back to article Top engineer who stole trade secrets from Google's self-driving division pardoned on Trump's last day as president

On his last day in office, US president Donald Trump pardoned 73 people and commuted the sentences of 70 others – including Anthony Levandowski who admitted stealing trade secrets from Waymo while a self-driving car researcher. Breitbart founder and one-time Cambridge Analytica board member Steve Bannon was also among those …

  1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

    Regardless of the merits of any individual case, the fact that a president can simply overrule all due process and pardon anyone is utterly wrong. But I guess it's also incredibly wrong that there's any political involvement in the appointment of judges, so maybe it's all just broken.

    1. sqrbrkt

      404

      Even the first link in the article is broken

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: 404

        Ta -- when Biden was sworn in, the 45th president's White House site was archived and replaced. I've fixed up the link to the archived WH site.

        C.

        1. macjules

          Re: 404

          the 45th president's White House site was archived to a USB stick and dropped in an acid bath to remove all traces

          FTFY.

          1. handle handle

            Re: 404

            Actually mac, it's a good thing to archive the record. History and PoliSci academics will be making hay out of that 1-term administration for 'nother hundred years, me guesses.

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      All countries reserve a final grant of clemency and exoneration. In the UK it is the Queen (as advised by the Home Secretary). In the USA it is the president. All grants have a political aspect although we hope that it is mostly in the interest of justice.

      In other places who is in power has more of an impact.

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Well, I would tentatively suggest that the Royal prerogative of mercy seems to be more tactfully, less politically, and much less frequently applied.

        1. Cuddles

          On the one hand, yes. But on the other hand, just because the system hasn't been abused in recent times, that doesn't mean the system is actually any good. Note that I specifically had to talk only about recent times, given that historically monarchs abusing this kind of power has been quite a big problem. The current system in the UK relies almost entirely on everyone involved agreeing not to try any funny business - as long as the royals don't actually use their power no-one will threaten to take it away, and as long as politicians don't start screwing around the royals won't threaten to use their power. But you only have to look at recent events in America to see what can happen when someone decides not to follow tradition and gentlemen's agreements. Things can go downhill very quickly when the only thing keeping power from being abused is that it wouldn't be considered polite to abuse it.

          1. the hatter

            Power in all forms is granted on the basis that if it's stretched too far from the intent, it will be removed by the majority who it's held over. A higher power able to give clemency in exceptional circumstances allows for a greater justice to be served, rarely, while not burdening the day-to-day rules with complex exceptions that will inevitably be rules-lawyered for cases they weren't really intended for.

            1. JohnSheeran

              Another great point. I think we're going to see a lot of new laws in the US because of Trump. Again, I'm not sure which part of that makes me more sad.

          2. JohnSheeran

            Great point. Trump just proved that "gentlemen's agreements" aren't actual law and when a person that's not a "gentlemen" is elected then those agreements go out the window. I'm not sure which part of that makes me more sad.

          3. Someone Else Silver badge
            Facepalm

            But you only have to look at recent events in America to see what can happen when someone decides not to follow tradition and gentlemen's agreements.

            Gee, what a surprise: Someone who is pointedly not a gentlemen not following gentlemen's agreements! Whodathunkit?!?

      2. Potemkine! Silver badge

        It exists in my country too, but it's a mistake too.

        It's a clear violation of the separation of powers. The executive one shouldn't interfere with the prerogative of the judiciary one. Separation of powers is the foundation of Democracy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > It exists in my country too

          I've always wanted to have my own country. Just a cozy, small one would do. But those mercenary armies are so expensive these days :(

      3. Grease Monkey Silver badge

        @Trigonoceps occipitalis the royal prerogative of mercy has been used in only two cases in Britain this century affecting three people in total. Both of these were certainly exceptional services involving as they did heroic action and the saving of lives.

        It seems that most presidents issue hundreds of pardons with absolutely no good reason for any of them. It's certainly something that needs looking at, but it seems there are a lot of presidential powers that need to be examined and limited.

        Bear in mind that the monarch of the UK has all sorts of powers which are at most ceremonial. Or if you prefer they only exist so long as the monarch does not exercise them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      your not in america wendy

      Trump can pardon anyone he likes because he is awesome. If you don't like it, suck eggs.

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: your not in america wendy

        Erm... o...kay.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: your not in america wendy

        Calm down Eric, you cry baby.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trump can pardon anyone he likes

        Not anymore.

