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Ron DeSantis says he will consider pardon for Trump if elected

Mr DeSantis told a pair of right-wing radio hosts that he’d pardon anyone deemed to have suffered ‘disfavoured treatment’ by the Department of Justice

Andrew Feinberg
Friday 26 May 2023 12:04 BST
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Ron DeSantis pledges 'war on woke' as he announces presidential bid

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday said he would “aggressively” use presidential pardons to free people who’ve been charged or convicted of crimes – including former President Donald Trump.

Speaking during an interview with hosts Buck Sexton and Clay Travis, Mr DeSantis claimed that the Department of Justice has been “weaponised” under the Biden Administration. He cited a laundry list of GOP grievances about federal law enforcement targeting conservative activists and other GOP figures who have allegedly violated federal laws.

“What I’m going to do is ... on day one, I will have folks that will get together and look at all these cases, who people are victims of weaponisation or political targeting, and we will be aggressive at issuing pardons,” he said.

Mr DeSantis downplayed what he described as “technical violations of the law” and suggested he’d issue pardons for January 6 rioters because Black Lives Matter protesters have not been prosecuted to the same extent by the federal government.

“If there are other people who did the same thing, but just in a context like BLM and they don’t get prosecuted at all, that is uneven application of justice, and so we’re going to find ways where that did not happen. And then we will use the pardon power — and I will do that at the front end,” he said.

Asked whether he’d look at granting blanket reprieves to Mr Trump, who is currently the target of multiple criminal probes including one looking at his alleged unlawful retention of national defence information and his efforts to obstruct that probe, the Florida governor said “any example of disfavoured treatment based on politics or weaponisation” would be included in his review of charges brought under the Biden Administration, including the twice-impeached ex-president.

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