« Reveal

All the President’s Pardons (Update)

2020-12-12 | 🔗

President Donald Trump has granted clemency to several controversial people, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s friend and political operative Roger Stone. But what about the people who have applied through the official process and are waiting for answers? We go beyond the headlines and tell the story of a pardons system that’s completely broken down. In 2019, we focused on the case of Charles “Duke” Tanner, a former boxer who was sentenced to life in federal prison after being convicted of drug trafficking. His arrest came during the war on drugs, which started in the 1980s, disproportionately putting tens of thousands of Black men in prison for decades. Tanner applied for clemency twice, his application just one among 13,000 others waiting for a decision at the federal Office of the Pardon Attorney when our show first aired. In this episode, we learn what happened after the president heard about Tanner’s case.

Next, we look at why the mechanism for granting pardons has stopped functioning. We meet a pardons advocate and a former staff member of the pardon attorney’s office and learn that the system stalled after then-President Barack Obama attempted to reduce mass incarcerations from the war on drugs. The pardon attorney’s office has been without leadership for more than four years, and the Trump White House is largely ignoring its recommendations. 

We end our show by looking at the rarest of pardons: when the person receiving a pardon is the president. Trump has tweeted that he has the authority to pardon himself, a concept that first was discussed during the Nixon administration. In that case, former President Richard Nixon eventually was pardoned by the next president, Gerald Ford. In this story, we hear Ford explain in his own words why he decided to pardon his predecessor.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey? Hey, hey it's out here and if, though, every year they needed investigative reporting, my friends, twenty twenty. Is it a global pandemic, inequality, racism and threats to the very core of our democracy? On top of all of that, since two thousand eight newsrooms across the country have been decimated, laying off close to a quarter of their staff. Not only is journalism struggling, it's been under attack and reveal. We tell stories and no one else is telling, and we do it with heart and soul are reporting changes, pause in lives. That's why we are asking you to support our brand of investigative journalist, its expensive We can't do this work without your help. Be art of a movement that is me People's lives better. This year, facts
from now, until the end of twenty twenty, if you donate at least eleven dollars a month, you receive are facts, t shirt and Europe. contribution will help make this work possible, just text reveal to four seven four, seven, four seven states data rate supply and you can take stop at any time again to support the work. We do just Next? The word reveal to four seven, four, seven for seven and remember The only way forward is together. From the centre for investigative affording MP are ex. This is reveal an outlet like a lot of people. You might be wondering who president tromp pardon next just before Thanksgiving, he pardoned his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, finalize convicted actor.
A special council robber mowers, investigation for lying to the FBI there's been talk about from giving pardons to his children before he leaves office. and to his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, whose ukrainian business dealings have been investigated by federal prosecutors already Giuliani is denying reports that he is seeking a pre emptive pardon from President Trot, there's even a Justice department investigation. looking into a possible bride for pardon escape or to individuals, lobby top White House officials on behalf of another person who is seeking a parted, so vice president Tromp has granted clemency to forty two people. Many those cases have been controversial, he's pardoned friends, political allies and reliable celebrities to help make his decisions. Should I granting the request made by reality star Kim Kardashian. After her visit to the White House, this almost king, like power, comes from the constitution, article two section to close
one says, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against United States, except in cases of impeachment. In today's English, granting clemency, can mean one of two things: there's a pardon which wiped someone's record clean, and after they ve already left prison. They get their civil rights, backed the right to vote. They can even on a firearm, then there's a commutation of sentence where the president, let you out of prison, but you still have a criminal record. The president's power to pardon can not be undone like with his former camps, an adviser, Roger Stone he'd, been sentenced a forty months in prison for witness tampering, an obstruction of justice related to the mother investigation, but once tromp freedom, it was a done deal right, just our credit properly, but this
another story, one that hasn't been in the headlines as much. It's a story of people who are trying to get clemency from the President folks, who have gone through the official process and are waiting for answers we brought you one of those stories when the show first aired in the summer of twenty nineteen and has been a major development. In that case, the story begins in the rain. It's a summer night, two thousand and three and the civic centre. Hemming Indiana is full of people. They had watched the fires in the end up George Party Boy, Its takes on the undisputed. Far off do Tanner the battles being broadcast on National tv and that's a big deal for the upcoming boxers. Charles do tenor and George twenty boy. Late both from India. A meeting in the ring for the first time stiff tanner in rocks
beaten at seventeen it no everywhere his entourage goes, you can hear him. Channing who's got next. This nickname Why slogan is I got next, the two men into the ring touch glass, honey boy is small It is rather the frenetic pace, Duke, what's sound in his things, his knapsack left Jeff over of approaches. Company could Santos staff it bearing way that job they do explore If the motion, the living body, shots in combination do catches him with a solid right, then chases, please rained down big punches. It looks like he's going for the Knacker, but please doesn't go down by the, round. They both looked guessed the holding.
