A Culture of Corruption

During his tenure as president of the United States (January 20, 2017 – January 20, 2021), Donald Trump granted executive clemency to 237 individuals charged or convicted of federal criminal offenses, using his clemency power under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. Trump frequently bypassed the Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA) with the U.S. Department of Justice review and the majority of his executive clemency grants were made to well-connected convicts who did not file a petition with the OPA or meet the OPA's requirements. Overall, Trump granted less clemency than any modern president.

Of the pardons and commutations that Trump did grant, the vast majority were to persons to whom Trump had a personal or political connection, or persons for whom executive clemency served a political goal. A significant number had been convicted of fraud or public corruption. During the closing days of the Trump presidency, individuals with access to the administration, such as former administration officials, were soliciting fees to lobby for presidential pardons.

This is interesting as I thought about Trump and his violators of justice and the law, it reminds me of this case against 2 men in Chicago. This is a basic summary of the results. Compare what happened in this case vs the list of people associated with Trump and their penalty for their crimes.

Chicago Man Convicted Of Conspiracy To Violate U.S. Sanctions By Providing Services To Zimbabwean President Mugabe And Others

A Chicago man was convicted today by a federal jury of conspiracy to violate U.S. sanctions from late 2008 through early 2010 by agreeing to assist Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and others in an effort to lift economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. The 72 yrs. old was found guilty of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The co-defendant, 73 yrs old of Chicago, was sentenced to seven months in prison after pleading guilty to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Here’s a list of Trump’s ex-associates who have faced charges

· Steve Bannon was arrested and charged with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors through a campaign to crowdfund the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

· Numerous other people connected to Trump, either through his 2016 campaign, his presidency or his business, have been charged with crimes.

· Many of those charges came out of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.

1. Steve Bannon – charged with fraud for 2020 fundraising scam tied to border wall. Misappropriated funds for personal lavish lifestyle.

2. Tom Barrack – Trump campaign official, former inauguration chair charged with 7 counts, false statements, obstruction, and lobbying violation - violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, in connection with his work lobbying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. used closeness to Trump to “advance the interest of and provide intelligence to the UAE while simultaneously failing to notify the AG that their actions were taken at the direction of senior UAE officials”. Barrack asked UAE officials to provide him with a "wish list" they hoped for from the administration over the first 100 days of Trump's presidency. "The defendant is charged with acting under the direction or control of the most senior leaders of the U.A.E. over a course of years."

3. Michael Flynn - Flynn spent a brief stint as Trump's national security adviser before being forced to resign after he failed to disclose the depth and breadth of his contacts with Russian officials during the transition. Later that year, Flynn admitted that he had lied to the FBI about his contact with Russia and had also done work for Turkey as an unauthorized lobbyist. In early 2020, Flynn and his legal team sought to have his conviction overturned. That effort was rendered moot when Trump pardoned him in November 2020.

4. Rick Gates – Deputy to the campaign chairman of Trump's 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting Paul Manafort in concealing $75 million in foreign bank accounts. Gates turned informant for the government as part of the broader probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and was sentenced to 45 days in jail.

5. Michael Cohen - One-time fixer for Trump, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for a series of crimes, most notably secret hush-money payments made during the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign to two women alleging affairs with Trump. The sentencing judge said that Cohen had pleaded guilty to "a veritable smorgasbord" of crimes. Cohen turned informant on Trump and, in sworn testimony in front of Congress in 2019, Cohen called Trump "a racist," "a conman" and "a cheat" -- and insisted that the president was fully aware of the hush-money payments.

6. Paul Manafort - Trump's campaign manager for part of the 2016 presidential campaign, Manafort pleaded guilty in 2018 to one count of conspiracy against the US and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice due to attempts to tamper with witnesses -- sentenced to more than seven years in prison in 2019 for a slew of charges from Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, including tax and bank fraud, and conspiracy against the United States; and agreed to cooperate with the ongoing Russia probe. Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison in 2019. Trump pardoned Manafort, who wound up serving just under two years in prison, in the final weeks of his presidency.