        Now he's just Loser-In-Chief.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Trump can pardon anyone he likes

          #AmericasBiggestLoser

    4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      The way pardons should be considered and granted...

      "President George W. Bush wrote that he was taken aback by the last-minute blitz of pardon requests from well-connected individuals during his final days in office. Bush resolved not to grant any such requests but rather to consider only those pardon applications that had been vetted by the Justice Department's Office of the Pardon Attorney (who traditionally provides nonbinding guidance to the President to ensure that pardons are properly vetted and equitable). In contrast, Trump has largely ignored the pardon attorney."

      https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/20/opinions/trump-abuses-pardon-powers-last-day-honig/index.html

    5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >Regardless of the merits of any individual case, the fact that a president can simply overrule all due process and pardon anyone is utterly wrong.

      Not if used as intended, eg. pardoning all escaped slaves, or more recently all Vietnam draft dodgers (who weren't fortunate sons) seems reasonable

      1. FeepingCreature

        "Not if used in ways I agree with."

        1. find users who cut cat tail

          Not if used in ways we, as a society, mostly agree with.

          No need to take it personal…

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "...we, as a society, mostly agree with"

            "No need to take it Personal…"

            I guess you missed the years between the Referendum and the UK actually leaving the EU then? The majority voted Leave; the minority repeatedly called for recounts, more votes/referendums and even resorted to taking the decision to court to try to overturn the wishes of the majority. Given the language used by those in the minority, it seemed very personal.

            Of course, those who voted Remain will remember that as a valiant attempt to save the UK from the foolishness of weak-minded idiots who could not put a mark on a piece of paper without instruction from nebulous foreign puppetmasters, while the Leave voters will remember that as a bunch of sore losers trying to overturn Democracy while claiming to save Democracy. To many people who voted Leave, it felt very personal - because it was.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        I think "used as intended" is misconstruing the intentions of the Founders. Their explanation of the pardon power is pretty clear, and does not appear to anticipate mass pardons.

        Personally, I think intentionality is a terrible basis for interpreting the Constitution, though, so I don't care. And I also agree with the pardons you mention, as well as Washington's pardon of the leaders of the Whiskey Rebellion and Johnson's of Confederates.

        And while there are pardons I'm not so happy about, including Clinton's 140 last-day pardons, many of which were undeserving, or Trump's various pardons of deplorables, I agree with Hamilton's defense of the pardon power. I view it as akin to Blackstone's Ratio and other calls for mercy and restraint in the exercise of judicial punishment. As usual, cries to tamper with Constitutional law rarely display well-considered arguments.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          If pardons are really only meant for 'political prisoners', any federal prisoners under your administration can't have been the victims of malicous prosecution by your political enemies.

          Logically pardons should only be granted by the incoming president at an inauguration, not on the day the old one is de-inaugurated

    6. Peter X

      At the very least, it would seem sensible to *not* allow this to be used after losing an election, since it clearly denies voters their voice and is likely to be abused.

      1. sbt
        Thumb Up

        Good idea in theory

        But it's awkward to formally constrain the authority of the executive for almost three months after the election.

        The real answer is to shorten the period between election and swearing in. That would also require some reforms to how elections are administered and avenues for disputing results.

        Other countries have caretaker conventions for the brief period between the election and handover, which is fine when it's only a few days. There's an understanding about what significant military/legal/financial or regulatory activities are off-limits in that period.

        It's not like you now need weeks to travel overland to the capital on muddy roads by horse and cart. Time to modernise!

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Good idea in theory

          Other countries don't have all their civil servants being political appointees.

          If we extrapolate the last few years, in future we are going to have to replace all the police, security services and army chiefs as well as all the government scientists every time the WH changes hands

        2. LovesTha

          Re: Good idea in theory

          Caretaker laws/conventions can cover the period of the election too.

          1. sbt
            Alert

            Re: Good idea in theory

            Almost 3 months is a bit long to be in caretaker mode (if the conventions are to be usefully limiting); lame ducks aren't very useful. Imagine if COVID-19 had arrived 12 months later as COVID-20?

            1. First Light

              Re: Good idea in theory

              Makes the country vulnerable to foreign attack and what about the nuclear footie! Can't just have that lying around with no one in charge.

        3. Irony Deficient

          Re: Good idea in theory

          The real answer is to shorten the period between election and swearing in.

          It already has been shortened; presidents used to be sworn in on March 4. The current date was established in 1933 by means of the 20th Amendment, and another constitutional amendment would be needed to further shorten the period.

