Shortly before he left office, former President Donald Trump handed out presidential pardons left and right. 74 to be exact, along with 70 sentence commutations.
But there’s a big problem with some of those pardons: They’re not worth the paper they’re written on, and federal prosecutors are making it clear than intend to fight them in court.
Such is the case with Steve Bannon, who served for a short time as a senior strategist in the early days of the Trump administration. Bannon got a pardon after allegedly ripping off thousands of people who donated millions of dollars to a non-profit that went by the name We Build the Wall. Turns out Bannon wasn’t actually interested in building a wall on the border. Instead, he was eager to line his own pockets by preying on the fears of the easily deluded fools who were convinced they could indeed help construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Thursday, federal prosecutors made clear in a letter to the court that Bannon’s indictment should not be dismissed, writing:
“The fact that Bannon was pardoned does not extinguish the fact that a grand jury found probable cause to believe that he committed the offenses set forth in the Indictment, nor does it undercut the evidence of his involvement therein which the Government expects to elicit as part of its presentation at trial. Were the Court to dismiss the Indictment against Bannon, it could have a broader effect than the pardon itself, among other things potentially relieving Bannon of certain consequences not covered by the pardon.”
There’s also the matter of Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance, Jr., who is in the process of gathering evidence to indict Bannon. Since that would be a state crime, Bannon’s pardon from Trump would have zero power to keep him out of Rikers Island or Sing Sing, CNN reports:
No matter where he turns, Bannon — much like his former boss — is beset by legal problems. How sweet it would be to see both of them sent up the river for a very long time.