New York's acting AG: Trump undermining rule of law with D’Souza pardon

New York's acting AG: Trump undermining rule of law with D’Souza pardon
© Getty Images

New York interim Attorney General Barbara Underwood said on Thursday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing MORE's pardoning of conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza shows his willingness to thwart justice and adds urgency to the state's double jeopardy loophole. 

“President Trump’s latest pardon makes crystal clear his willingness to use his pardon power to thwart the cause of justice, rather than advance it," Underwood said in a statement. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"By pardoning Dinesh D’Souza, President Trump is undermining the rule of law by pardoning a political supporter who is an unapologetic convicted felon. First, it was Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Then it was Scooter Libby. Now it’s Dinesh D’Souza," she continued. 

"Lawmakers must act now to close New York’s double jeopardy loophole and ensure that anyone who evades federal justice by virtue of a politically expedient pardon can be held accountable if they violate New York law.”

Trump announced on Thursday that he would issue a pardon to D'Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to making illegal campaign contributions. 

D'Souza is in the process of serving five years probation for illegally using straw donors to support Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long in 2012.

The White House said in a statement that the president believed D’Souza was the “victim of selective prosecution for violations of campaign finance laws” and that he “accepted responsibility for his actions.” 
 
“What should have been a quick minor fine, like everybody else with the election stuff,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One. “What they did to him was horrible.” 
 
Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent a letter in April to New York lawmakers, pressing them to close the loophole in the state's double jeopardy law. 
 
Closing the loophole would prevent individuals who broke the law in New York from avoiding accountability. 
 
Underwood was sworn in as the state's interim attorney general earlier this month after Schneiderman stepped down following allegations that he was violent toward multiple women.