February 18, 2020

USA: Today, President Trump Signed Executive Grants Of Clemency Granting Full Pardons And Signed Executive Grants Of Clemency Granting Commutations To The Following Individuals.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Today, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Grants of Clemency granting Full Pardons to the following individuals: Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Michael Milken, Ariel Friedler, Bernard Kerik, Paul Pogue, David Safavian, and Angela Stanton. In addition, President Trump signed Executive Grants of Clemency granting commutations to Rod Blagojevich, Tynice Nichole Hall, Crystal Munoz, and Judith Negron.

Edward DeBartolo, Jr., is a successful businessman, real estate developer, and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. During the 23 years that he owned the San Francisco 49ers, the team won an unprecedented 13 division titles and 5 Super Bowl Championships. In 1998, he was convicted for failing to report a felony regarding payment demanded for a riverboat casino license, and he was sentenced to 2 years’ probation. Mr. DeBartolo did not allow his conviction to define his life. He remained a generous philanthropist and passionate supporter of numerous charitable causes, including charter schools like the Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, and anti-gang violence initiatives. His exceptional compassion and warmth define his character to this day. Mr. DeBartolo treated players and coaches as part of his family. Many prominent individuals from the National Football League have strongly advocated for this pardon, including Joe Montana, Jim Brown, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, Charles Haley, Derrick Brooks, Fred Dean, Robert Kraft, Jerry Jones, and Roger Goodell. They have been joined in their support by other notable figures and organizations, including Pastor Darrell Scott, Kareem Lanier, Paul Anka, and the Urban Revitalization Coalition.

Michael Milken, one of America’s greatest financiers, pioneered the use of high-yield bonds in corporate finance. His innovative work greatly expanded access to capital for emerging companies. By enabling smaller players to access the financing they needed to compete, Mr. Milken’s efforts helped create entire industries, such as wireless communications and cable television, and transformed others, like home building. Mr. Milken’s work also democratized corporate finance by providing women and minorities access to capital that would have been unavailable to them otherwise. In 1989, at the height of his finance career, Mr. Milken was charged in an indictment alleging that some of his innovative financing mechanisms were in fact criminal schemes. The charges filed against Mr. Milken were truly novel. In fact, one of the lead prosecutors later admitted that Mr. Milken had been charged with numerous technical offenses and regulatory violations that had never before been charged as crimes. Though he initially vowed to fight the charges, Mr. Milken ultimately pled guilty in exchange for prosecutors dropping criminal charges against his younger brother. As a result, Mr. Milken served 2 years in prison in the early 1990s. Since his release, Mr. Milken has dedicated his life to philanthropy, continuing charitable work that he began before his indictment. Over the years, Mr. Milken—either personally or through foundations he created—has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in critical funding to medical research, education, and disadvantaged children. Mr. Milken’s philanthropy has been particularly influential in the fight against prostate cancer and has been credited with saving many lives. This pardon has widespread and longstanding support, including from the following individuals: Dr. Miriam Adelson, Sheldon Adelson, David Bahnsen, Tom Barrack, Maria Bartiromo, Ron Burkle, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, William Ford, Josh Friedman, Rudy Guiliani, Josh Harris, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Ray Irani, Robert Kraft, Richard LeFrak, Randy Levine, Howard Lorber, Representative Kevin McCarthy, Larry Mizel, Arte Moreno, Rupert Murdoch, Sean Parker, John Paulson, Nelson Peltz, Steven Roth, David Rubenstein, Larry Ruvo, Marc Stern, Steven Tananbaum, Ted Virtue, Andrew von Eschenbach, Mark Weinberger, and Gary Winnick.

Ariel Friedler was a successful entrepreneur, and built a successful technology company that employed more than 150 people and served more than 41 million students, staff, employers, and government constituents worldwide. In 2014, while serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Friedler pled guilty to conspiracy to access a protected computer without authorization and served 2 months in prison. As a result of this incident, he was forced to sell the company that he had dedicated his life to building. During the investigation, his time in prison, and after his release, Mr. Friedler expressed deep remorse for his actions. Since his release, Mr. Friedler has volunteered his time and expertise to promoting veterans issues and helping former prisoners reenter and rejoin society. In recognition of his rehabilitation, the State of Florida restored his license to practice law. Among those who support this grant of clemency are former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Rabbi Katz of the Aleph Institute.

