The Slatest

Trump Pardoned Someone for Fraud and Obstruction of Justice, and It Wasn’t “Himself”

Black, wearing a suit, is seen in a close shot.
Conrad Black at an audition for the role of “crooked CIA official trying to kill Jason Bourne.” Brian Kersey/Getty Images

One could make a solid argument that the only two things the Trump administration really cares about are white-nationalist belligerence and letting people whom Trump knows personally off the hook for white-collar crimes. The first interest is on full display at the moment as the White House pursues a self-defeating tariff dispute with China and tries to provoke Iran into a war; the second was attended to Wednesday night as the president issued a pardon to Canadian-British tycoon/criminal Conrad Black.

Black, who is for some reason referred to in the White House statement on the pardon as “Lord Conrad M. Black of Crossharbour,” as if the USA is required to honor other countries’ gibberish king and queen fantasies, was convicted of mail fraud and obstruction of justice in 2007 when an (American) jury found that he’d participated in a scheme to siphon money out of the Chicago-based media company of which he’d been CEO. A Supreme Court ruling led to the vacation of two fraud counts, but Black’s efforts to get out from under the obstruction charge and the other fraud charge were unsuccessful … until his former partner on the Trump Tower Chicago development got elected president. The media company in question later went bankrupt.

In other words, it would seem that Donald Trump has personal sympathy toward an individual who illegally used other people’s money for his own benefit, obstructed a federal investigation, and mismanaged his company into bankruptcy.

Trump has also previously pardoned right-wing Sheriff Joe Arpaio for contempt of court, right-wing pundit Dinesh D’Souza for making illegal campaign donations, and Bush administration official Scooter Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice. He has also suggested he’s considering pardoning his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who made false statements to the FBI; his former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who also made false statements to the FBI; and his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has been convicted of tax fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and witness tampering. Robert Mueller’s special counsel report says Trump may have made an implicit offer of a pardon to Michael Cohen, his former attorney, who was convicted of tax fraud, perjury, and campaign finance crimes.

Conrad Black, perhaps not incidentally, published a book last year called Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other and has written a number of Trump-related columns for the National Review with titles like “Smooth Sailing Ahead for Trump,” “Trump Looks Solid for 2020,” “Trump Outfoxes Democrats,” “Trump the Indestructible,” “Trump Can Still Prevail in the Midterms,” “Trump’s North Korea Policy Is Succeeding,” “The Anti-Trump Effort Backfires,” “Trump Will Prevail,” and “Trump Is Winning More Than Ever” and “Trump: Winning More Than Ever” (two separate columns, published six months apart).

Conrad Black is winning more than ever!