After President Trump’s pardon of ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of criminal contempt for violating a court order designed to stop the violation of the constitutional rights of suspected illegal immigrants, conventional wisdom — and certainly the Trump administration — would have us believe that Trump’s pardon powers are unlimited. However, never before has someone stretched the pardon power so beyond its original intent. Trump has now drawn scrutiny not simply from critics of his racist rhetoric but from the court itself.
Between the health-care plan it supported, its tax-reform outline and its budget, the Trump administration has demonstrated an unusual degree of intellectual dishonesty. Most administrations take liberties with economic projections and re-interpretations of campaign promises, but it is rare to see a team of advisers so blatantly and ineptly trying to conceal what they are up to.