Grant Wiegert's letter to the editor (Presidential pardons prove 'crime does pay', 1/13-14/21) suggests a rather short historic memory if he believes President Trump "is embarking on the most sordid presidential pardon spree in American history."
While he swoons over 70 Trump pardons as of Dec. 24, Obama issued north of 1,900 pardons and commutations. My favorite on that list of "crooks, thieves and violent outlaws" was the unrepentant FALN terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera. Senor Rivera earned his prison sentence by conducting some 130 terrorist attacks in the U.S. involving at least six deaths.
It is unclear what justified the defiant terrorist's pardon, as he expressed neither remorse for his actions nor gratitude for the pardon. There was also Bradley Manning, who released classified documents while in the military. The list makes for interesting reading.
When it came to making presidential pardons that prove crime does pay, no one could hold a candle to Bill Clinton. When not renting out the Lincoln bedroom for campaign contributions, he had a lucrative sideline selling presidential pardons. Paul Manafort was small potatoes compared to financier Marc Rich. Facing 65 criminal counts with the potential to put him in prison for the next 300 years, he fled the country. A million dollar contribution to the Clinton Foundation by his wife bought a presidential pardon.
This far from comprehensive list suggests that President Trump is hardly the worst abuser of the presidential pardon power. With Joe Biden waiting in the wings, can a pardon of Hunter Biden's drug-addled influence peddling be in the making, especially considering Joe's admission that he called the Ukrainian president demanding that he shut down an investigation of his son's cozy Burisma Holdings deal if he expected U.S. aid? Stay tuned.
David E. Hanson