7. George Nader - An informal foreign policy adviser to Trump's 2016 campaign, Nader cooperated heavily with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In early 2020, he pleaded guilty to two counts of sex crimes involving minors; as a result was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to child porn and child sex-trafficking charges. He agreed to pay the victim $150,000 in restitution and a fine of $25,000. He is also facing charges in Washington, D.C., for allegedly aiding illegal foreign contributions to both Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 and Donald Trump’s inaugural fund. While serving as an adviser to the United Arab Emirates, Nader met with Trump officials and associates early on in the administration and allegedly attended a meeting at Trump Tower with Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, and the UAE crown prince. According to the Mueller report, Nader also allegedly used his connections with the Kremlin to serve as an intermediary between Russians and Trump’s associates.

8. George Papadopoulos - Papadopoulos, a relatively junior adviser to Trump's campaign, was sentenced to 12 days in prison for lying to investigators about his contacts with individuals tied to Russia. Papadopoulos was defiant about his innocence; "The truth will all be out," he tweeted the night before reporting to prison. "Not even a prison sentence can stop that momentum." Trump pardoned Papadopoulos in December 2020.

9. Roger Stone - Stone spent years advising Trump although he was only formally affiliated with the 2016 campaign very briefly. He was convicted in November 2019 for lying to Congress and threatening a witness regarding his efforts for Trump's campaign. According to the judge, Stone's actions "led to an inaccurate, incorrect and incomplete report" from the House on Russia, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign. Stone, was pardoned by Trump in December 2020.

10. Allen Weisselberg - Longtime chief financial officer for the Trump Organization was charged with tax crimes tied to perks he was given in lieu of salary. "All told, the indictment alleged, Weisselberg evaded taxes on $1.76 million in income over a period beginning in 2005 and concealed for years that he was a resident of New York City, thereby avoiding paying city income taxes," Weisselberg pleaded not guilty. The Trump Organization, which was also indicted and has pleaded not guilty.

11. Elliott Broidy - A top fundraiser for Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, pleaded guilty in October 2020 to conducted a secret lobbying campaign in exchange for millions of dollars. "Broidy was charged earlier with conspiracy for failing to register and disclose his role in a lobbying effort aimed at stopping a criminal investigation into massive fraud at a Malaysian investment fund and advocating for the removal of a Chinese billionaire living in the US."

12. Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign head starting from January 2015, was arrested on misdemeanor battery charges for grabbing the arm of Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields in March 2016, whose allegations, though proven by video footage, were later dropped.

13. Ken Kurson - a close friend of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and the president’s former speechwriter, was arrested on cyberstalking charges in New York. Federal prosecutors allege Kurson, a cryptocurrency entrepreneur who was once the editor-in-chief of the New York Observer, stalked and harassed at least three people including a former friend he blamed for ruining his marriage. Authorities allege Kurson repeatedly visited his victims at work, made false complaints to their employers, and engaged in “malicious cyber activity” that came to light in 2018 while he was being vetted by the FBI for an unpaid advisory role in the Trump administration. Kurson was also once a close confidant of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

14. Brad Parscale, Trump’s former 2020 campaign manager, was arrested in September after his wife called police to report that he planned to harm himself. According to the police report, Parscale’s wife also said he pulled out a loaded firearm in front of her and physically assaulted her during a prior dispute. After a three-hour standoff with Fort Lauderdale police, Parscale was detained and taken to Broward Health Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation under the state’s Baker Act. Authorities seized 10 firearms from his house. Following the exchange, which was recorded on body-camera footage, Parscale announced that he would resign from his position as a senior adviser, citing “overwhelming stress.” The former campaign manager is also under investigation over his use of millions of dollars of campaign funds.