          1. Spiz

            Re: Good idea in theory

            Cool so make another amendment. And while you're at it add into that amendment that you can't pardon people just because you feel like it with no valid reason, and you attack the problem at both ends.

            1. the hatter

              Re: Good idea in theory

              Or even can't pardon people who's crimes were committed for the president's own personal gain. All I can hope for is that (1) trump ends up on all sorts of charges (2) those pardoned are back on the hook for other crimes after the fact then either (a) they spill all and throw trump under the bus to save their own hide or (b) end up stamping licence plates despite getting a pardon for the bits they'd previously been caught and pardoned for.

            2. Irony Deficient

              Re: Good idea in theory

              When at least two-thirds of both chambers of Congress propose such an amendment, and at least three-fourths of state legislatures approve that amendment, that’s when it’d take effect.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        At the very least, it would seem sensible to *not* allow this to be used after losing an election, [...]

        The trouble with that is that such a constraint (or any of the other discussed here and elsewhere) would require a change t the Constitution. Amendments are hard (ref. the Equal Rights Amendment), and opening up the entire Constitution is harder -- and fraught with much danger (especially now that some 35% of the electorate are certifiable morons).

    7. Mark 85

      In Trump's pardons, apparently it wasn't just political. There were news stories about pardons being sold for $2,000,000. And junior was running the pardon show not the official office for Pardons.

      Read into that what you wish...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disgusting abuse of power

    He's out the door and he can do this?

    America is corrupt.

    Yes, I'm sorry if that offends anyone. I know there are good Americans. But Trump got elected. Apologists like Bob and Jake will bristle, but this is not on.

    Pardons for his pals. That isn't justice, its nepotism in the final moment. Story of his career.

    Trump you will not be missed. How disgusting.

    (btw, politically, I admit the UK is also fucked)

    1. Imhotep

      Re: Disgusting abuse of power

      It seems just about every recent outgoing president has done the same. Some seem justified, some appear to have been bought (in particular Bill Clinton's pardons - see Marc Rich).

      I think we'd all be happier if the power was only used as a final means to correct an injustice or to recognize those people that have since led a life that atones for their conviction.

      1. Jim Mitchell

        Re: Disgusting abuse of power

        Marc Rich? Small fry.

        Carter pardoned Jefferson Davis.

        I do not approve of that, or this pardon.

        1. Imhotep

          Re: Disgusting abuse of power

          I didn't know about Carter's pardon of Jefferson Davis.

          I moved down here (Tennessee) eight years ago for a job, and the attitude towards the Civil War is just..... baffling. In particular the idolization of people like Nathan Bedford Forrest, war criminal, murderer, slave trader and leader of the Klu Klux Klan. He has a state park here in Tennessee. And a particularly hideous statue along Interstate 65.

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            Re: the attitude towards the Civil War is just..... baffling

            Because back then you could treat black people as property.

            It's not baffling in the slightest, it's bigotry.

        2. Irony Deficient

          Re: Disgusting abuse of power

          Carter pardoned Jefferson Davis.

          No — Andrew Johnson pardoned Jefferson Davis on Christmas of 1868. It was Davis’ US citizenship that was retroactively restored by a joint resolution of Congress (which Carter signed) in 1978, three years after a similar restoration of Robert E. Lee’s US citizenship (which Ford signed).

    2. You aint sin me, roit

      Follow the money...

      There's a simple reason why rich people and friends of rich people can get pardons.

      Here's a clue:

      "Paid a significant price" = contributed heavily to Trump's coffers.

    3. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Disgusting abuse of power

      @AC - Bob maybe, but Jake is not an apologist for Trump. What is it with this miscasting of Jake recently?

  3. slimshady76
    Flame

    That's a nice Justice System you've got there...

    ... how much to buy it?

    FFS, this isn't even as The Simpson's court house reads, "Liberty and Justice for most", it's "Liberty and Justice for the wealthy ones". In America, you can skip due process if you settle the case, impeding any further prosecution, and preventing the information on your case from being divulgued, as long as you throw enough money on the table. And if you happen to be a good friend of the president, you can get away with whatever crime you committed (especially if it's a financial one) and the Justice System is banned from prosecuting you for it again...

    So much for the land of the free...

    1. AVR

      Re: That's a nice Justice System you've got there...

      It's been a land of mass incarceration for the many, land of the free for the rich few for a long time now.

      1. handle handle

        Affluenza

        <mic action="drop"/>

    2. My-Handle

      Re: That's a nice Justice System you've got there...

