Fox News: A behind-the-scenes look at my presidential pardon

Originally posted at Fox News by Dinesh D’Souza.

On Wednesday I was working in my office when the phone rang and the operator announced: “Please hold for the president of the United States.” I resisted the impulse to make a joke: “I’m in the middle of something. Can you let him know I’ll call him right back?”

President Trump came on, and told me he was sitting in the Oval Office with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

“You know John, don’t you?” the president said. I sheepishly said I didn’t, but of course I knew who he was. President Trump said I was a great voice for freedom and for America. Then he added: “Dinesh, I got to tell you, man to man, that you got screwed.”

President Trump said I did something that would normally get a slap on the wrist and a fine, but instead the previous administration went after me with the full force of its powers.

President Trump termed my case as an injustice, one that he was in a position to correct. And then came the words that I had to repeat to myself to fully grasp their significance. “I’ve decided to give you a full pardon.”

The president said this would clear my record “and now you can be an even bigger champion of freedom than before.”

I could do little more than mutter my grateful astonishment.

Later, the president told the media that he thought I was having a heart attack. Actually, I was just tongue-tied with joy. And the conversation ended with President Trump saying he would make his decision public the following morning, not with a news release but with a tweet.

For me, the pardon was the exhilarating conclusion to a five-year ordeal.

In 2012, in an attempt to help my longtime college friend Wendy Long, who was running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate in New York, I asked two of my associates to donate $10,000 apiece to her campaign. Then I reimbursed them. In doing so, I broke the law by exceeding the campaign finance limit.

Now it is an open secret that campaign finance limits are regularly transgressed just about every election season. Yet such cases are rarely prosecuted. In general, the government only goes after chronic or repeat offenders, or after those who break the law with corrupt intent, seeking to buy favors or obtain some sort of quid pro quo.

Consider the recent case of liberal comedian Rosie O’Donnell, who has acknowledged exceeding the campaign finance limits on five separate occasions, in five separate jurisdictions.

While O’Donnell’s motives were not corrupt, she certainly is a repeat offender. Consequently, there are five times more reasons to prosecute O’Donnell than there were to prosecute me.

No corruption or quid pro quo was even alleged in my case. In fact, candidate Wendy Long didn’t even know that I had contributed $30,000 instead of the allowable limit of $10,000.

How, then, did the decision to prosecute me come about?

Some clues are contained in my FBI file. A congressional oversight committee tried for well over a year to get this file. The FBI, then under since-fired Director James Comey, refused on familiar pretexts: claims that my file would reveal confidential sources, contained information that would jeopardize the bureau’s work, blah, blah, blah. Finally, the FBI relented and provided a redacted version of the file.

The file reveals that as soon as the FBI learned about my situation – how it found out is still unclear – the agency allocated $100,000 to investigate case involving $20,000 of political contributions. This by itself is odd.

The oddity, however, disappears with another revelation in the file. The FBI from the outset red-flagged me as a prominent conservative critic of the Obama administration.

Why is this information about my political views even in my file? How is it relevant? The obvious answer is that the FBI was signaling to the Obama Justice Department – in other words, to Attorney General Eric Holder – that here was a political adversary that the Obama team might want to go after.

And that’s why the FBI was so reluctant to give up the file. It didn’t want the Republicans in Congress to discover the bureau’s corrupt modus operandi.

The stage was set for my prosecution, carried out by the Department of Justice and directed by Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Bharara tweeted Thursday that while President Trump has the right to pardon anyone he wants to, the fact is that I voluntarily pleaded guilty to a felony violation. Bharara’s logic is clear: why would someone who did not intentionally break the law publicly confess that he broke the law?

Here’s why: Bharara’s prosecutors charged me with exceeding campaign finance limits. But when they learned that I might plead not guilty, they threatened to add a second charge. What, you might wonder, was this second violation? What else did I do wrong?

Turns out, nothing.

The second charge I was threatened with was called filing a false document. Evidently, I did this by not revealing that I was the source of the contributions made in the name of my associates. In other words, this charge was just another way of describing the first charge.

The difference, however, is that the first charge carried a maximum of two years in federal prison, while the second charge carried up to five years. The bottom line was that the federal government was threatening me with a sentence so severe it would ruin my life.

