reflexively, if not pathologically, accuses the opposition of whatever crimes and misdeeds that they actually commit themselves.
Did Donald Trump conspire with Russia? No evidence of this exists, anywhere, and Robert Mueller and his merry band of investigators ruptured their collective spleens attempting to find any link. Andrew Weissmann is full of sour grapes, but no evidence, and God knows that the thoroughly corrupt, demented Mr. Weissmann gave it his all before clearing his cell phone along with the rest of his entire staff.
Are we to conclude that Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign staff were so across-the-board, off-the-charts brilliant that they were able to conceal a vast multi-faceted collusion with Russia, spanning many months, that Weissmann and his fellow Democrat junior pit bulls couldn’t detect with unlimited resources? ...Sure thing.
Is Trump a racist? Hardly, and as his adversaries know too well, his approval rating among all minorities has been soaring for months. The left, by contrast, as typified by Joe Biden, has introduced a variety of policies and programs over many decades that diminish the economic livelihoods and freedom of African Americans.
Did President Trump engage in quid pro quo with Ukraine? Not at all, and actually the question is silly at this point. Who did engage in quid pro quo with Ukraine? Yes, it was Joe Biden and his globetrotting son Hunter Biden.
In fact, Hunter has been the recipient of many of Joe’s quid pro quo schemes around the globe, and in recent days the accumulating evidence has been staggering.
Whether it is discussing clemency or anything else that happens on the national stage, the pattern is now quite clear to everyone who possesses even an ounce of objectivity: Virtually everything the left accuses Trump of doing, they are deeply engaged in themselves.
Entrenched and Intractable
The left’s compulsions are so entrenched that 50 to 100 years from now, when historians and sociologists study this era, they’ll likely be amazed to find that one political party invariably and perpetually accused the other of crimes and sordid activities that they themselves committed with reckless abandon.