The controversial right-wing filmmaker and pundit Dinesh D'Souza told Fox & Friends that President Trump urged him to "be a bigger voice than ever" in a call informing him he'll be pardoned for his felony conviction over making illegal campaign contributions. The case drew national attention in part because his crimes were related to an attempt to sell President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.
A frequent complaint repeated Thursday was that Trump bypassed the normal procedures for considering clemency, a process that typically involves investigation by the government's pardon attorney and input from judges and prosecutors who participated in the cases.
Setting the new case apart from the others: D'Souza had actually pleaded guilty to the charges against him ― making his pardon, say Trump critics, a clear sign to the handful of former Trump aides who have pleaded guilty in the Russian Federation probe and are now cooperating with Mueller's team.
And on Wednesday, he met with reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who urged him to pardon Alice Marie Johnson, a woman serving a life sentence for drug offenses. Trump and Stewart later had a falling out, leading to public quarrels between the two reality stars. "The President has the right to pardon but the facts are these", Bharara said on Twitter.
D'Souza thanked those who urged Trump to pardon him, and took a swipe at Preet Bharara, the USA attorney who prosecuted him. "Giuliani mentioned her case when discussing why they refuse an interview". D'Souza, who spent eight months in a halfway house in San Diego, said he was grateful he is no longer labeled a felon and can vote again.
A tweet sent out by Kardashian West about her visit was later retweeted by Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
She said she had been heartened by the suggestion that Trump might pardon her husband, even after Obama, a member of Blagojevich's own party, had declined to do so.
Trump also pardoned Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former vice president Dick Cheney's chief-of-staff who was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury, and Kristian Saucier, a US Navy sailor convicted of taking photos inside a nuclear submarine without permission. "Then he got fired & I got pardoned", D'Souza wrote.
D'Souza, who made the documentary "2016: Obama's America, " entered the plea a week after the federal judge overseeing his case rejected his claim that he was selectively prosecuted. "The career prosecutors and agents did their job".
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was unfair to suggest the only people winning pardons under Trump are those connected to him or with a celebrity backer.