when winded dripping with sweat. The fight goes for ten rounds and in the end, winter. Charles do the decision goes to Duke it's been receipts. Ten years since the fight and Charles do Tanner has been most of their time in federal prison. Let's call it travel an innate at a federal prison. Let's call it recorded and subject to monitoring, hang up to decline, a call to accept the dial five. Now they do go you don't
A lot was going on around the time of that fight. Duke was twenty three years old hometown here from Gary Indiana. He came up for the police athletic. It leaks boxing programme. golden gloves. He went on to a nineteen o professional career before it all came crashing down moment all my life. I was, I saw so much when trying to keep my family and friends. in a moment when our code, on the one hand, say reminding Duke, was involved in drug trafficking and he got caught in the sting by the king response investigating the state and federal Testword they use Duke of running a criminal organisation called the renegades. That's old crack powder, cocaine marijuana
at a time when our role on the way home long way home and boil it would have been in a duke the two licences. Without the possibility of Peru, dukes arisen, in two thousand and four and is to life. Senses were part of a man. because war on drugs, drugs or menacing, our society, which was launched by Ronald Reagan in the nineteen eighties. Threatening our values and under cutting our institutions, their killing. Our children Congress passed a bunch of tough on crime bills like the end drug abuse act? Last year alone, over ten thousand drug criminals were convicted and nearly two hundred and fifty million dollars of their assets were seized. By the d, a nuisance guidelines and mandatory minimums put first time offenders away for decades, and there was nothing judges could do about it, even if they thought the sentence was too harsh, then came the crime bill of
Eighteen, ninety four: when this bill is law, three strikes in Europe will be the law, the Lamb, the penalty killing a law enforcement officers will be there. Three strikes laws.
a lot of nonviolent drug offenders to the growing federal prison population. So let me sum it up. When Ronald Reagan took office, there were about twenty six thousand people in federal prison. Today there are more than a hundred and eighty thousand and African Americans are twenty times more likely to be sentenced to life without role for a non violent crime than white convicts. Mark Ostler thinks that drug sensing laws that error or unfair federal prosecutor in Detroit from eighteen, ninety five, two thousand, which meant that a lot of crack cases. Never why I stop believing in the senses who we were getting. There is a hundred one ratio back then, between crack and powder cocaine create an incredibly long sentences for crack mark stopping a prosecutor and started fighting sent
sing loss. He took it all the way to the Supreme Court specifically working to change their ratio of a hundred one in and crack sensing, and we won into those nine on one occasion. The Supreme Court in States versus spears, no Supreme Court held that sense hinges categorically reject that ratio. The next year Congress change the law so that senses for crack cocaine were more line with powder cocaine, but it didn't apply to people who had already been convicted. That's how I garnish Inclemency is looking for a way to make a new law apply to people who are running away in prison or a sensing rule that was now gone
and it wasn't just the sentencing. It was the way the drug war led to mass incarceration and how a disproportionately affected african american men in do tenors case. He got life even though it was his first offence and it was not violent is again Charles did Tanner, who the framers of the constitution had in mind when they put together the party in power in the first place, we who do you think was made for I think it was made for exceptional circumstances, either broadly or individually. It was kind of a social safety valve in a way that, if something felt unfair that it was way of addressing down unfairness, whether was one person or many The case against Duke and the renegades was built with the collaboration of a new format. Who'd been caught with drugs and a guy