Bernard Kerik courageously led the New York Police Department’s heroic response to the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, as Commissioner of the New York Police Department. He embodied the strength, courage, compassion, and spirit of the people of New York and this great Nation as he served alongside first responders at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the attack. In 2010, Mr. Kerik was sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment for tax fraud and for making false statements. Since his conviction, he has focused on improving the lives of others, including as a passionate advocate for criminal justice and prisoner reentry reform. His 30 years of law enforcement service and tenure as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction have given him a unique understanding and perspective on criminal justice and prisoner reentry reform, and he remains an invaluable contributor to these endeavors. Mr. Kerik is the recipient of countless awards for meritorious and heroic service, including a Presidential Commendation for Heroism from President Ronald Reagan. Among others, this pardon is supported by Rudy Giuliani, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Geraldo Rivera, Charlie Daniels, Chief Paul Cell, Judge Ray Reddin, Former Chief of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department John Comparetto, Representative Peter King, Christopher Ruddy, Chief and Mrs. Eddie Gallagher, and Sidney Powell.

Paul Pogue was the owner of a successful construction company and made significant charitable contributions every year. An audit by the Internal Revenue Service discovered that Mr. Pogue had underpaid his taxes over a 3-year period by approximately 10 percent. Immediately upon learning of the tax deficiency, Mr. Pogue paid restitution, interest, and penalties. To avoid the cost and burden of fighting the charges, which could have put at risk the jobs of the 150 people employed by his company, Mr. Pogue agreed to plead guilty and was sentenced to 3 years of probation. Despite his conviction, Mr. Pogue never stopped his charitable work. For more than 30 years, he has provided significant humanitarian aid to countries around the world, including Africa, India, and Mexico, all while continuing to help his fellow Americans in times of need. Mr. Pogue is the founder of two non-profit organizations. One constructs churches, clinics, schools, and orphanages in developing countries. The other provides disaster relief to communities in need. Following Hurricane Harvey, his charity provided critical support to Texans rebuilding their lives in the wake of the storm. In addition, Mr. Pogue’s non-profit flies medical teams into disaster areas and flies people in need of medical treatment to doctors and hospitals. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Mike Buster, Steve Dulin, Robert Morris, Jack Graham, and James Robison are among the many people who support this grant of clemency.

David Safavian has dedicated his life to criminal justice reform after serving nearly a year in prison. Mr. Safavian was convicted of making false statements and of obstructing an investigation into a trip he took while he was a senior government official. Having served time in prison and completed the process of rejoining society with a felony conviction, Mr. Safavian is uniquely positioned to identify problems with the criminal justice system and work to fix them. Mr. Safavian is a fierce advocate for policy changes that improve public safety, protect families and victims, and reduce recidivism, including the First Step Act, which provides prisoners with a second chance through rehabilitative programs, fair sentencing, and smart confinement. The District of Columbia restored his license to practice law, and his pardon is supported by several prominent individuals, including Van Jones, Matt Schlapp, Mercedes Schlapp, Doug Deason, Mark Holden, Topeka Sam, Dan Schneider, and Jessica Jackson.

Angela Stanton overcame a difficult childhood to become a champion for redemption and rehabilitation for all who strive for a better life. In 2007, she served a 6-month home confinement sentence for her role in a stolen vehicle ring. Today, Ms. Stanton is a national best-selling author, widely acclaimed television personality, and proponent of criminal justice reform. She works tirelessly to improve reentry outcomes for people returning to their communities upon release from prison, focusing on the critical role of families in the process. This pardon is supported by Alveda King.

In light of the decisions these individuals have made following their convictions to work to improve their communities and our Nation, the President has determined that they are each deserving of full pardons.

In addition, the President is commuting the sentences of four individuals who have paid their debts to society and have worked to improve their lives and the lives of others while incarcerated.

Rod Blagojevich was the Governor of Illinois from 2003 until 2009, when he was charged with, among other things, offering an appointment to the United States Senate in exchange for campaign contributions. He was convicted of those charges and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Although the Seventh Circuit reversed some of his convictions related to the Senate appointment, it did not alter his 14-year sentence. He has spent 8 years in prison. People from across the political spectrum and from varied backgrounds have expressed support for shortening Mr. Blagojevich’s sentence, including Senator Dick Durbin, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., former Representative Bob Barr, Representatives Bobby Rush and Danny Davis, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and Bishop Byron Brazier. Additionally, more than a hundred of Mr. Blagojevich’s fellow inmates have written letters in support of reducing his sentence. During his confinement, Mr. Blagojevich has demonstrated exemplary character, devoting himself to improving the lives of his fellow prisoners. He tutors and teaches GED classes, mentors prisoners regarding personal and professional development, and speaks to them about their civic duties. Notwithstanding his lengthy sentence, Mr. Blagojevich also counsels inmates to believe in the justice system and to use their time in prison for self-improvement. His message has been to “keep faith, overcome fear, and never give up.”

