New GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis said on Thursday that if he's elected, he will "be aggressive" in using presidential pardons to free people charged or convicted through the weaponization of the Department of Justice, and that includes his main rival for the party's nomination, former President Donald Trump.
“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 weaponization or political targeting, and we will be aggressive at issuing pardons,” the Florida governor told podcasters, Buck Sexton and Clay Travis.
DeSantis added that the DOJ and FBI have been weaponized in many ways under President Joe Biden, and he acknowledged that in some of the cases where people are charged with crimes, "people may have a technical violation of the law."
"But if there are three other people who did the same thing, but just in a context like BLM [Black Lives Matter] 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," said DeSantis. "And then we will use the pardon power — and I will do that at the front end."
He said many presidents wait until the end of their administration, but he promised that his administration will "find examples where the government's been weaponized against disfavored groups, and we will apply relief as appropriate."
However, DeSantis also explained that the pardons will be considered "case by case," meaning that a blanket pardon wouldn't be given to Trump, who is facing several criminal probes.
"That could be from a grandma who got arrested and prosecuted too much all the way up to, potentially, Trump himself," Travis said. He then asked the governor, "Is that fair to say when you analyze what the charges might have been brought on a federal level?"
"I would say any example of disfavored treatment based on politics or weaponization would be included in that review, no matter how small or how big," DeSantis responded.
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