15. Imaad Zuberi - a Los Angeles financier who donated $900,000 to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, pleaded guilty last October to falsifying records to hide his work as a foreign agent while he lobbied prominent U.S. government officials. Zuberi, whose real name is Shah Zuberi, is also expected to plead guilty in New York to obstructing a federal investigation into donations to Trump’s inaugural committee. Last October (2019), Zuberi pleaded guilty to three counts in Los Angeles for making nearly $1 million in illegal campaign contributions, engaging in various lobbying efforts, and evading taxes. Los Angeles prosecutors accused Zuberi of taking millions of dollars meant for campaign contributions and lobbyist campaigns for his personal use. In January, Zuberi agreed to plead guilty to obstruction after New York prosecutors alleged the financier took steps to block the investigation into Trump’s inaugural committee, including back-dating checks and deleting emails showing a $5.8 million transfer from a foreign national around the time of his political donation.

16. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Soviet-born businessmen with ties to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, were arrested last October for allegedly violating campaign-finance laws through a six-figure donation they facilitated to Trump’s official super PAC. The case was the first criminal prosecution related to an apparent Trump world pressure campaign to coerce Ukrainian officials into digging up dirt on Trump’s political opponents for the 2020 re-election campaign. The scheme, which included tracking down damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden, was at the center of the failed impeachment inquiry.

17. The pair pleaded not guilty to a four-count indictment that accused them of making illegal straw donations, including a $325,000 contribution to the group America First Action, which was first reported by The Daily Beast. That donation came from an entirely different, undisclosed company owned by Parnas. It is illegal to donate to federal political candidates in the name of another person or entity. In September, Parnas and David Correia, another former Giuliani associate, were charged with conspiring to defraud investors via an insurance company, lying to the Federal Elections Commission, and falsifying records.

18. Former New York Rep. Chris Collins was sentenced to 26 months in prison in January after slipping his son an illegal tip about a biotechnology company’s failed drug trial and later lying to authorities about it. Collins, who was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump in 2016 and remained a staunch supporter, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of lying to the FBI. Authorities say that while at a congressional picnic at the White House a year prior, Collins was notified as a board member of Innate Immunotherapeutics that their multiple sclerosis drug had failed a critical trial. Collins then called his son, Cameron, and told him about the trial, prompting him to sell off over 1.3 million shares in Innate and tell his fiancée’s father about the development. The younger Collins and his future father-in-law also pleaded guilty in the case.

19. Former California Rep. Duncan Hunter was sentenced to 11 months in prison and three years of parole in March after admitting he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to enrich himself. Prosecutors said Hunter, who endorsed Trump for president in 2016, and his wife spent approximately $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses—including vacations and credit-card payments—and falsifying Federal Election Commission reports to cover their tracks. The former Republican congressman used some of the funds to pay for “intimate” encounters with several women, including an aide to a member of the GOP leadership team. Hunter, who pleaded guilty in December to one count of corruption, was also ordered to undergo a drug and alcohol treatment program.

20. Sam Patten, a Republican lobbyist and operative who previously worked alongside Trump campaign data firm Cambridge Analytica, was sentenced to probation last April after admitting to trying to buy Trump inaugural tickets for a Ukrainian oligarch. Under the plea deal, which grew out of Mueller’s investigation and helped Patten avoid jail time, the operative was prepared to testify against Manafort, whom he knew from his years working in Ukraine. Patten admitted he sought four inauguration tickets on behalf of an unnamed foreign individual—for $50,000—and used another American to serve as a “straw purchase.” The transaction was made despite federal laws prohibiting foreign nationals from donating to U.S. political groups and U.S. citizens from knowingly making political contributions in another’s name. The charges, described as violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act for Patten’s undisclosed work on behalf of a Ukrainian political party, were not brought directly by Mueller’s team.

21. Peter Navarro - Former Trump White House official has been indicted on charges that he refused to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Look at the chart from the article below.

President Trump’s staggering record of uncharged criminal misconduct


Trump-connected figures who have been charged or jailed:

Alex van der Zwaan and Konstantin Kilimnik, associates of Manafort and Gates who were charged with making false statements and conspiracy to obstruct justice

Two associates of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, who were charged with campaign-finance violations.

33 views0 comments