President Trump Drains The (White Collar Felon) Swamp

Demonstrating that he learned the exact lesson the U.S. Senate taught him by acquitting him, which is to say the same lesson his entire life has taught him—that he can do whatever he wants without consequence—President Trump decided to issue some pardons yesterday. And those getting the slate wiped clean are exactly the sort of people the salt-of-the-earth, white working class Trump voters The New York Times is always writing about: Former New York City Police Commissioner and tax cheat Bernie Kerik; former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was only doing what the president himself might have done if Trump had a U.S. Senate seat to sell and who after all then went on the president’s TV show; former San Francisco 49ers owner and bribe-paying Edward DeBartolo; and, of course, junk bond king Michael Milken, whom the White House called “one of America’s greatest financiers” whose “innovative work greatly expanded access to capital for emerging companies,” which is certainly one way to put it.

Mr. Milken, whose dealings contributed to the collapse of the savings-and-loan industry, fought for decades to reverse his conviction for securities fraud…. was credited in the 1980s with using junk bonds to finance big debt-laden corporate buyouts, pleaded guilty to securities reporting violations and tax offenses, and the Securities and Exchange Commission banned him for life.

In fairness, though, the president might not have known any of that, or that Milken doesn’t seem to have “learned his lesson” any more than Trump, since although he said yesterday that he “relies” on the Justice Department’s recommendations when issuing pardons, Milken didn’t actually have an active request for one, which means there was no recommendation from which Trump might have learned those things to rely on. But who needs it when you can rely on your good friends Sheldon Adelson and Nelson Peltz, and need to soften everyone up for pardoning Roger Stone in a few weeks?

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