that man wore wire and set up a phoney drug deal? He showed up with duffel bag and cooler filled with face cocaine, as soon as do took the containers and put them in the back of his girlfriend grandam his life change forever. All that to say for Charles Do Tanner, who was sentenced to life in federal prison, there's only one per in the world, with the power to get him out you see to the presidency the term directly upon how can we based our for change, hope and the possibility of making a miracle on me
No, no. I plan on finding me just to be able to begin. I wanted championship of life, you not a mean shared it back with other keys, is coming up and not make the mistake of Iraqis. Do two things about them in landing me pretty so to me many times and you play for prison took whimsy October, two thousand and fourteen there now get a new one October. Twenty cleaned me right now: there's a system has been in place for a hundred and twenty five years to process clemency request
Like dukes, it's called the Pardon attorney's office and its a part of the Department of Justice. They make recommendations to the White House. It's we're. Dukes application went first sale. Morrison is a lawyer who worked in that office for thirteen years. It's a mess of trying to look at the whole person SAM used to review applications. Now you represents clients trying to it clemency. The criteria in general would be things like one. What is the nature of the offence? How serious was it? Was there a victim? How long ago did it occur? What, if any other criminal record does the apple can have What is their reputation in the community to the extent that weaken we could die? you know determine that all those things go into the mix duke seems to fit the criteria.
he's a non violent. First time offender he completed over a thousand hours of educational programmes in prison. He mentored other prisoners do gathered eighty one thousand signatures on a petition. in a letter of support from the mayor of his home town Gary Indiana. All these factors should work in his favour with the lawyers at the Justice Department, because, if you convince them that you are not a risk receipt of aid and that you have the right attitude that you accept responsibility for what you did and so on. And they give you a favourable recommendation. Well, that's all the president typically is know about the case, and so very likely to get apart. Trouble course has been different. Trump has been a bit of a departure from the norm in the last fifty sixty years, at least none The pardons or commutation city stranded thus far have gone through the normal advisory process. If you go to the
carbon of justices website and count the clemency, petitions that are waiting for answers. There are more than thirteen thousand other waiting for yes or no tromp inherited most of their back love from the Obama administration and in a few minutes, were going to explain how that happened, but for now
you need to know is that this is a record breaking number crazy number. President Reagan took office only about five hundred people were waiting for an answer of their clemency request now. Poor with thirteen thousand was at me for the people behind bars were waiting one among many more red programme. We are not told me to know why you run away. Why,
Monday, our women. We are working on it. We may know I'm on a magnet for pregnant. I mean everyone, you not a mean, and what does that mean? it twenty sixteen Duke sentence was reduced to thirty years after changes were made to federal sensing guidelines, but he still had nearly twelve years left to serve for Duke and thousands of others locked up in federal prison. The chance of presidential clemency provides a ray of hope,
and just like that, his phone calls cut off, praying in waiting, there's nothing. Chelsea can do at this point, but there are other people who are trying to do something. I've got so many who have double life sentences, life sentences for a first offense, and that should be the biggest red flag of all for a society and clemency is really. The only thing is that can correct a huge problem on a big scale.