Tynice Nichole Hall is a 36-year-old mother who has served nearly 14 years of an 18-year sentence for allowing her apartment to be used to distribute drugs. While in prison, Ms. Hall has completed a number of job-training programs and apprenticeships, as well as coursework towards a college degree. In addition, Ms. Hall has taught prison educational programs to other inmates. She has accepted responsibility for her past behavior and has worked hard to rehabilitate herself. Among those who support this grant of clemency are Clemency for All Non-Violent Drug Offenders Foundation, Alice Johnson, Dan Schneider, Matt Whitaker, Adam Brandon, Kevin Roberts, Brett Tolman, and John Hostettler.

Crystal Munoz has spent the past 12 years in prison as a result of a conviction for having played a small role in a marijuana smuggling ring. During this time, she has mentored people working to better their lives, volunteered with a hospice program, and demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to rehabilitation. The Texas A&M Criminal Defense Clinic, the Clemency for All Non-Violent Drug Offenders Foundation, Dan Schneider, Matt Whitaker, Adam Brandon, Kevin Roberts, Brett Tolman, John Hostettler, and Alice Johnson are among the many who support this grant of clemency.

Judith Negron is a 48-year-old wife and mother who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for her role as a minority-owner of a healthcare company engaged in a scheme to defraud the Federal Government. Ms. Negron has served 8 years of her sentence and has spent this time working to improve her life and the lives of her fellow inmates. Her prison warden and her counselor have written letters in support of clemency. According to her warden, Ms. Negron “has always shown herself to be a model inmate who works extremely well with others and has established a good working relationship with staff and inmates.” This grant of clemency is supported by the Clemency for All Non-Violent Drug Offenders Foundation, Dan Schneider, Matt Whitaker, Adam Brandon, Kevin Roberts, Brett Tolman, John Hostettler, and Alice Johnson, among others.
The Daily Wire
written by Ryan Saavedra
January 1, 2020

Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner has endured significant criticism from the media, Democrats, and from factions of the political Right for his presence in the Trump administration. However, many of the criticisms that Kushner has faced fall apart upon a close examination of facts and reality.

The biggest criticism that Kushner has faced from factions of the political Right during his time in the Trump administration is that he is too liberal. Many of the criticisms that he is too liberal are based off the fact that Kushner tries to work with as many parties as possible when working to solve an issue, as maximum cooperation is the easiest way to achieve success.

Those who claim that Kushner is too liberal often overlook many of the victories that he has secured for Trump which often fall directly in line with causes that conservatives champion. Those victories include:
  • Kushner played a decisive role in Trump’s 2016 victory: Trump, who has proven to be much more conservative than beloved former Republican President Ronald Reagan, won in 2016 thanks in large part to Kushner. Forbes reported in 2016 that Kushner’s role in running the Trump campaign’s data operation “eventually tipped the states that swung the election.”
  • Kushner is among the biggest pro-Israel advocates in the White House: Any notion that Kushner is liberal is quickly dispelled by the pro-Israel agenda that he has advocated for in the White House. Kushner’s pro-Israel advocacy comes at a time when far-left extremists have normalized anti-Semitism into the Democratic Party. The New York Times reported that Kushner’s advocacy for pro-Israel policy positions stems in part from his family surviving the Holocaust and Nazi persecution. Growing up, Kushner learned about how his family had been persecuted by Nazis and thus learned that protecting Israel was essential to the survival of the Jewish people. The Times notes that Kusher has played a key role in shaping Trump’s policy agenda with regard to Israel. Kushner also played a key role in Trump’s recent executive order that protects Jewish students from anti-Semitism.
  • Kushner has been tasked with securing Trump’s biggest campaign promise: The construction of the border wall: Securing the Southern border and building a border wall to stop the massive flow of illegal aliens into the United States was Trump’s biggest promise during 2016. However, Trump’s promise has been stalled due to large partisan opposition and Democrat-appointed far-left activist judges who have issued numerous injunctions and rulings in effort to stop the administration. Trump has since turned to Kushner and instructed his son-in-law to make sure that it gets done.
Another criticism that Kushner has faced is that he does not possess enough relevant work experience to hold the position that he currently holds in the White House. However, Kushner’s business experience in real estate has helped him to secure trade deals that were central to the Trump administration, including:
  • Kushner was a key player in securing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA): U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told reporters in October 2018: “I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, this agreement would not have happened if it wasn’t for Jared.”
  • Kushner is a key player in securing new trade deals with China: After seeing how Kushner was successful in securing USMCA, Trump instructed him to work on getting a new trade deal secured with China, which Kushner was successful in achieving.
A third criticism that Kushner has faced is kind of combination of the first two criticisms. Kushner has had to deal with critics who have claimed that he does not have the political experience necessary to navigate the partisan nature of Washington, D.C., and does not understand what the Republican Party needs because he was supposedly too liberal. Again, Kushner’s track record silences his critics:
  • Kushner was a key player in securing Trump’s victory in 2016: As previously mentioned in this report, Kushner played a key role in Trump winning in 2016. Forbes reported in 2016: “A year ago he had zero experience in politics and about as much interest in it. Suddenly he sits at its global center. … No resources at the beginning, perhaps. Underfunded throughout, for sure. But by running the Trump campaign–notably, its secret data operation–like a Silicon Valley startup, Kushner eventually tipped the states that swung the election. And he did so in manner that will change the way future elections will be won and lost.”
  • Kushner worked with Democrats and Republicans to secure criminal justice reform, which expanded the tent of the Republican Party: The New York Times reported that Kushner was the “administration’s driving force behind the bill.” The bill’s passage has increased Trump’s approval rating among the black community, which is a key demographic for the Democrat Party. Recent polling from Emerson and Rasmussen Reports shows that Trump’s approval rating sits at 34%, which is up significantly from the 8% of black voters who voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
  • Kusher was deemed as such an asset to the Trump campaign in 2016 that he was asked to help Trump’s re-election campaign in 2020: The Washington Post reported last year that Kushner was Trump’s “hidden campaign hand” and that when campaign manager Brad Parscale wanted to talk fundraising strategy for the campaign that the first person he went to was Kushner. In his unofficial advisory role to the campaign, Kushner has instructed senior political advisers to the campaign to provide to him a 10-year plan for how Republicans can win over inner city voters, which demonstrates his keen political foresight in understanding where the GOP needs focus its energy to dominate the political landscape for future generations.
The other area that Kushner has dealt with criticism is in negative press over things he advised Trump on, which he was criticized over at the time but later turned out to be right on the issue.

