“Meanwhile thousands of poor and working-class kids sit in jail for nonviolent drug convictions. This is what a broken and racist criminal justice system looks like.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders said late Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s decision to grant clemency to several prominent white-collar criminals—including the former governor of Illinois and a financier known as the “junk bond king”—was a demonstration of how the U.S. criminal justice system favors the powerful while punishing the vulnerable.
“Trump granted clemency to tax cheats, Wall Street crooks, billionaires, and corrupt government officials,” tweeted Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. “Meanwhile thousands of poor and working-class kids sit in jail for nonviolent drug convictions.”
“This is what a broken and racist criminal justice system looks like,” added Sanders, who is running on a platform that includes sweeping reforms to the criminal justice system.
Trump, who on Tuesday declared himself the “chief law enforcement officer of the country,” pardoned or commuted the prison sentences of 11 people, including financier Michael Milken, who served 22 months in jail for racketeering and securities fraud charges; former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was convicted on multiple counts of tax fraud and lying to the government; and Illinois’ former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted of bribery, wire fraud, and attempted extortion after trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.
“He’s got a obviously a big fan in me,” Blagojevich said of Trump after being released from prison Tuesday. “And if you’re asking what my party affiliation is, I’m a Trumpocrat.”
Rod Blagojevich: “He’s [Pres. Trump] got a obviously a big fan in me. If you’re asking what my party affiliation is… I’m a Trumpocrat.” pic.twitter.com/ztVuNuCQYq
— Haleigh Hoffman (@HaleighHoffman) February 19, 2020
Jay Young, executive director of Common Cause Illinois, said in a statement that by commuting Blagojevich’s sentence, “Trump once again swims in the swamp he promised to drain.”
As The Daily Beast reported late Tuesday, several of the people Trump granted clemency are “either Fox News regulars or have been championed by the president’s favorite cable-news network.”
“And in another case, the family of one pardon recipient dished out massive contributions to the president’s re-election campaign just months before Trump’s clemency spree,” according to The Daily Beast.
In response to The Daily Beast‘s report, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted, “It looks like in the Trump White House, you can buy a pardon.”
“This is corruption,” Warren added, “plain and simple.”
Photo: Rod Blagojevich after release from prison (Screen Shot)
Nobel economist says he’s done the math — and the risk Trump and McConnell pose to the economy is ‘terrifying’
Very much a student of New Deal economics, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has often stressed that helping the unemployed during an economic downturn not only helps those who are out of work — it also benefits the economy on the whole. Krugman made that point many times during the Great Recession, and in a column published this week, the liberal economist warns that the “coronavirus recession of 2020” will become even worse if unemployed Americans don’t receive the help that they need.
‘Friday Night Massacre’ at US Postal Service as Postmaster General—a major Trump donor—ousts top officials
Government watchdogs, Democratic lawmakers, and pro-democracy advocates declared it a "Friday Night Massacre" for the U.S. Postal Service after news broke in a classic end-of-the-week dump that Louis DeJoy—a major GOP donor to President Donald Trump and the recently appointed Postmaster General—had issued a sweeping overhaul of the agency, including the ouster of top executives from key posts and the reshuffling of more than two dozen other officials and operational managers.
According to the Washington Post:
Virus outbreak in Houston-area nursing home kills 17
A novel coronavirus outbreak at a Missouri City nursing home, outside of Houston, has killed 17 residents, according to data from state officials.
City officials issued a press release this week raising alarm over 19 deaths that they said occurred at the Paradigm at First Colony Nursing Home but nursing home officials told The Texas Tribune that the number is incorrect and declined to provide the correct number.
The city also reported that the facility has 24 infected staff members and the nursing home reported 11 currently infected residents who are in stable condition.
“This harrowing development speaks to the severity of this pandemic and how everyone needs to take it even more seriously,” said Missouri City Mayor Yolanda Ford of the outbreak in a Wednesday press release.