      A quick dig about online shows that 0.65% of the population of the USA are currently incarcerated. One in every two-hundred people. Highest rate of incarceration anywhere in the world, and highest total incarcerated as an absolute figure as well (2.1 million).

      "Land of the Free", everyone!

      Data source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate

      Wikipedia's data source in this case seems to be the World Prison Brief, hosted by the Institute For Criminal Policy Research (ICPR), Birkbeck College, University of London.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That's a nice Justice System you've got there...

        Slavery 2.0

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Obviously when the constitution was written the founding fathers never envisioned the pardon power being used in they way they have been more recently. It now basically allows people working for the president to commit crimes that would help out the his campaign knowing that they can then be pardoned for it afterwards.

    Would the US people have put up with it if Trump had pardon sex offender Jeffery Epstein? He was after all a pal of Trump and was rich enough to grease the wheels with the right people should he have not died in jail.

    1. Barking mad

      The founding fathers never anticipated a president who completely put personal gain ahead of their duty (job description) and the country.

      The 25th amendment assumed that a demented president wouldn't be surrounded by such a sycophantic cabinet.

      It's like gun control, whether you believe the word 'bear' means carry or own, the founding fathers were thinking in terms of flint lock muzzle loaders with a maximum fire rate of 3-6 rounds per minute. They weren't declaring that people could own a MAC-10 or an AK-47. Percussion caps were 40 years in the future and it would be 80 years before Mr. Gatling to come up with the idea of a machine gun.

      1. Justin Clements

        So..

        If the second amendment doesn't cover modern firearms, why does the first amendment the internet? The Supreme Court extended the First Amendment to specifically to the internet in a case in 97.

        And the founding fathers absolutely did anticipate a president who would put personal gain ahead of the country, that's why they divided the government into the legislative, the executive and the judicial.

        1. Jim Mitchell

          Re: So..

          "If the second amendment doesn't cover modern firearms, why does the first amendment the internet?"

          Very good question. Maybe it doesn't?

          1. Justin Clements

            Re: So..

            Yes, the internet is covered by the First Amendment. This went before the Supreme Court in 1997.

            1. LovesTha

              Re: So..

              The better question was 'should' and maybe 'how'

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So..

          Maybe if they had a nightmare about Facebook and Twitter they would have written a different amendment...

        3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: the founding fathers absolutely did anticipate a president . . .

          Bullshit.

          The Founding Fathers expected the loser to become Vice President and serve his country as a gentleman.

          Learn the history of your own fucking country before spouting such ignorance.

          1. Justin Clements

            Re: the founding fathers absolutely did anticipate a president . . .

            Not entirely sure why the reference to the VP is relevant. The government was split into 3 branches so that everyone was accountable. The VP position is largely irrelevant.

            1. Irony Deficient

              Re: The VP position is largely irrelevant.

              Article I., Section 3.:

              The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

              The position could be relevant for the next two years.

        4. slimshady76

          Re: So..

          Actually, I believe it was Stevenson (if memory serves me well) who wrote how the Judicial branch of the Government came to be. The laymen of the US were allowed to participate in the Executive and Legislative branches, provided they had enough public support via voting. This presented a pretty good opportunity to leverage things the way of the common folk, since you could walk/ride a horse to the farm of your representative and convince him of the need to stop the new tax law, given both of you were in the same economic activity and both understood the implications...

          Now the Judicial branch was the only one to demand a degree in Law, which determines an access barrier on itself, given how university education was only reachable by the rich. So in fact, it became the way of the wealthy minority to stop the masses from steering the public policies to benefit the populace, while assuring them excemptions from the common law.

        5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: So..

          The Second Amendment does cover all firearms. But you might expect it to be revised from time to time to reflect changes in society and technology. A bigger issue, as I understand it, is that the right to bear arms (whether small pistols, AK47s or whatever) is intimately coupled with the right to challenge an abusive king, ie. not for everyday use.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: So..

            That's why the right to bear arms should cover WMD.

            If I can't have nukes the Queen of England can just walk in and take over

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: So..

              Family Nukes?

            2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: So..

              I think the amendment was framed with something like a restoration in mind and citizens should be able to fight fire with fire… But, it's possible to argue that this threat has diminished over time or could be countered more effectively by limiting the powers of the executive branch.

              But political reform always seems to need upheaval to be successful and, despite the many problems in US politics, it still looks a long way away from the kind of consensus needed for meaningful reform. In the meantime partisanship, gerrymandering and regulatory capture will no doubt continue.

