Andrew Johnson’s abuse of presidential pardons was far worse than Trump’s

Andrew Johnson

Over at Bloomberg News, University of Georgia historian Stephen Mihm argues that Andrew Johnson’s use of presidential pardons was “far more destructive to the nation” than Trump’s pardons.

Here is a taste:

Republican Senator Mitt Romney described President Donald Trump’s commutation of Roger’s Stone sentence as “historic, unprecedented corruption,” and many seem to agree. Yet a deep dive into the history shows another president’s relentless campaign of pardons as far more destructive to the nation at one of its most fragile moments.

Prior to 1860, presidents used the constitutional power to pardon and commute sentences sparingly. But like so much else in American history, the Civil War changed all that.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the so-called Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. The order offered a full pardon to anyone who had joined the Confederate cause, save for a number of key exceptions: high-ranking officials and those who mistreated Black soldiers or their officers.

Read the rest here.