Offhand, I can’t name a single person more embroiled in more scandal, investigation, and possible prosecution than former President Donald Trump.
The guy has several pending issues – not to mention the dozens of resolved issues, i.e., two impeachments.
Throughout much of Trump’s public life, and certainly his political life, he has seemed impervious to controversy – at times even managing to benefit from controversy.
But now, with the scandals and related drama adding up (and scandal-free challengers rising), Trump’s stock is falling. Voters may finally be tired of the scandals.
Donald Trump Has Serious Problems
Yet another Trump drama appears to be unfolding.
Congressional Democrats are now inquiring as to whether Trump pardoned two Oregon ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven Hammond, after receiving a campaign donation from an Arizona real estate developer.
As Maxine Bernstein of the Oregonian reported, “the chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources and a subcommittee chair” wrote a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, writing “that material obtained from another inquiry suggested that real estate developer Michael Ingram used his “unique access” to high-ranking Trump administration officials to advocate for the Hammond pardons.”
What happened exactly?
In May 2018, Ingram’s assistant emailed a top official in the Department of Interior, lobbying for the Hammonds’ pardon.
The email included two articles about the Hammonds’ case, plus an op-ed advocating for pardons.
In July 2018, Representative Greg Walden (R-Or.) wrote on Twitter to say that “President Trump called me to say he is ‘seriously considering’ pardoning Dwight and Steven Hammond.” Then, the next day, Ingram donated $10,000 to the America First Action, Inc. – the “Official Pro-Trump Super PAC.”
About a week later, Trump signed pardons for both Hammonds.
The Hammonds “walked out of a federal prison in California and stepped off a private jet in Burns [Oregon].” The two men had been serving five-year sentences for setting fire to public land where they had grazing rights. The Hammonds case, in part, inspired the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which garnered national attention.
The timing of the donations, relative to the pardons, has raised questions – questions that two congressional members are now asking.
“The letter requests all communications relating to Dwight Hammond Jr. or Steven Hammond between Ingram, any White House personnel and lawyers who represented the Hammonds, including Portland attorney Larence Matasar and Portland’ Random & Blackman law firm,” Bernstein reported.
Trump’s Other Problems
The blooming bribery scandal is pretty mild relative to the other scandals Trump is sorting through.
The Department of Justice is considering whether to bring criminal charges against Trump – in two separate matters. In the first, is Trump’s involvement in the January 6th riots. The House’s January 6th Committee just wrapped up an eighteen-month investigation with formal referrals to the DOJ that recommended Trump be prosecuted for insurrection, amongst other things. Attorney General Merrick Garland will need to decide whether to actually bring charges.
And in the second matter, Garland will need to decide whether to bring charges against Trump for mishandling classified documents. In August, the FBI uncovered classified documents in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. However, the investigation of the document was recently complicated (at least with respect to politics) when President Joe Biden was revealed to have had classified documents both at his Wilmington residence and his former UPenn office.
Don’t expect Trump to go to jail or anything so dramatic. But the pending scandals could help to sidetrack Trump’s ongoing bid for his third consecutive GOP presidential nomination.
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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.
February 3, 2023 at 6:44 pm
Kass, you seem to have missed the point of the last 30 years.
Republicans don’t care about what Republicans do. They only care about what Democrats do. They don’t care if Trump took money for pardons. It doesn’t say anywhere about what a President can do with Pardons in the Constitution. What they care about were Clinton Pardons. A whole different thing.
February 3, 2023 at 7:29 pm
It’s called a political witch hunt. Trump made fools out of all of them. And when the Chinese bio weapon hit, black and Hispanic unemployement was lowest in history. They want Trump DESTROYED. Get with it.
Hey Kass, why don’t you write a piece on corruption at the FBI, or how Obama spied on the Trump campaign?
February 3, 2023 at 11:11 pm
I embarrassed for anyone lacking the intellectual capacity to accept facts.
“There are two ways to be fooled: one is to believe what isn’t true, the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”