      2. Commswonk

        It's like gun control, whether you believe the word 'bear' means carry or own, the founding fathers were thinking in terms of flint lock muzzle loaders with a maximum fire rate of 3-6 rounds per minute.

        Your 3 - 6 rounds overly ambitious for a muzzle loader, but the main point is that the 2nd Amendment also includes the words (IIRC) as part of a well regulated militia and that bit is consistently never mentioned, because, well, it wouldn't be would it...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Imhotep

          The wording is as below, and doesn't exactly mean the same as "as part of a well regulated militia" which would seem to make the right conditional.

          My reading is that, as worded, the right is independent and absolute. In practice? Not so much.

          "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

          I'm pretty sure that the intent was that the armed citizens could gather to form a militia when needed. And keep in mind that much of the country was frontier at the time and citizens had to be armed to protect themselves.

        3. Gary Stewart

          And it was written when America didn't have a standing army to protect against several large

          groups of native people that were understandably upset about the forced acquisition of their

          homeland.

          It should be noted that America actually does have a well regulated militia in each state. They are

          called the National Guard and their duties include those described in the constitution (Article I,

          Section 8) for militias which is also rarely mentioned.

        4. DJO Silver badge

          In the commentaries at the time it's clear that the founders did not want a standing army, militias were in lieu of a standing army. Last time I looked the USA had one or two full time soldiers dotted around the place so the amendment is technically no longer valid.

          If an army was ever needed congress would authorize its formation, oversee its use and then dissolve it when it wasn’t needed. In lieu of a standing army our national defense would be provided by each state's militias, essentially part-time citizen soldiers that would leave their jobs when duty called.

        5. FeepingCreature

          No it doesn't. It notes the existence of a well-regulated militia as a justification, but it does not at all imply that one desiring to bear arms be *in* it. In fact, it specifically states that the right of the *people*, not "the militia", to bear arms, shall not be infringed. I assume they assumed that people could be recruited into a militia more quickly and cheaply if they had already trained with a weapon.

        6. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Your 3 - 6 rounds overly ambitious for a muzzle loader

          Not for the British army of the time - they were expected to be able to fire 2-3 rounds a minute (even the riflemen and their longer and rifled muzzles made loading more awkward).

          It was one of the things that allowed Wellington to kick the French out of Spain (along with good tactics, support from the guerilla army and Napoleon foolishly deciding to start a war on a second front..).

        7. mantavani
          Mushroom

          Which makes it particularly ironic that having the word militia in your Facebook group name seems to be enough to get you knocked off the platform.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-55676607

      3. imanidiot Silver badge

        "the founding fathers were thinking in terms of flint lock muzzle loaders with a maximum fire rate of 3-6 rounds per minute."

        No they weren't. Friggin private navy's were a thing back then! "They were thinking of flink lock muzzle loaders", yeah sure, but that 30 gun ship is fine too. Puckle guns also existed. Privately owned field artillery was also fine. The first ideas and talks about faster firing weapons and machine guns were certainly already happening. Multiple of your founding fathers had a keen interest in the technology and were certainly well aware of were things were heading. If they had any intention of limiting the second amendment to muzzle loading long arms or black powder pistols they certainly would have put more text in there.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        As Robin Williams once said in '86,

        It's in The Constitution. The right to bear arms, or the right to arm bears, whatever the hell you want to do.

        RIP - comic genius.

    2. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Would the US people have put up with it if Trump had pardon sex offender Jeffery Epstein? He was after all a pal of Trump and was rich enough to grease the wheels with the right people should he have not died in jail.

      No, he was a pal of the Clintons, along with the misfortunate Harvey Weinstein. Tramp had him chucked out of Trump properties.

      Try not to make false history.

      1. Roo
        Windows

        There is little practical value in making party political points around Epstein because he sleezed up to anyone who could keep him in cash and out of jail. That said I think it is worth paying attention to the folks who enabled Epstein and are still active players in the Justice biz - like Alex Acosta who brokered a non-prosecution deal and was subsequently appointed Labour Secretary (by Trump if you want to do the party political thing).

        We should be worried about folks like Alex Acosta still being big time operators in the GOP. These bastards decided that it was OK to rape a minor because they magically lose their status as a minor and become prostitutes the moment you offer payment.

      2. You aint sin me, roit

        Trump knew Ghislaine...

        "I have met her numerous times over the years... I wish her well."

        But not well enough to give her a pardon.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Trump knew Ghislaine...

          >But not well enough to give her a pardon.