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like out into the cabin torture, with the motto nothing Rog of his funny is hosted by my husband, raw and my wife care. You can still new episodes five days a week Saturday through ways they re on standby in the center for investigative reporting in p r. Ex this is reveal analogy today, we're talking about presidential clemency when we first, the show back in twenty nineteen. Charles do tenor of former pro boxer was serving thirty year sentence in federal prison for a non violent first time drug offence. He found a petition with the partner attorney's office and was waiting like thirteen thousand other people, for NEWS from the president, and there were a lot of people rooting for Do Tanner, including Amy Polar waved, sank in there
clemency petition as you now and then the supplemental she's on the phone do great now, because we're after from prison, Amy helped Duke file his most recent application for clemency. Then so here and tell her painting, I return. I beg return of, did Tanner Light Heavyweight back, Sir back in the ring. Well, I'd better, have a front row see. Well, I can't wait wounds, I'd, Amy's, dining room overcast day Malibu. California is a makeshift office covered with stacks of paper boxes full of letters from
prisoners and their supporters. Amy runs a volunteer. Nonprofit called the can do clemency foundation. She started to help women serving life sentences for non violent drug crimes. Now she's having men get clemency to nonviolent drug offenders like Duke over the years. She's helped a lot of people she's work with them to fill. Our petitions collect letters, a support, she's even held vigils in front of the White House, call she serving life without parole in standing in front of the White House, holding a big blow up photo of woman in Josephine Ledesma Amy Cause of Josie in the picture Josie is wearing maroon capping, gown from one of the many programmes she completed in prison or twenty years time
Children on human cloning may now. Her kids have kids, Josie got ten grandchildren just like, Duke Josie, was sentenced to life in prison for drug trafficking. It was her first offence, a non violent crime, Josie and Duke or two who are the dozens of people Amy's working with to get clemency. I've got so many who have double life sentences, life sentences for first offence, and that should be the biggest red flag of all for a society, and clemency is really The only thing that can correct a huge problem on a big scale. People come out of prison every single day who
committed murder, arson or bank robber year, all kinds of different crimes who get less time than a lot of people serving life for pie, and they ve got more time than somebody who has priors and has raped and even killed somebody Most of the people she's helping, are in prison because of the war on drugs, when it started in the nineteen eighties about thirty thousand people were in federal prisons by Prs, no bombers, first year in office that number had ballooned to more than two hundred thousand Obama saw this as a problem. So in twenty fourteen he started something called the clemency project. It does not make sense for a non binding. Drug offender to be getting twenty years. Thirty
In some cases, life in prison, the clemency project was designed to get nonviolent first time. Drug offenders out of prison after they paid their to society. It is my strong belief that by exercising these, central powers as a chance to show people what a second chance can look like under the programme. Obama did lead a lot of people out of prison. He about one thousand, seven hundred and fifteen computations of sense compared to George W Bush, who only gave out eleven, but even with the clemency project, a lot of people who met the criteria We're not released. Very early army started seeing perfect candidates getting denied women who are first offenders, who were minor participants and right then I was just like this
This is not going well. It was kind of hit her miss that same Orson, who we heard from earlier. He worked in the Pardon attorney's office from nineteen ninety seven to two thousand ten. He ground did. It was seventeen hundred in something commutation, that's a big number, but nodding Harrison to the size, the federal prison population? It's not a big number he could eat. We have granted twenty thousand, not seventeen hundred it to drop, and compared to the number of people who, on the face of it qualified one of the cases that was rejected was the boxer Charles, Duke tenor.
No less push, but is also we put it in September. A sixteen are guided by they didn't give me a reason. Why did you say you have one year found were now my only called offending? Who would try when we got growing so you know, is a big deal to swallow for me on that one? What do you think you denied, if you put it in good on actually call defending what he was in a programme of finger, but he got in Colombia what a lot of people get it and they didn't fit all problems, but they don't run aground the gains of clemency Brody.
