Trump grants clemency to people with friends in high places
good morning. I'm James Hallman from the Washington Post and this is the daily to. Oh two for Wednesday February nineteenth in today's news. Bill Bar threatens quit if the president doesn't stop tweeting about his department. All the Democrats sound eager to pile on Mike Bloomberg in tonight's debate in China expels three reporters because of a corona virus op-ed. They didn't right but first the big idea during his Senate impeachment trial. Democrats repeatedly asserted that president trump is not above the law but since his acquittal two weeks ago the president has taken a series of steps aimed at showing that essentially he is the law. Trump granted clemency yesterday to a clutch of political allies circumventing the Usual Justice Department process the pardons and commutations followed. Trump's moves to punish witnesses in his impeachment trial to publicly intervene in a pending legal case to urge leniency. For a friend to attack a federal judge to accuse a juror of bias and to threaten to sue his own government for investigating him speaking to reporters yesterday afternoon. The President explained that he's quote the chief law enforcement officer of the country. Trump used his sweeping presidential. Pardon power to forgive the crimes of a list of bold faced names including disgraced politician. Rod Blagojevich convicted Junk Bond King Michael Milken and former New York police. Commissioner Bernie Kerik trump pardoned or commuted the sentences of seven convicted white collar criminals at the center of Federal Anti corruption and tax fraud cases spanning decades alongside four women whose cases were not as well known the action freed. Begovic the former Democratic governor of Illinois from Federal Correctional Facility in Colorado where he was a midway through a fourteen year sentence. He arrived back home in the hours of this morning in Chicago. He was convicted on Corruption. Charges in twenty eleven for trying on a wiretap to sell Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat he also tried to shake down the owner of a hospital among other crimes the pardons and commutations focused on the type of corruption in lying charges. That trump's associates were convicted of as part of the Russia investigation once again. Raising the question of whether trump will pardon former campaign chairman. Paul manafort former national security adviser. Michael Flynn and longtime adviser. Roger Stone. The actions announced yesterday fit with a pattern of highly personal presidential justice that bypasses the traditional pardon process administered by the Justice Department. Most of the people who received clemency under trump not just yesterday generally have been well connected offenders who had a line into the White House or currency with his political base or a platform on Fox News for example with Milkins. Pardon the White House literally put out a list of advocates for the wealthy financier. Who asked trump help him out on the list? Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Political Donors Miriam and Sheldon Adelson and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy milk and became a symbol of culture of greed during the nineteen eighties. He was literally the inspiration for Michael Douglas's character. Gordon Gecko who said greed is good in the movie Wall Street. Milken pleaded guilty in one thousand nine hundred as part of a plea deal to six felony counts including Securities Fraud Mail fraud and aiding in the filing of a false tax return Nelson Peltz who through the president. A ten million dollar fundraiser. This past Saturday night at his ninety five million dollar Palm Beach Florida home also strongly pressed the president to pardon milken the White House also cited TV personalities including Geraldo Rivera. Andrew Napolitano and Maria Bartiromo as pardon advocates also on trump's pardon list were Kerik convicted of tax fraud and Edward debartolo. The billionaire former owner of the San Francisco Forty niners who pleaded guilty two decades ago to charges stemming from his role in a bribery case related casinos in Louisiana. The president also pardoned David. Sylvian a senior official in the George W Bush administration who was convicted of obstructing a federal investigation as part of the scandal surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramov and to lesser known business executives technology executive aerial free learn construction company executive. Paul pogue both were convicted of computer and tax charges. He also pardoned Angeles. Stanton an author who served a six-month home sentence for her role in a stolen vehicle. Rin former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Who advises the president also takes on legal clients including free ler which is how he apparently got that. Pardon the head of the Justice Department's Pardon Office during the first two years of the trump administration told my colleague Beth Reinhard recently that he quit last year because the White House sidelined his office in favor of taking its cues from celebrities political allies in Fox hosts for example free ler that Christie client never even applied to the pardon office. According to Justice Department records characte is a frequent visitor to the president's Club at Mar. A Lago he recently posted a picture of himself. At the trump hotel in DC tagging the President Fabian works at the trump aligned American conservative union which puts on the CPAC conference and he routinely attacks trump's critics on twitter blagojevich's wife lobbied for her husband's release repeatedly on Fox News. Blagojevich and trump were also well acquainted from when the former governor was a contestant on trump's show the apprentice in two thousand ten the entire GOP delegation from Illinois lobbied. The president hard against commuting Blagojevich's sentence trump made phone calls to the Republicans last week to argue that his sentence was unjust but the lawmakers were not convinced and they tried to remind the president of just how corrupt the former governor was. And that's the big idea. Here are three other headlines that should be on your radar this Hump Day Number. One three administration officials tell us that. Attorney General Bill Bar has told people close to the president inside and outside the White House that he is considering quitting over trump's tweets about justice department investigations so far trump has defied bars