By far the biggest criticism that Kushner has had to deal with was his support of Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, which eventually led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

While the decision was controversial at the time, in hindsight it was the correct move as Comey has since been found to have been an utter disgrace to the FBI with his leadership and for allowing his agency to engage in criminal conduct against Trump through its doctoring of evidence in the FISA process.

Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel summarized Comey’s time at the FBI by highlighting just a few of the damaging things that had been revealed about him, including the fact that he was “fired for cause; found guilty of ‘insubordinate’ acts (IG on Clinton case); found guilty of ‘dangerous’ behavior (IG on memo leak); in charge of an FBI that deceived the FISA court.”
Strassel’s tweet preempted Comey’s recent interview on Fox News where anchor Chris Wallace sliced and diced him on national television.

Kushner’s successes for the administration, while often ignored by the media, have been noticed by all the right people in Trump world.

One of Kushner’s biggest defenders is the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., who said, “Jared has defied his critics every step of the way. They attacked him on the campaign, but he never wavered and helped my dad build an innovative campaign operation unlike anything that’d ever existed before—and we won. The attacks have continued in the West Wing but he’s kept delivering for the President’s agenda, and for the American people.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) also championed Kushner’s work, saying, “Jared has been a consistent, principled fighter not just for the president’s agenda, but most importantly for America. Intelligent and determined, his presence in the West Wing has been critically important and effective.”

David Friedman, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, also spoke highly of Kushner, saying, “For decades the conventional wisdom was that there were limits on how much the U.S. could support Israel, notwithstanding that Israel was America’s greatest friend and ally in the Middle East. Jared broke that flawed paradigm: we worked together to properly realign and strengthen the U.S. relationship with Israel while Jared simultaneously helped to guide and strengthen our other relationships in the region.”

“Jared disproved the ‘zero sum game’ theory that a stronger relationship with Israel meant a weaker U.S. presence in the Gulf,” Friedman added. “He showed that the U.S. can be stronger on all fronts.”

Cliff Sims, former campaign aide and former Special Assistant to the President, said, “From criminal justice reform to the USMCA to overhauling the VA, when Jared puts his focus and energy into something, his track record shows he gets it done. It’s hard to take his critics seriously when the results so easily prove his effectiveness.”

A source close to former White House strategist Steve Bannon added, “Most of the negative press that Jared got hit with after the election came from Steve Bannon and his allies. We now know that Steve was pushing lies. Steve ended up losing a lot of friends and Jared earned a whole new army of allies. I guess Steve isn’t the brilliant strategist that he fancies himself.”

Another crucial champion is Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, who is close with the Trump administration and focused on making the Republican Party attractive to young voters.

“Jared has been relentless in helping fulfill the president’s agenda,” Kirk said. “He has done more for this country in three short years than the entire entrenched political class has done in the last 40 years.”

UPDATE 2/18/2020 at 7:31pm: Added tweets below.
UPDATE 2/18/20 at 11:01pm: Added tweets below.
UPDATE 2/21/2020 at 1:47pm: Added info below.

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