Earlier today Trump granted clemency to 11 people, a combination of commutations and pardons. The most eyebrow-raising was Rod Blagojevich — who is a Democrat, Trump emphasized before boarding Marine One this afternoon (which makes me think it’s a formality ahead of a potential Roger Stone pardon). While USA Today comically described Trump’s exercise of presidential clemency powers as a “clemency spree,”
Trump’s numbers are no match for Obama’s, something that didn’t bother Democrats at the time. In fact, “Obama granted clemency like no other president in history,” stated FiveThirtyEight. “He used it more than any other president since Truman,” noted Pew Research. His actions didn’t bother Democrats but some in media questioned why on earth Obama granted clemency to terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera. From Politico:
The FALN was responsible for over 130 bombings during this period, including the January 1975 explosion in Manhattan’s historic Fraunces Tavern, which killed four and wounded 63. In October of that year, it set off, all within the span of an hour, 10 bombs in three cities, causing nearly a million dollars in damage. In August 1977, the FALN set off a series of bombs in Manhattan, forcing 100,000 workers to evacuate their offices; one person was killed, and six were injured. In 1979, the group even threatened to blow up the Indian Point nuclear energy facility located north of New York City. It later sent a communiqué warning the U.S. to “remember … that you have never experienced war on your vitals and that you have many nuclear reactors.” In 1980, FALN members stormed the Carter-Mondale election headquarters in Chicago, and the George H.W. Bush campaign headquarters in New York, holding employees there hostage at gunpoint. In 1981, they plotted to kidnap President Reagan’s son Ron. Plainly, the group was deadly serious about its objectives—a free, independent and socialist Puerto Rico—and zealous in its pursuit of them.
According to court documents, thoughout this time, Lopez, a Vietnam War veteran, was part of FALN’s “Central Command”—a member of the “triumvirate” that led the organization. In 1976, Lopez became a fugitive when federal investigators discovered a “bomb factory” in an apartment he had rented in Chicago. He would evade arrest for the next five years, actively planning robberies and training FALN members. According to the summary of the testimony of Alfredo Mendez, an FALN member who later became a government witness, Lopez even gave new members bomb-making lessons.
In addition to commuting the sentence of Chelsea Manning, who leaked classified documents to Wikileaks, Obama set the clemency record not just for a presidential term, but the single day record, too. Obama wasn’t alone in granting clemency to terrorists and traitors, so too did Bill Clinton in granting clemency to bomb-making terrorists, like a member of the Weather Underground whose felonious activities in a Brinks heist resulted in two dead police officers and a dead security guard. Clinton’s other pardons and commutations also included some of his friends and fundraisers.
Trump’s clemency doesn’t even compare, but that doesn’t stopped the biased media. Check some of the headlines: “Trump Grants Clemency to Another Round of Convicts He Saw on Fox News,” “President Trump goes on clemency spree, and the list is long.”