New York Times reporter shocks Maddow saying all of Trump's pardons were for wealthy allies or 'his benefit'
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Calling it a "bizarre night," MSNBC host Rachel Maddow addressed the veto threat from President Donald Trump along with his slate of pardons for people involved in the Mueller investigation and murderers of unarmed civilians in Iraq.

Maddow noted that along with the names of the people he was pardoning he also added names of those who endorsed the pardon as if to bring them in as accomplices in the pardons.

New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt explained that there's a process through the Justice Department for pardons to ensure that those who are being pardoned match a kind of acknowledgment of grace and mercy.

"They've had the system to ensure that there's a uniform process to it," he told Maddow. "We know that Trump has ignored that process in his past pardons, that he has gone off and done things on his own. He's allowed Kim Kardashian into the Oval Office to lobby him for pardons. At first glance, when looking at these pardons tonight, it's clear that many of them don't even meet the basic criteria to receive a typical Justice Department recommendation for a pardon."

He continued: "So, that means that they operated essentially outside the system, that anyone could have gone to the White House and lobbied the president, Jared Kushner or anyone else in the West Wing for these directly. And it's that type of lobbying that people say is concerning because it allows the process to not be about grace and mercy. It allows it to be about connections and lobbying."

Schmidt also doubted that any of these pardons were approved by Attorney General Bill Barr as he was walking out of the Justice Department.

"It doesn't appear like the Justice Department was involved in many of these," he explained. "This has been a very White House-driven process. This has been the type of thing that the president because he has gotten rid of the typical way that pardons are looked at, it has allowed people to come in and to treat this as if they were lobbying for a company or lobbying for a bill."

Schmidt explained that Trump really enjoys the power that he gets from people coming up to him at events begging for pardons.

"It's something that the president can create instantaneous loyalty when he does," said Schmidt. "And because of that, if you look at the past numbers that he has granted, the pardons he has granted, of the 45 he granted up until today, 40 of the 45 -- 88 percent -- were either tied to one of his allies, someone who had special access to him, or was tied to something that politically benefited him personally."

That last piece of information was something that Maddow predicted would someday be heard in a Congressional hearing on the pardons.

See the video below:

88 percent of Trump pardons are for his benefit