fourteen who got help in who didn't. It is frustrating for a lot of people, including the Pardon attorney at the time there were left she was. I did twenty sixteen, she wrote a letter saying her office was under funded and understaffed and that the White house lawyers warrant taking her recommendations there hasn't been. Pardon attorney since she left just string of acting pardon attorneys than inherited the backlog. She simply wasn't given the resources to do what she, ostensibly was supposed to be doing so. She got frost evidence that I'm not gonna do this anymore. So Orson says those acting pardon attorneys are still making recommendations, but most of the time the White House and paying attention If the, why does is ignoring the recommendations of the Pardon attorney's office? What's the point of having one I mean, are we just burning taxpayer they. They wouldn't give us an interview, it's kind of a black box yeah, that's that's intentional. They wanted to be a black box,
but I mean you're right. If you can ignore them, then it's kind of a pointless exercise. I now we're just a little north of thirteen thousand petitions that the Justice Department descending into the way house. So what does that mean amino? Are these petitions? Just sitting in, or somewhere in the White House is anything gonna happen to move through all of these petitions. It doesn't They're all yet at the White House said, those cases are all be at one stage or another of the investigation process eventually, a recommendation will be written in each one and it will make its way to the White House. that doesn't mean they're all their yet, and I can't tell you and the Justice Department won't tell you we are all those cases are at any particular time. So we Dont know how many those were at the White House right now,
Amy Poverty knows what it's like to ask for clemency into wait, while a petition works its way through the system. that's because, as a young woman, she was sentenced to twenty four years in federal prison for conspiracy to traffic. Narcotics with conspiracy, even if you dont salad, even if you don't imported, if you're associated with somebody who does the consumer see long. That's the trigger word in Amy's gaze, her ex husband ran in ecstasy operation. manufacturing millions of pills of party drugs. Now here caught in the early nineties and cooperated with law enforcement and only four years in prison. Amy, on the other hand, was not directly involved with the drug business
But after her husband was arrested, she collected some of the drug money. She did not cooperate with the FBI and got sentenced to twenty four years. Amy was sent to F C. I Dublin Federal prison in northern California. She remembers a phone call with her mother, not long after she got there. I wasn't expecting to break down I just completely broke down and then my mom was like white. What's the matter? What's the matter because I was crying, I just remembered almost screaming, like hype, After nine years behind bars, Amy gets called into a case manages office. As she makes a way through the prism, she fears the worst. So I just kept thinking how my guy, you know, What what could have gone wrong? Maybe more
Dad may be something wrong with them. Her case manager was frazzled. She said, I need you to sit down. I've got a set you up on probation and I'm gonna do that I gotta do that. Gonna make an airplane reservation for you, and I said why and she's just looked me to some you're going home. Those three words fight what she said. violations that he received clemency, and I have to have you out here by five o clock, so she kept telling me to sit down and I would sit down and then Papa might cheer like a jack of Papa Amy Sins was commuted by President Bill Clinton in two thousand. She had put in an application a few years earlier and after nearly a decade, me was suddenly free, so it says to all to whom these presents shall come. Greed.
She's reading from the actual sign, clemency document, it's what you expect from such a grand declaration of freedom, faded cream, colored paper, signature and black ink. A gold seal presidential clemency petitions are something Amy's garden very familiar with over the years, both in prison and after she was freed. As an advocate for other people. Trying to get one Amy thinks do. Tanner has a strong case for clemency. They talk a lot sometimes twice a day
Shocking, Amelia, shocked. The world will not dimension it's Thursday afternoon and there is a lot going on at aims. You're not gonna, believe this now he's got. I shouldn't have taken your call because jealousies arriving the phone call is interrupted. Amy's got a visitor. She hid through the back door and walks down a few steps long list. we made it. Yours, Orang its Josie with desire the
in a me was trying to get out of prison at that White House vigil last time they saw each other. There was serving time together in federal prison that was nineteen years ago, explaining this only goodness fund. We able to drive now, especially out here I didn't notice exist at its core guy Josie was released by President Obama after twenty four years behind bars Some. journey. Yes, definitely The two women work inside and sit at Amy's kitchen table posters with faces of prisoners? leaning against the Wall Amy and to the lucky ones, most people who apply dont, get clemency. Its asked them to me to be out to be able to try and filled the air
at my face and people to Jesse freedom. But one of my pains is that I still people in that I love sisters, people that I go up with that are still in their I've, had a chance to come on I think they deserve a chance to come home, also a chance to come home. That's what Amy Josie want for the non violent prisoners of the war on drugs. People like Duke his son, Charles the third, with just two years old, when do got locked up. I simply released from prison. This is a video. Duke Sun made and posted to you too. Needless dig, you really here. I was, I was mistaken, progressive and I feel like you, never do it again, There has been an hour later was as our younger relationship help me every step of the way he owes me and my friends, he told me right or wrong. I will just play
I want you to release my father from present. Thank you. What is it been like? Being apart from and not being able to be. There is a grocer wash wash. do you know me in their physical, be there for how to teach them how to pass you. You know how to drive. see him managed. Boys know just teach no man, a man, you know, but I didn't, like Britain, stop at our youth every tool that we have for the phone and e mail never visited riches mine which we have a beautiful relationship. It'd, be there with him. You know to give him ready to send out to the college and become a real room
yeah I'm showing how do I saw so much from its walls. So that's where we left it back in the summer of twenty nineteen, which seems like for ever ago, a little over a year goes by. We don't hear much Duke and then something unexpected. Vox you're from Gary in Vienna serving life in prison is now instead of free. May president granted him clemming safe on the twenty first of October, president Tromp, commuted Duke since Dupe, walked out of the prison in Pennsylvania. That same day, the next morning reveal producer Michael Schiller caught up with Duke on the phone he was at. The airport, but in Philadelphia waiting for flight home workers do was gone. Oh my landlady man finally came.