requests both public and private to keep quiet on matters of federal law enforcement. It wasn't immediately clear last night whether bar made his posture directly to the president the administration officials said Bar seem to be sharing his position with advisors in hopes. The president would get the message that he should stop wing publicly on the DOJ's ongoing criminal probes one person familiar with bars. Thinking says quote. He has his limits the standoff between trump and par intensified yesterday when trump declared a string of early morning tweets that he might sue the government and those involved. In former special counsel Bob Mueller's investigation into his two thousand sixteen campaign. Trump also suggested that stone is friend convicted of lying to Congress in that probe deserves a new trial hours. Later a Justice Department official said prosecutors had filed a sealed motion in court arguing the exact opposite and they said that they had bars personal approval to do so bar had a previously scheduled lunch with the White House counsel yesterday and was still the Attorney General by day's end indicating that the president's moves were not enough to push him to resign but he in his Justice Department seemed to remain mired in political crisis with an uncertain future. A Justice Department spokeswoman initially declined to comment after the Post reported this online last night. Kerry Kubeck the spokeswoman for Bar said on twitter that the AG has no plans to resign. She didn't address what bar has told others number two a new Washington Post. Abc News poll out. This morning shows Bernie Sanders opening a significant national lead among Democrats getting thirty two percent Joe Biden trails with sixteen percent followed by Mike Bloomberg at fourteen percent and Elizabeth Warren at twelve percent the remaining candidates including Pete Buddha. Judging Amy Didn't get into the double digits when Bloomberg steps onto the debate stage tonight in Las Vegas for his first hostile and uncontrolled campaign test. There will be no management decisions to make no teleprompters to lean on and know endless ad budgets to filter his message with focus group talking points in debate. Prep sessions advisors have armed Bloomberg with comebacks for the inevitable attacks on his enormous wealth and past record also coaching him to move beyond his sometimes distant. Wonky in different public persona wary of Bloomberg's rise in the polls his rivals with far more debate experience and democratic longevity have made clear they will not go easy on the newcomer Sanders Denounce Bloomberg in Reno last night. Calling the former mayor of New York quote an oligarch not a Democrat Biden has been boasting for days about his desire to confront Bloomberg in person. Because he can't compete with the billionaire's advertising budget and Warren Elizabeth. Warren tweeted that. Bloomberg's defenses of stop and Frisk until apologize shortly before getting into the race. Were quote racist. She added that with her hits on Bloomberg tonight. She's going to give a live demonstration of how shall take on another EGO MANIAC BILLIONAIRE IN DONALD TRUMP for his part sanders. Yesterday said he will not release any more medical records despite having a heart attack. Just a few months ago expect Vermont Senator to get pressed on that tonight. The debate is at nine PM. Eastern on NBC AND MSNBC MEANWHILE ANY CLUB HR is scrambling to turn her moment into something more. Her staffer spent hours over the weekend trying to hash out. A strategy for Super Tuesday debating whether it makes more sense to compete in big delegate rich states like Texas and California or more independent minded states. That aren't overly liberal like Maine and Tennessee. But which have fewer delegates club charts home? State of Minnesota is one of the places that votes on Super Tuesday. She's been adding staff there. She battles with Buddha Judge Warren for the White College educated voters who fuel all three of their campaigns as one adviser. Put it quote. We're putting the airplane together as we fly it and Buddha judge hit back last night during a CNN. Townhall at rush. Limbaugh's latest round of homophobic attacks. Budi judge offered some of his most fiery response yet to the radio. Talk show hosts assertion that trump told him not to apologize for saying that Americans would never elect quote a Gay Guy. Kissing his husband on the debate stage. Limbaugh whom trump recently awarded the presidential medal of Freedom doubled on those comments and told listeners that the president called him and encouraged him to stay the course and not back down Buddha. Judge said he's not GonNa let Limbaugh or trump lecture him on family values explaining that one thing about his marriage to Chiasson is. It's never involved him. Having to send hush money to a porn star after cheating on his pregnant spouse number three more than two thousand people have died now from the corona virus in China but the national government is expressing growing optimism. Chinese leader Xi Jinping is striking an increasingly confident tone that his country can control the outbreak in manage the economic and social fallout. If some Chinese health experts predict a peak and infections by the end of this month Chinese leaders are eager to kick start economic activity so they've dismantled some highway checkpoints and businesses have begun to reopen. But there are still a lot of restrictions on personal mobility China claims that new case numbers are continuing decline international experts including our CDC SAY. They're wary of declaring that the pace of worldwide infections is actually slowing after all just yesterday. If you take China at its word they tallied a total of eighteen hundred new cases and one hundred thirty six more deaths and while you were sleeping. The Chinese Government Expelled Three Wall Street Journal. Reporter's citing a recent column the op Ed Page by an academic the deputy bureau chief and a reporter both American citizens as well as an Australian national who's also reporters have been ordered to leave the country within five days. The Foreign Ministry has been repeatedly criticizing the journal since published a corona virus related. Op Ed by Walter Russell. Mead a professor at Bard College under the headline China is the real sick man of Asia. And that's the daily two for Wednesday February nineteenth. Thanks for listening. I'm James Hillman. Have a great day. I'll talk to you tomorrow program.