Then members of Bharara’s team said that if I pleaded guilty to the first charge, they would drop the second. They bludgeoned me into submitting to a lesser sentence rather than risk complete professional and personal destruction.

While this is a standard tactic used by prosecutors – it is the single factor that explains why federal criminal cases have a conviction rate approaching 100 percent – it’s important to realize that the government is pressuring not only the guilty, but also the innocent to plead guilty.

I find it almost comical to see Bharara put on a straight face and present the outcome of strong-arm bullying as “voluntary” confession. One has to be utterly naive to fall for such deceit.

My only consolation is that Bharara’s whole scheme has collapsed. He tried to destroy a fellow Indian-American’s life out of naked political ambition. Then President Trump fired him and pardoned me!

Bharara is discovering the ancient Indian wisdom contained in the modern American saying that “karma is a bitch.”

My case, alas, represents a grotesque miniature of what American politics has become. It wasn’t always this way.

President Jimmy Carter or even President Bill Clinton would no more dream of locking up opponents like me than the Bushes would dream of locking up leftist filmmaker Michael Moore or Rosie O’Donnell.

But with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, we’ve see a gangsterization of politics in which the organs of the state – the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department and so on – are deployed against ideological adversaries.

I’m glad to be out of the clutches of these nefarious characters, including the judge appointed by President Clinton who included in my sentence mandatory psychiatric counseling. This is a man who thought he could supervise my “re-education,” which I guess would be confirmed in his mind if I went to work for the Clinton Foundation or started making regular appearances on MSNBC.

Eventually, to his dismay, the judge gave up on his little Stalinist project and confessed that I could not, by his standards, be rehabilitated.

Now I’m free. No longer does the ominous phrase, “United States of America versus Dinesh D’Souza” ring in this immigrant’s head. My American Dream and my faith in America are now fully restored.

Thank you, President Trump, for making this happen.

Read more at Fox News.


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Keep reading:

Fox News: Dinesh D'Souza on pardon by President Trump
Hollywood Reporter: Dinesh D'Souza reveals what Trump told him on the phone before the pardon
BREAKING: Dinesh D'Souza responds to Trump pardon
EXCLUSIVE: Be the first to know about Dinesh D'Souza's new movie!
VIDEO: D'Souza slams Margaret Sanger & Planned Parenthood
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Federalist: Media double down after New York Times gets busted peddling fake news
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  • Mitch in CT says:

    June 4, 2018 at 2:04 PM

    Congratulations, Dinesh! An enormous wrong has been righted. If I were you, after taking that call I would have said, “Please watch what you say, Mr. President…MY phone is tapped too!”

    • Shelley says:

      June 4, 2018 at 10:28 PM

      ???? I liked that! Ha ha clever!

  • Roger K Olsen says:

    June 4, 2018 at 2:06 PM

    Good for you and good for all Americans…Thank you Donald Trump. Thank you D’souza and congrats!!!!

    • Sue Beal says:

      June 6, 2018 at 3:13 PM

      Your voice resonates with the truth. You are an amazing unapoligetic speaker. American is coming back and you are one of the biggesst reasons.

  • Steve says:

    June 4, 2018 at 2:09 PM

    Dinesh: I’m happy that President Trump pardoned you. That will go a long ways towards Making America Great Again, since you make America great!

  • Ileana Cataldo says:

    June 4, 2018 at 2:42 PM

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! You are my hero!!!
    God bless you and keep you safe! I’ve enjoyed meeting you at Freedom Fest and thank God for your voice and wisdom!!

  • Virginia Duffy says:

    June 4, 2018 at 2:50 PM

    God Bless you Sir- you are a gentleman, a scholar and a PATRIOT!!!

  • Fran Tatsch says:

    June 4, 2018 at 2:57 PM

    We are exhilarated by President Trump’s pardon ???????? Our President’s recognition of Justice gives US “the Silent Majority” hope that America has an opportunity for a bright American Value future once more! We know that we must all continue to work diligently together in supporting “The People’s President!”
    Congratulations anf Gods speed my friend!
    Fran Tatsch

  • Maria Pina says:

    June 4, 2018 at 3:58 PM

    God bless you, Trump, and finally real Justice.
    The Truth is setting us all free. Thank you for being MY/OUR voice/s.
    Your commitment and courage is amazing.
    Maria Pina

  • Rick McKain says:

    June 4, 2018 at 4:41 PM

    Dinesh, First of all, I’m happy for you. I’m an injustice keeper and that fact that Obama and H. Clinton walk around freely today – so angers me I can’t hardly see straight. Is there anything you [or any of us] can do to attack this kind of horrendous injustice. I am angry this kind of unfairness consistently happens. I am so angry – I am willing to put my money where my mouth is and help [along with others] to stop this kind of thing. Let me know what I can do.

