Trump claimed nobody pushed him to pardon convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza. But new reports show the decision came after an influence campaign waged by Sen. Ted Cruz and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Trump's decision to pardon convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza was reportedly influenced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
This revelation shows that the pardon was not merely a signal to embattled Trump loyalists that they should not testify against him. It was also a way to further cement the bond between Trump and right-wing cranks and fringe actors.
Trump pardoned D'Souza despite his admitting to illegally repaying donors to the political campaign of a friend. He has often argued the pro-Trump line on a host of issues, adding Trump defender to his history of using lies as a political weapon.
When asked about the controversial decision, Trump claimed that "nobody asked me to do it."
But two new statements call that assertion into question. Trump has repeatedly lied about most issues. And it's likely he's lying about the pardon, as well.
Cruz told the Texas Tribune that he brought up the idea of pardoning D'Souza when Trump came to Texas to speak at the NRA's annual meeting.
"You know, Mr. President, another pardon very much along the same lines of Scooter Libby would be Dinesh D’Souza, who I think was unfairly politically targeted," Cruz told the paper he'd said to Trump. He added that Trump agreed with him.
Anonymous White House officials confirmed to the Washington Post that Cruz pushed for the move.
On his program, Jones said he worked with his ally and close Trump confidante Roger Stone to make the case for D'Souza's pardon.
"We really pushed it to Trump," Jones said. "In fact, I personally pushed [Roger] Stone" to bring up the topic with Trump.
"I know for a fact Stone brought that up to Trump because he told me he did," Jones added.
Jones has been a staunch Trump supporter since he began campaigning for the presidency. Trump even appeared on Jones' program and praised him for his "amazing" reputation.
And Stone has been part of Jones' fringe media empire for the last two years. He has also been a long-time informal political adviser and sounding board for Trump.
D'Souza's pardon was absurd. But it sent a message to Trump's stooges to keep their mouths shut under questioning from special counsel Robert Mueller.
And now we know it was also the fulfillment of a request from the party's far right flank and the biggest conspiracy theorist in America.