          It would be a waste with her suicide coming up

    3. sabroni Silver badge

      re: rich enough to grease the wheels with the right people

      So they let him keep his shoe laces?

  5. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C Silver badge

    Colour me surprised

    (or color me surprized)

    I was expecting a full and unconditional pardon to all tangerines and any looky-likey politicians as part of his final Scorched Earth retreat.

    1. Brad Ackerman
      Devil

      Re: Colour me surprised

      Pat Cipollone appears to have convinced him that it wouldn't help; there are enough state-level investigations into Deutsche Bank that he's going down even if the feds do nothing.

      1. FILE_ID.DIZ

        Re: Colour me surprised

        A side-effect of being granted immunity from prosecution, be it from a pardon or an immunity agreement with the Government, is the loss of your Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination with respect to the scope of the immunity/pardon.

        By pardoning his kids and anyone else in his family business circle, it would allow the government to use them as witnesses against Donald Trump in any investigations (except maybe his wife). And given that a self-pardon is unexplored in Court and apparently Trump couldn't trust that Pence would have pardoned him if he resigned/used 25th to be temporarily relieved of being President, the safest bet was for everyone to walk away unpardoned and tell prosecutors... come at me bro!

        It's not like Trump hasn't been sued/litigated against thousands of times in the past, and that's before he became President.

        1. First Light

          Re: Colour me surprised

          But he will have a much more difficult time finding even halfway adequate counsel. And they will have to be paid . . .

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Colour me surprised

            I'm sure he'll find some fool willing to represent him without being paid up front.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: Colour me surprised

              I think he may find that more dificult now that he is no longer president and the shine is wearing off. Presumably, this is why he held so many rallies and fundraisers after the election.

              Sure, he's guaranteed a slot on some of the more extremist channels, though he won't earn anything like enough to service his debts. But he might also learn that people drop their champions as fast as they raise them.

              1. DJO Silver badge

                Re: Colour me surprised

                Given that his debts exceed his assets and now without the protection of the presidency all those pigeons are coming home to roost and seeing as the people he had to borrow from are not the kind of people to accept cents on the dollar his safest bet would probably be to go to prison where he'd be protected from "accidents".

                1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                  Re: Colour me surprised

                  This is America, rich people aren't subject to little things like debts.

                  Trump Holdings-A, the wholly owned subsidiary of Trump Holdings-B might have debts but that doesn't worry Trump Holdings-C.

                  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                    Re: Colour me surprised

                    I wonder if he's the first recent President to leave office poorer than he went in? Lets look again after his first year as an ex- is over. Most recent ones seem to make a killing from the after dinner speaking circuit and books.

                    1. Irony Deficient

                      Re: Colour me surprised

                      I wonder if he’s the first recent President to leave office poorer than he went in?

                      It depends upon how you define “recent”. After leaving office, Truman only had his WWI military pension of $112.56 per month (he didn’t think it seemly for an ex-president to enter the corporate world) until his memoirs were published in the mid-1950s. It was only in 1958 that Congress granted presidential pensions to ex-presidents, which was undoubtedly influenced by Truman’s financial condition.

                      1. Intractable Potsherd

                        Re: Colour me surprised

                        @Irony Deficient: "Trueman ... didn’t think it seemly for an ex-president to enter the corporate world".

                        The more I hear about Trueman, the more I like him. I might have to add a biography or two to my reading wish-list.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Colour me surprised

                          "The more I hear about Trueman, the more I like him."

                          300 Test wickets was quite the achievement in his day. But if you want to read about US Presidents, then you might want to look for biographies of Truman...

                          1. Intractable Potsherd

                            Re: Colour me surprised

                            I spotted the autocarrot after the edit window had passed - sorry! :-)

                      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                        Coat

                        Re: Colour me surprised

                        "It depends upon how you define “recent”."

                        Definition: I was born in 1962. Anything prior to that is ancient history :-)

                  2. DJO Silver badge

                    Re: Colour me surprised

                    This is America, rich people aren't subject to little things like debts.

                    When they borrow from other Americans, yes.

                    When they borrow from Russians, no.

                    I hear Polonium is very nice in tea.

    2. Christoph

      Re: Colour me surprised

      I was expecting him to pardon Benedict Arnold, just to piss everyone off by showing that he could.

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: Colour me surprised

        Benedict Arnold merely reverted to his earlier loyalty [ to a bag of Whig shits in Parliament ] after joining the Whig shits who were the colonies' revolution-makers.

