President Trump made big news Thursday through his power to issue pardons and commute sentences. First, he announced that he would issue a full pardon to conservative firebrand Dinesh D'Souza, who once pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations. Hours later came two higher-profile names: Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he might pardon Martha Stewart and free former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich from prison, reports the AP. Details and developments:
- D'Souza: "He was treated very unfairly by our government!" Trump tweeted. In 2014, D'Souza received five years' probation and a $30,000 fine after prosecutors say he used "straw donors," reports the Washington Post. That is, prosecutors say he got people to donate money to the GOP New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012 with the understanding that he would reimburse them.
- His background: The 57-year-old is a best-selling author and filmmaker who was one of President Obama's most vocal critics. He also went after Hillary Clinton frequently. See this trailer for his Hillary's America for a taste. He has a "penchant for trolling and needling liberals," writes Dylan Matthews in a profile at Vox. D'Souza has long maintained that he was prosecuted because of his politics, and he was gloating publicly at the expense of former US attorney Preet Bharara Thursday, notes the New York Post, which collects the related tweets.