Barr says Trump's friends 'don't deserve special breaks.' Here are 6 who got them.


Six of Trump's friends and supporters have received pardons or commutations, making up a large percentage of the few he's made.

Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday sought to defend his politicization of the Department of Justice, wrongly claiming that he's intervened in cases against Trump's friends and allies to "restore the rule of law" rather than sully it.

"I agree the president's friends don't deserve special breaks. But they also don't deserve to be treated more harshly than other people," Barr said Tuesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing into Barr's politicization of the Department of Justice.

Barr was speaking about his decision to drop the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn — who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Barr was slammed as "blatantly corrupt" for intervening on Flynn's behalf, after Trump and Trump allies advocated for such action.

Barr also intervened to recommend a lighter sentence for longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, who was ultimately sentenced to 40 months in prison for seven counts of obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and lying to Congress.

Barr's comment that Trump's friends "don't deserve special breaks" flies in the face of what has actually occurred during Trump's tenure, when Trump's friends, supporters, and those who praise him on Fox News have received pardons or commutations for their sentences.

Here's a list of the special treatments Trump's friends and supporters have received:

Michael Flynn

Flynn was Trump's first national security adviser, who Trump fired after Flynn lied to the FBI during the Russia investigation.

Trump has since changed his reasoning about why he fired Flynn — after Trump soured on the Russia investigation and sought to undermine it at every turn.

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. But he later tried to withdraw that plea.

Trump then waged a public campaign to have the charges against Flynn dropped, which Barr agreed to do, leading to accusations that Barr was interfering to help Trump's friends.

Joe Arpaio

In August of 2017, Trump pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt of court after he refused to stop racially profiling Latinos despite a court order.

Arpaio was one of Trump's earliest supporters during the 2016 campaign, as he approved of Trump's draconian immigration and border policies.

Arpaio did not meet the traditional standards for a pardon because he never admitted responsibility for his actions.

According to the Department of Justice: "A pardon is not a sign of vindication and does not connote or establish innocence. For that reason, when considering the merits of a pardon petition, pardon officials take into account the petitioner's acceptance of responsibility, remorse, and atonement for the offense."

Dinesh D'Souza

In May of 2018, Trump pardoned D'Souza, a Trump-supporting conservative instigator.

D'Souza had pleaded guilty in 2014 to using straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions — a felony.

But D'Souza railed against the Obama administration, which prosecuted D'Souza for his crime, appealing to Trump's desire to overturn Obama's record.

Bernard Kerik

In February of 2020, Trump pardoned Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner who pleaded guilty to multiple charges of federal tax fraud.

Kerik was a close ally of Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now Trump's personal lawyer.

Rod Blagojevich

Trump granted clemency to Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption, in which he tried to sell the Senate seat Barack Obama vacated when he became president.

Blagojevich was a contestant on Trump's NBC show, "The Apprentice." His wife, Patti Blagojevich, had been advocating for Trump to grant him clemency, even appearing on Fox News to directly appeal to Trump to commute her husband's sentence.

Roger Stone

Trump commuted Stone's sentence, preventing his longtime friend and ally from serving a day in prison.

Stone had been convicted of interfering in the Russia investigation — which Trump long railed against.

Barr claimed that he told Trump he didn't agree with granting Stone clemency. It's unclear whether that's true. If it is, Trump did not take that advice to heart.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.