        Either way he was damnable; but he had the right to leave a gang of thieves for the parent gang.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      Re: Colour me surprised

      > (or color me surprized)

      surprized: Not A Word.

      However, covfefe.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Colour me surprised

      unconditional pardon to all tangerines and any looky-likey politicians

      I suspect that Trump finally listened to the legal advisors who let him know that, despite Trump's fantasies, the right to presidental pardon didn't extend to the president himself.

      And that pre-emptively granting himself a pardon might look a tad... suspicious.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Colour me surprised

        Why would he need a pardon when he is guilty of nothing but being too soft-hearted to crush the deep-state liberal elite that stole the election?

        Please send contribution to Trump@marlargo make checks out to Confederate America Saving Heroes or C.A.S.H

  6. el kabong

    Justice for sale

    In this day and age everything is for sale so why should justice be an exception?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Drain the prisons! Fill the swamp!

    Wasn't vice versa?

  8. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    When Alan Turing was pardoned in 2013, my dad raised his eyebrows and asked... "Why him?".

    And that's a damn good question. Not "did he somehow _deserve_ a pardon", but "why didn't everyone else convicted _also_ deserve one"?

    Not that either my dad or I disagree with the notion that the whole premise of Turing's conviction was unjust (it obviously was, and he was perfectly happy with the 2017 pardon to everyone else "similarly situated"), nor do we disagree with the reality that Turing did fabulous work which dramatically altered the course of the war. But other people did fabulous work, too (e.g. Barnes Wallis, Watson-Watt, Rowe, Bohr, etc etc)... do they also get a free pardon? If so, what would it cover?

    It seems to me that clemency is a much less problematic system: yes, you committed the crime; yes, you deserve punishment; but for whatever reason, that punishment will be reduced.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Pardons for the dead have no legal meaning and are entirely symbolic and are part of a more general reconciliatio: their pardon stands for others who were similarly convicted of a crime that society now considers should not have existed.

      1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

        No, Turing's pardon did not stand for anyone else. That's the point.

        The 2017 pardon, on the other hand, explicitly covers those who were similarly convicted.

        I think perhaps you've missing the bigger point, too: either pardon everyone, or no-one, and whether or not the subject is living or dead is pretty insignificant to the morality of whether or not the pardon is appropriate. In 2017, they pardoned everyone . In 2013, only Turing.

        As I noted, though, I think clemency mechanisms are less problematic: because you're old/infirm/a great contributor to society/the breadwinner, it does society less good to e.g. imprison you for years, even if a less admirable individual would receive that sentence.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    seems like he's investing in trump 2024 - bannon to drive the right wing propoganda, and probably this levadowski guy for section 230, maybe to start a new Trumpetter service, with theil funding.

    levadowski can steal from parler this time round.

    1. Roo
      Windows

      I suspect Thiel sees Levandowski as an investment - all that IP he stole from Google might actually be worth something with a pardon behind it. :)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Nope, this came up in whether Google has to repay the $MM in compensation it got from Uber.

        A pardon is "you did it, but we like you so you're free - but you still did it"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how many people here use twitter.

    I'm doing a poll to see how many liberal idiots are on here.

    1. el kabong

      I'm doing a poll too, I need to know how many idiots (not liberals) are on here

      Finally, after much trying I just found my first subject, thanks for helping me.

      It would be nice if everyone could be as helpful as you but i'm having no such luck, a poll with one idiot alone is not what I had in mind, I fear I will have to cancel it.

    2. Roo
      Windows

      Re: how many people here use twitter.

      I recommend answering as many of those "You can earn $xxxx at home" ads as you can - I'm sure one of them will offer the remuneration that a professional troll such as yourself fully deserves. If you've already done that, you've probably been scammed, try another ad.

    3. GrumpenKraut
      Thumb Down

      Re: how many people here use twitter.

      You are "bleedinglibertarian" and I claim my five dollars.

    4. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: how many people here use twitter.

      I'm doing a poll troll to see how many liberal idiots are on here will feed me.

      There. FTFY.

  11. six_tymes

    oh NO! the sky is going to fall!

    1. el kabong

      Wait, a second idiot (not liberal) just came to salvage my poll

      Two idiots (not liberals) in my poll to find how many idiots are on here, perhaps my poll can still be salvaged, things are starting to look nice.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so why not change the period during which this is allowed?

    No later than a month before elections maybe? After that, no can do. This way it will need to be done openly, before the public have a chance to vote. This would hopefully curtail nepotism tendencies

    1. trist

      Re: so why not change the period during which this is allowed?

