Donald Trump’s pardons (past and future) have one thing in common

This guy
This guy
Image: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
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Donald Trump announced today that he was pardoning conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to making illegal campaign contributions. Trump also told reporters he was considering a commutation and pardon for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and lifestyle maven Martha Stewart, respectively.

What do those three people have in common? They were all prosecuted by district attorneys who are now Trump antagonists in the ongoing probe of whether the president colluded with Russia and obstructed justice.

D’Souza was prosecuted by Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump as US attorney for the Southern District of New York, and is now a high-profile critic of the administration. D’Souza is serving five years of probation.

Blagojevich was prosecuted by Peter Fitzgerald, the former US attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, who is a close friend of former FBI director James Comey, and recently joined Comey’s legal team. Blagojevich is serving a fourteen-year prison sentence after being convicted of numerous counts of bribery and corruption.

Martha Stewart was prosecuted by Comey when he was US attorney attorney for the Southern District of New York. She was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and making false statements to federal investigators, and served several months in prison.

Last month, Trump also pardoned Scooter Libby, a former aide to vice president Dick Cheney who was prosecuted by Fitzgerald for lying to investigators and obstruction of justice. Fitzgerald, in yet another twist, was appointed as special prosecutor by none other than James Comey.

Blagojevich and Stewart also had connections to Trump’s reality show, The Apprentice. Trump has also pardoned former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and granted a posthumous pardon to boxer Jack Johnson.