A day after being pardoned, conservative filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza said Friday that President Trump told him this week that he has been a "great voice for freedom" and had been "screwed", according to a report.
Trump has been particularly drawn to cases where he believes there was a political motivation to the prosecutions - a situation that may remind him of his own predicament at the centre of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling, which he insists is nothing but a "witch hunt".
Still, experts say the signal about a potential pardon is meant to assuage former campaign aides, including Paul Manafort and Cohen, to remain loyal to the president.
D'Souza acknowledged that he had two close associates each contribute $10,000 to the Senate campaign of Republican Wendy Long with the understanding that he would reimburse them. "But I thought that he was treated unfairly". He said that he only pled guilty to campaign finance violations because the justice system used "legal bludgeoning tactics" to force his admission, or else the government would've filed more charges against him.
So just who is Dinesh D'Souza?
The federal prosecutor who oversaw Stewart's case in NY was James Comey, one of Trump's principal antagonists and the man he fired as FBI director past year.
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"It's nearly like President Trump went through a list of potential crimes that he and his White House could be charged with and found pardons for other people to lay the groundwork", he said on CNN.
Both had connections to Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" TV show: Blagojevich was a contestant in 2010 and Stewart hosted a 2005 spinoff, "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart".
Blagojevich was convicted of corruption offenses including soliciting bribes for appointment to the U.S. Senate seat Obama vacated after being elected president in 2008. Mr Trump said on Twitter.
Regarding Blagojevich, Trump said he was considering commuting his sentence, which he described as "really unfair" punishment for "foolish" behavior.
White House spokesman Raj Shah echoed D'Souza's claim of selective prosecution. His 2010 book "The Roots of Obama's Rage" was made into a film, "2016: Obama's America", which was popular with conservative groups.
The government said in court papers that D'Souza faced overwhelming evidence of guilt and "now seizes upon the fact that he is an outspoken critic of the Obama administration as an excuse to avoid the consequences of his actions". A former top aide to Vice-President Dick Cheney, Libby was convicted of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice following the 2003 leak of the covert identity of a Central Intelligence Agency officer. The origin of the pardon dates back hundreds of years to English monarchy, said Steven Schwinn, an expert in constitutional law and a professor at the John Marshall Law School. Closing the loophole would ensure that individuals who broke NY law could not evade accountability for any state crimes as a result of a strategically-timed pardon by the president.