Man, I'm so happy for you, that's wonderful, wonderful haste, Right now. Man, great man, I'm sitting next to while you know so show it was easy If a great failure may not have already made me no real. You know about immigration in the long without wanted. You got to drastically it's my turn, I see come out, so why do ten out of the thirteen thousand people waiting the Pardon attorney's office didn't respond when we ask do credits Amy pull over another supporters for getting the attention of the White House, we know he was one Five nonviolent offenders serving long sentences who release that day. It was less than two weeks before the election. A video of Duke reuniting with his son, ended up in a camp. Add four drop. This moment was sixteen years in may gain Charles.
Luke Tanner embracing his eighteen year old son. A few weeks later, I checked with Duke just to see how is adjusting the life man. It is it's good to see you the flesh view zoom. I am I property, the glory be the guy, maybe to be it the. How does it feel to come home like what? What did that feel like how is this actually I'm the conversation about my freedom and it was like some people like feel like is not real, but I feel is real. I know I'm here, I don't free. Can you walk me through what happened? I was going through a normal day, so I'm just sitting in my cell waiting for the count declared ago used the email you know, use the phone call on Monday am I a case manager here, man, a cobbler, the opposition.
They may say we need to talk to you in the back. I'm like you know, when more than one office to come use is trouble, but I know I hadn't done anything. So I walk to the back and the guy say we got to get you out of here. Get me out of here where I'm going, and he said the President and off on your payment see a couple hours ago and you getting immediate release. Then you can't even go back to yourself, because you know supposed to be here and once again you know how to start praying and I was sweating and next thing you know I was in the hotel free wow. It must be complex to get out of prison and to be given clemency. You by President Donald Trump and to come home and the political storm that's happening all over the country. What is that feel like to be kind of in the centre that store our may our man of fate?
I'm a man integrity. I fear that I was raised right. I am your gratitude to her gratitude is deserve and what you ve done for me down a J trunk the day when he released me back to Martha nothing else on this earth, but the rest of my life could overcome their failure. If you look at what happened, it wasn't just about clemency. He gave me a second chance and there's big in politics. Tempt me, So how is it being back with his son ass, a beautiful day? You know it's like he's. Driver had been driving around in other he's call itself it is about an hour and a half away, but he he comes home on a weekend and we need to spend time together, Still on each other, we I'm fine, and I have some I don't get, know your nerves and know that you're not getting on my nerves now collar
play the morning, I'm still on I'm pregnant. I'm I wake up at five hundred and thirteen I get a phone. I call a break. I'm going to try to like three hours late much in order to get to see him now he is still. There was a beautiful day day. plans for the holidays in August. I wanna get everybody together whereby decide to eat I'm everywhere that I said and now I just wanna, let everybody no had they fulfil ire. Play down for me. While I was away and the best gift that they gave me was a prayers as well, as I think where I am to be back to make them proud of me again and be success. in my ways you know- and I dare say in a joy to food, it give it a go to train again, hear things I came back and rain has there now. Hopefully they come up with a vaccine. So am I goliaths at him? First, Twenty one stemmer put back in a ring again yesterday I got locked up and was taken away sixty years ago. So I'd be seventy.
