Dem Congressman Calls On Hochul To Pardon Trump, Worries Conviction Will ‘Result In An Electoral Boost’
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 19: Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) listens during a hearing with the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on March 19, 2024 in Washington, DC. The committee held the hearing to question retired U.S. Generals on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) called on New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul to pardon former President Donald Trump following his conviction in the Manhattan hush-money trial.

Phillips, who ran for president in the Democratic primary and was blown out by President Joe Biden, argued that Trump’s guilty verdict will only energize the Republican candidate’s base ahead of the 2024 election. Trump was convicted on Thursday of 34 counts of falsifying business records related to hush-money payments sent to porn actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

While the Democratic congressman slammed Trump as “a serial liar, cheater, and philanderer, a six-time declarer of corporate bankruptcy, an instigator of insurrection, and a convicted felon,” he argued on Friday that Hochul should pardon the former president “for the good of the country.”

After Phillips was blasted for calling on Hochul to pardon the convicted Republican candidate, he doubled down on his argument in a tweet on Saturday morning.

“You think pardoning is stupid? Making him a martyr over a payment to a porn star is stupid. (Election charges are entirely different.),” he wrote. “It’s energizing his base, generating record sums of campaign cash, and will likely result in an electoral boost.”

Hochul applauded the conviction of Trump, telling NPR, “Justice was served.” She added that she doesn’t believe the felony conviction “is going to be a factor in the election for our congressional candidates.”

In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s conviction, donations poured into the Trump campaign as the former president raised over $50 million in the 24 hours after the jury’s verdict, his campaign said. The hush-money trial has been blasted by legal experts who worry that criminal prosecutions of political opponents will become the norm in the U.S.

While a pardon of Trump from a Democratic governor is highly unlikely, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee has other avenues to challenge his conviction. Legal scholar and George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley explained in a blog post published on Friday that, eventually, Trump’s appeal of the verdict could reach the Supreme Court, adding that he believes “convictions will be overturned.”

“Indeed, moments like this require us to take a leap of faith in a nation that remains committed to the rule of law. Manhattan is neither the entirety of the country nor the legal system. I believe that these convictions will be overturned, but it will take time,” Turley wrote. “Judge Merchan committed, in my view, layers of reversible error. Eventually, this case may reach the United States Supreme Court.”


Attorney and Heritage fellow Roger Severino also told “Morning Wire” on Friday that Trump’s legal team could make “constitutional arguments that his right to a fair trial was violated.”

“And the Constitution means something,” Severino added. “It means, if anything, you cannot jail political opponents because you don’t like what the American people are going to vote for.”

Trump has already said he will appeal the guilty verdict, which according to New York state law, must come following the sentencing, CNN reported. Judge Juan Merchan scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11, just four days before the start of the Republican National Convention, where Trump is set to be nominated for president.

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