Since taking office, President Trump has wielded his executive power to issue a series of controversial pardons to individuals he felt have been wrongfully targeted or punished by the justice system.
In March of 2018, President Trump pardoned US Navy Sailor, Kristian Saucier, who had been convicted of one count of unauthorized possession of national defense information. His crime amounted to taking photos of the interior of the USS Alexandria, a submarine in which he had been stationed.
President Trump then corrected a major injustice by posthumously pardoning former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson in May. The African-American boxer was convicted in 1913 under the Mann Act for traveling across state lines with a white woman. The egregious charges against Johnson had led several groups to lobby recent administrations for a pardon. However, the application for Johnson’s pardon was rejected by former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
In May, President Trump also pardoned conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted by the Obama administration of making an illegal campaign contribution in 2014.
After being lobbied by Kim Kardashian in June, President Trump granted clemency to Alice Marie Johnson who was serving a lengthy prison term for her conviction on eight charges related to a drug trafficking operation.
Some of President Trump’s more controversial pardons include Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Scooter Libby, the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.
Adding to the list of presidential pardons and clemency, the White House announced on Tuesday that President Trump issued full pardons to Oregon ranchers Dwight Hammond and his son Steven Hammond.
"Dwight Hammond is now 76 years old and has served approximately three years in prison. Steven Hammond is 49 and has served approximately four years in prison. They have also paid $400,000 to the United States to settle a related civil suit. The Hammonds are devoted family men, respected contributors to their local community, and have widespread support from their neighbors, local law enforcement, and farmers and ranchers across the West. Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency."
The two ranchers were convicted in 2012 after several fires on their property crossed over into federal lands. After serving their original sentences, federal officials filed an appeal that led to the Hammonds being sent back to prison for 5 additional years.
The Hammond’s case made national headlines when a group, led by Ammon Bundy staged an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in early 2016. The Hammond’s did not endorse Bundy’s actions or the armed occupation.
In response to the pardon, Franklin Graham offered a heartfelt thank you to President Trump:
“Thank you President Donald J. Trump for carrying out justice and pardoning Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond. Many ranchers in the West have suffered under the heavy hand of the federal government. These men are great patriots. Thank you for doing what was right.”
What do you think about President Trump's pardons?