  • Gerald Schilsky says:

    June 4, 2018 at 5:07 PM

    The reference to Stalin is very appropriate.

    Many American’s think relating Stalin to what happens in this country is hyperbole. I guess it is too much for them to think that our civil rights could be violated, that we might be targeted by the IRS, put under surveillance, bullied by a politicized Justice Department, have a government coordinate narratives or stories to the liking of the government. Hello, my friends that day has already arrived. I hope it is not a temporary reprieve with the election of Trump. Just imagine, if Hillary had won. Democrats would have no choice , but to these tactics are worth repeating.

  • KH says:

    June 4, 2018 at 5:16 PM

    So incredibly happy for you. Thank God justice has prevailed. I love our president.

  • Janice Gildein says:

    June 4, 2018 at 5:26 PM

    Congratulations Dinesh! You should’ve never been treated like a criminal in the first place. I have see all your movies. You have spoken only the TRUTH about all involved. Thank You so much for getting out the word to the world. Keep doing what you’re doing for the country and it’s people. You are to be Admired!
    God Bless You & God Bless President Trump and the USA ????????

  • JoAnn Stover says:

    June 4, 2018 at 5:35 PM

    Dr. D’Souza I have followed and admired you since your first book, Gifted Hands. You were even my choice for president until you suspended your campaign. You are amazing! Congratulations on your well-deserved pardon.

  • Steve Schneider says:

    June 4, 2018 at 5:40 PM


    There are no words to describe my excitement to hear my beloved President Trump was going to pardon you! I have tears in my eyes as I’m typing this out. Our country is so blessed beyond imagination that President Trump won the greatest election against an evil woman that would have continued taking our country down a horrible path! I have supported our President from the very day he came down the escalator in Trump Tower and over the last 3 years my heart has grown ever fonder as he continues to do some pretty miraculous things with the forces that are against him! Keep up the good work my fellow patriot! May God bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

  • walter gangl says:

    June 4, 2018 at 6:02 PM

    God bless you for your undaunted courage and the President for correcting that illegal partisan corruption of the criminal process. Have you considered suing them for malicious prosecution? The 1971 Bivens case acknowledged the inherent right to sue for an abuse of federal power. Based on the now disclosed documentation of their corrupt, political purpose (which is patently obvious under the circumstances) you have an open & shut case.
    Please go after those corrupt partisans. In doing so you would strike a blow for all of us who are daunted by the abuse of power. What happened to you was something I thought happened only under Putin.

  • JoAnn Stover says:

    June 4, 2018 at 7:25 PM

    So sorry. I was confused when I wrote my previous comment. However, it is true that I have seen all of your movies and even bought several copies to distribute to millennials and others before the 2016 election.
    All the best to you!

  • Gail Davis says:

    June 4, 2018 at 7:33 PM

    Dinesh: What wonderful news. Thanks to President Trump! You are a true American
    Patriot and with your movies showed America what the democrat communists were
    working on to bring down the United States and makes us a third world country and the
    corruption they were doing.

  • Jeff McQueen says:

    June 4, 2018 at 7:52 PM

    You deserved that pardon and you have been a voice for freedom. Now it is time to begin giving the Ibama crooks a lesson they will never forget! Public trials for all of them!

  • Shelley says:

    June 4, 2018 at 10:26 PM

    Mr. D’Souza, I’ll never forget the last words you spoke in your documentary ‘Hillary’s America’ – “Because of my conviction, I can’t vote. But you can.” I’m very proud your right to vote has been bestowed upon you once more through Trump’s valid good graces. Keep up the noble charge you yourself have taken up – and you will always have mine. God bless!

  • Alice marie says:

    June 4, 2018 at 10:29 PM

    Thank you Dinesh for educating people. There is so much disinformation out there. Thank you Mr President for seeing thru the injustice.


    June 4, 2018 at 10:33 PM

    Prayers answered. Love you and love our President.