      Hey better still why even bother with the judicial process? Why even have a legislature? Make them all political instruments, like say in Russia - Putinocracy.

    2. AVR

      Re: so why not change the period during which this is allowed?

      Apparently you need an amendment to the constitution to change anything significant to do with this delay, and it isn't politically doable to admit that the industrial revolution has begun in America yet.

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: so why not change the period during which this is allowed?

        They are a very slow people.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: so why not change the period during which this is allowed?

      Trump's actions suggest that the details of the presidential pardon should be reviewed and clarified. But it's difficult to see a majority in Congress for this in the foreseeable future. But, in general, in order for such a power to have the occasionally necessary impact, you have to live with the odd abuse.

      The problem with Trump wasn't with his abuse of power, but with the fact that he got chosen as a presidential candidate in the first place (because the election was outsourced to the media), then elected (because the other candidate was weak), and then feted by a party that had become beholden to him. Had he been impeached first time round this would never have happened, and the GOP would have started its renwal earlier. And calls for sincere electoral reform (ending the primary system, reforming the electoral college, etc.) might have been heeded.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: so why not change the period during which this is allowed?

        Uhhh, tRump was "impeached first time round". He wasn't convicted by the Senate as a result of the impeachment.

        Please do try to keep up.

  13. John Geek

    Grifters gotta grift.

  14. Someone Else Silver badge

    What I meantersay is...

    Explaining Levandowski's full pardon, the White House press secretary said he "has paid a significant price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to advance the public good". It was noted the sentencing judge described him as a "brilliant, groundbreaking engineer that our country needs".

    Translation from tRump bullshit to English:

    Explaining Levandowski's full pardon, the White House press secretary said he "has done something to fuck Google, and since the the former Asswipe-in Chief is pissed off a Google for shutting down one of his Liar's Megaphones, I'm all in to let him off".

    Oh and about the "brilliant, groundbreaking engineer that our country needs" bit: I'm not really sure that this country needs engineers that want to fatten their ass by stealing trade secrets and building a company on using them. Didn't that self-same Asswipe-in Chief spend 4 years whining/whingeing about China doing the exact same thing? I guess stealing trade secrets is OK if one of ours does it....

  15. jason_derp

    Stealing Trade Secrets, Hey?

    Well, I guess the horse the US likes to ride whenever they talk about China stealing their trade secrets and violating things like patents and copyright just a got a huge bit shorter. It's not only condoned, it's endoresed! By their executive branch! That they voted for! Democracy+Capitalism=bffs [caveat: you have to do them both "correctly"].

  16. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Everybody was expecting Trump to issue well over 100 pardons on his last day. Including pre-emptive pardons for himself and several family members. As it was he didn't get close to 100 and didn't issue any of the predicted pre-emptive pardons.

    Some people seem to have got very upset by this as they were expecting to be outraged by the scale of pardons issued on Trump's last day and were robbed of that opportunity.

    Previous presidents have issued more and it has to be said more outrageous pardon's than Trump's final tally and I have to say I expected the orange one to issue way more than the 70 pardons he settled on. I also expected him to pre-emptively pardon family members. However even though he has previously stated that he had the power I never expected him to pardon himself. The thing is though that I was presently surprised by the scale of Trump's last day pardons, rather than annoyed.

    Those who seem to be annoyed about the fact that he didn't issue all that many pardons and didn't issue some of the outrageous pardons they were expecting are annoyed because they were all ready to take to social media to vent their outrage and have been robbed of the opportunity. Some of them have even gone so far as to suggest that Trump actually issued secret pardons which nobody will ever find out about. That is as ridiculous as some of the comspiracy theories touted by Trump's supporters. A pardon so secret nobody would ever find out about? What even judges and actual pardonee?

    Although I have to say the rumours that he questioned why he couldn't pardon people convicted below federal level is quite amusing. Whenever you hear that Trump got upset at the limits of his power it makes you chuckle. However it also chills. It's a worry that the man clearly thought that the president is all powerful.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      As it was he didn't get close to 100 and didn't issue any of the predicted pre-emptive pardons.

      He didn't have the "stamina"; waving that Sharpie around to sign all the paperwork for 100 pardons can really take a lot out of you!

      1. DJO Silver badge

        70 pardons AND 73 commutations is 143.

        I wonder if signature machines will take a Sharpie.

        Commutations are safer for him as the recipients can still claim the fifth amendment while pardoned criminals cannot.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like