It is evident that are checking to see a bicycle. God will listen on that day. I will be ring I hope you, let me know what is happening, and I will I, where it is, I will fly, be there be ring, said, don't blame you don't go to the battle because it might be a quick night. They you go there, you go we'll be following dukes returned a professional boxing and watching what happens with the ongoing fight for presidential clemency. There are still more than thirteen thousand petitions, getting at the Pardon attorney's office waiting for decision the elephant in the room these days with President Trump trying pardoned himself when we come back, we hear from one man who pardoned an american president, Weber MAX,
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you. Yes, you thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the centre for investigative aborting. Mp are ex. This is reveal an alleged today talking about presidential clemency. The power the president has to set people free from federal prison or scrub their record clean if they ve gotten out. President Trump has granted clemency to forty two people, a lot fewer than Barack Obama, a lot more than George W Bush, but while the number may not be remarkable, the way Trump talks about pardons is the word pardon
appeared in the Mulder Report sixty three times it describes how pardons were discussed for trumps. Former lawyer, Michael Cohen, and former campaign chair Paul man afford both were convicted of felons but talk. Pardons, has only been about trumps associates in June of twenty eighteen from the president. This week, tromp, even tweeted, and he has been quote absolute right upon pardon himself. He goes on to write, But why would I, when I've done nothing wrong as outrageous as a president, pardon himself may sound this isn't the first time it's come up. I think back to the 70s and Watergate the burglars broke through a fire escape door that led to the committee's offices, democratic official today out a series of meetings to talk about tighter security, the break in at the office of the Democrats. National Committee and the Nixon administration's attempts to cover it up threatened to bring down the president there was an investigation, scented hearings and, in March of nineteen, seventy four,
Injurie indicted several of Richard Nixon AIDS of trying to interfere with the Watergate Investigation and secretly, there had been a vote, by the grand jury to characterize Nixon as an unindicted, co, conspirator and obstruction of Justice, Dan Cobo is a professor of law. Capital University in Ohio Dance is in the final days of Nixon Why does aids are starting to think about the president's exit strategy? This is when Nixon goes from being the person who grand Spartans to someone who could benefit from Wi Fi, mention of a pardon for Nixon comes on August. First, when Secretary stayed out, hey calls a meeting with the vice President Jail Ford, Nay to remember this is Ford, as vice president, who has no role in part not at all, and so he's got here-
giving him a hand, written document that says that a president can pardon prior to indictment in the federal system. Hague spells out a few options. Any tells Ford that the president can part himself or be pardoned by his successor. Ford is surprised by this and for good reason. It's the first time. A! U S, president, has ever tested the waters of pardoning himself, but never comes to that. Instead, on August eighteen, nineteen, twenty four good ailing. This is the thirty some time I have spoken to you from this office facing possible impeachment. Richard Nixon resides therefore I shall resign. The presidency effective that known tomorrow vice president for obesity,
an earnest president at that our in this office Ford becomes president and his eager to put Nixon behind him Fellow Americans are long, national nightmare is over. He wants to get work on problems. His administration has inherited unemployment, high inflation and domestic energy crisis, but the country is still obsessed with Watergate. The public wants to know what will happen in Nixon almost a month into his presidency, or does what he never imagine doing serious allegation. Reason accusations, hey like a sword over our former presidents. Have he pardons Nixon to the Party in power conferred upon me by the constitution have granted and by these presents, to grant a fool. Free and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon
for all of answers against the United States, which years later as law, professor writing about clemency dancer. This move as the most constitutionally significant pardon in: U S, history, any thought, wouldn't it be called Ass Ford Why, in the end he decided to do it or an owl, perhaps have a law when we first air the show last year it was the first time this two thousand and one interview was made public shocking geared towards is when he first came into office. He wasn't leaning towards pardoning Nixon. Then came his first presidential pressing France on August twenty eight nineteen sixty four down after noon. The outset I am, he felt that
