Special to USAfricaonline.com – USAfrica magazine, Houston. By Chido Nwangwu
Donald Trump promised before and at the time of his assumption of office that he will “drain the swamp”, coded reference for Washington DC. But he came into America’s capitol with a trailer load of swamp snakes, alligators, crocodiles, moccasins, octopus and sting rays!
Anyway, the truth is that the American Wonder popularly known us Donald J Trump never ceases to amaze. Just when you thought he had reached the outer limits of the most egregious and discordant level of corruption, crudity and excesses, he moves the ball to the stratosphere of the surreal. As we all countdown to the final weeks of the impulsive and quixotic presidency of Trump, the man has done it yet again! His decision — only a few hours ago, on December 22 and 23, 2020 — to grant pardons and commutations to many of his convicted friends, an in-law, several of his associates and campaign operatives has left the ethically-conscious people here in a tizzy!
Which reminds me of the timeless value of what the philosopher Aristotle wrote, specifically: “Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses and avoids.”
Again, President Trump revealed his priorities and “class of things” with his pardons. Before I cite the high-profile pardon he granted his political strategist/adviser Roger Stone, let me take us back to Wednesday March 6, 2019, near Houston where I reside.
On that day, according to the USAfrica News Index, the federal attorneys of United States after thorough investigation and prosecution made the announcement that a 36-year-old Houston woman, Daniela Gozes-Wagner, was ordered “to pay more than $15 million in restitution following her conviction of conspiring to commit $50 million health care fraud as well laundering money.” Yes, $50 million! U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick revealed that a jury convicted Daniela in September 2017, and very important, U.S. District Judge David Hittner ordered Daniela to serve a total of 240 months imprisonment to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. She was further ordered to pay restitution of $15,283,985. At the hearing, the court noted that Daniela Gozes-Wagner had “wreaked havoc” on the health care system of the United States.
In simple and precise assessment, her actions deprived our community and city of Houston the most needed resources for the health care of its citizens. Many would have died from her criminal greed and schemes.
Regardless, since Daniela is well-connected to the Trump network, she is one of the beneficiaries of Mr. Trump’s corrupt, dubious and misguided pardons of December 2020.
Back to Roger. The socially promiscuous man who describes himself as a political “dirty trickster” was charged and convicted on a seven-count indictment, ranging from his obstructing justice, witness tampering and multiple counts of lying to the U.S Congress during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The same election which brought Trump to power. By this latest fact of Trump’s pardon, Roger Stone’s conviction has become nullified! By the way, he never said a word that would have exposed or endangered Mr. Trump during his trial. Go figure.
There are several others but quite interesting and very colorful is the case of Mr. Charles Kushner, the father of President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner (married to President Trump’s first daughter Ivanka). A man unusually skilled in hard-ball techniques actually pleaded guilty in 2005 to tax evasion, witness tampering and making illegal campaign contributions. For those crimes, he was prosecuted and got sentenced to two years in prison. Kushner served only 14 months. Also, Charles and his brother Murray were entangled in violations of campaign-finance rules, whereby Charles unsuccessfully attempted to influence his sister from cooperating with the prosecutors. What did he do? He set up his sister’s husband with a prostitute, and recorded the encounter…. Charles threatened her with the tape…..
Kushner got his pardon from Trump.
What will Trump and his fellow travelers tell the FBI agents and field workers and attorneys and the jurors who worked hard on these and 46 other cases he simply discarded?
To what purpose? For whose interests??
Is this what it really means to be the candidate of law and order in the Trump Republican party?
So, this is Trump’s America? What a “beauty”!
———— *Dr. Chido Nwangwu, the author of the January 2021 book, MLK, Mandela & Achebe: Power, Leadership and Identity, serves as Founder & Publisher of the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper on the internet, USAfricaonline.com, and established USAfrica in 1992 in Houston. He is recipient of several public policy and journalism excellence honors, civic engagement and community empowerment awards and has appeared as an analyst on CNN and SKYnews.