the country had a number of significant economic problems, foreign policy problems and yet the only questions that the press seem to be interested in his view, pertain to what will happen to Richard Nixon. I just wonder how are you sure that the option one option that you will consider depending on. Of course, I make the final decision I returned from a press conference where I was convinced that The only way to solve the problem was to think about granting apart and that your first press conference, where he had terrible part in question
So I went back to the oval office and, as I recall, Phil Fuca till bilking was chief warehouse lily. explore my authority in the first place, and to report back to me, because I was very frank- I was considering also providing provided what I thought was necessary. Getting muster. Nixon's problems off. My dad's press conference really triggered Europe here, realistic confederation, right off the bat. Absolutely I was dismayed that the press was open
preoccupied with the eye could visualize every press conference that followed for the next number of mines would be the same, and I thought that was unfortunate from countries point of view. Food was by the public, wanted a resolution. Nixon was threatening to plead not guilty if he was prosecuted promising to drag a messy trials in the core president you're on some amusement of the White House suddenly the Sunday morning and announced that he would granting a full free and absolute pardon to former president calling the man in the moon called of my life. Ever my Adobe, this oral failing, then Papa
sorry to restaurant action grain therewith The lack of understanding and the truth stamps away and turned out of public money leaders, including dear friend, does not understand the tie. His very dear friend, who had been his press secretary for years resigned when he granted the pardoned next he asked him not to resign, but the day that he did that he said I cannot for you any longer and he resigned, and that was a huge personal loss to Ford. So he got tremendous pushed back. I think for having granted the pardon. Do you think he expected enemy?
is it such a controversial decision? Even looking back now mean did Ford understand the consequences of that. Vision? He knew that there were so many people who hated Richard Nixon, who had never forgive him for pardoning him. He suggested that he wanted to grant the pardon quickly because it was like ripping a bandage off a wound. Better to do it quickly and get the pain out at once, rather than do it slowly or a drag it out and the outcry wasn't me, so the pardon alone, I was criticised that I didn't get mission by President Nixon. It was an air and so forth, but didn't look at it that way,
one of the very interesting personal facts about Ford is that he for the rest of his life captain his wallet a page from an opinion of the Supreme Court in a case called Burdick verses I did states on my part to carry with men. Let me try to find a verdict case. Josh this found that a pardon quote carries an impede of killed, comma acceptance, comma a confession: and so, whether Nixon great till the pardon The fact that accepted a confession.
I only came away from my interview with him convinced that he had acted out of principle. He did what he believed was best for the country, as opposed to best for himself and in fact the fact that critics who had said that he had done the wrong thing with Nixon in retrospect. Had change their mind and said that Ford had done the right thing for the country. Were you ever worried that maybe Nixon had done anything else, but you didn't know about pardoning import levy
Wonderful that with enough that other word regiment, just booth was there was ample these in view of prison forward as from two thousand and one for best waves. Five years later at the age of ninety three, Ali producer for this week show was Michael. I Schiller the Nixon Ford segment was produced by Anna Hamilton, so I can tell him he's headed to the show thanks Melissa Lewis, for help with the data to associate producer, Najiba meaning and to our production manager and Mustafa Victoria Baranetsky general Council original score and sound designed by the dynamic, do o J, breezy Mister Jimmy
eggs and Fernando my man, Yo Aruba, then held this week from bread? Simpson, our digital producer, Sarah Merk, are ceo whiskers sharper. Miss Thompson is our editor in chief executive producer is Kevin. Solving a theme music is by comrade lightning support for reveals provided by the Raven David Logan Foundation, the John, the encampment Macarthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Fort Foundation, the Housing Simons Foundation, the democracy fund and the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation reveal is a co production of the centre for investigative reporting. Mp are I'm outlets and remember. There is always more to the story.
Transcript generated on 2020-12-19.