  • Charles Konigsberg says:

    June 4, 2018 at 11:17 PM

    GREAT NEWS that the President has pardon you from the terrible things that the Obama administration did to you and your family. You are a super hero to us and all honest Americans. Please keep up the great work you’re doing for America.

  • Mark Wilkerson says:

    June 4, 2018 at 11:47 PM

    Thank goodness President Trump could see all the good work you have done was not tainted by this corrupt charge! I have all of your movies and consider them to be masterpieces of story telling. The last book, “America…” was fantastic and should be required reading in high school and college. As you are well aware we Conservatives have much work to do to overcome the liberal agenda in our education system.

    Best Regards,

  • Capt. Bill Ratliff says:

    June 5, 2018 at 12:04 AM

    Thank You Dinesh for all you have done to educate the public! Facts matter! History is full of great lessons to be learned and with your persistence of the truth, just maybe we all can “Make America Great Again!” Hope to shake you hand and thank you one day soon!

  • Leslie from Texas says:

    June 5, 2018 at 12:19 AM

    My first prayer after President Trump’s election was that he would give you a pardon. You indeed were dealt an injustice which needed to be righted. However, it seems obvious to me that what the enemy meant for evil, God has used for good… and in His timing. I’m grateful, not only for the pardon, but for the grace and strength you’ve shown during this trial. You have not been confounded, but have set your face like flint and continued to share the message vital to the survival of our country as one of freedom. Interesting that a poor immigrant kid from India was sent to this rich country to show us our blessings from God and how we have squandered them. My prayer now is that many eyes and ears will be opened to the truths you share and the hearts of our countrymen will be turned back to liberty and justice for all. Bless you in your work.

  • Donna Korth says:

    June 5, 2018 at 12:24 AM


  • Anonymous says:

    June 5, 2018 at 3:15 AM

    Congrats! When I awoke to this news the other day I just started praising God! I was ecstatic for you! You NEVER deserved to go through that! I hope you will continue to expose the corruption of the Deep State, George Soros, the Left, etc. and keep us informed on the TRUTH! You are an AMERICAN HERO! GOD BLESS!

  • Mary says:

    June 5, 2018 at 4:37 AM

    Congrats from Canada! Im disgusted the Obama administration targeted you, Trump and the tea party! Tells us he is not an honest, trustworthy man!

  • MARIAPINA says:

    June 5, 2018 at 10:38 AM


  • CJ says:

    June 5, 2018 at 1:47 PM

    What absolutely fantastic news Dinesh… I was thrilled to bits to hear of your presidential pardon. Thank you, President Trump, for making right what was an incredibly bad decision by the previous fearful administration. Thank you Dinesh for speaking the truth and getting it out to us…. “And now you can be an even bigger champion of freedom than before.”
    I pray the Lord keeps you in the palm of His hands.

  • Dan Knight says:

    June 5, 2018 at 6:27 PM

    Winning! Almost feel like I’ve gotten a pardon. Looking forward to your next documentary!

  • marlene says:

    June 6, 2018 at 12:30 AM

    so glad president trump corrected this injustice. it is a disgrace what you had to go through because of the most corrupt administration in history. so happy for you. god bless you

  • Anne Redelsperger says:

    June 6, 2018 at 7:56 PM

    So glad that the TRUTH has come out – for all to see.
    Now all of us need to continue to stand up for our country!

  • Donna says:

    June 8, 2018 at 3:01 PM

    My God you’re a great writer.

  • Dennis Kehoe says:

    June 11, 2018 at 10:17 AM

    Dinesh – congrats on your pardon by President Trump – a terrible injustice to you and your family has been rectified. The thin-skinned Obama administration has been quick to weaponize federal agencies on numerous occasions, yours being one of many. Thank God we have a leader in President Trump with the backbone to confront and rectify such cowardly injustices. You are an American patriot – keep up the good fight !

    God Bless President Trump – God Bless the USA, and together, LET’S MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

  • Michael Rodriguez says:

    June 11, 2018 at 10:21 AM

    Enjoying freedom free from a tyrant dictator, should be in another country. Glad you’re free Buddy!!

  • Lin says:

    June 15, 2018 at 3:49 PM

    A big congrats to you for getting pardoned by Pres/ Trump. One more example of making America great again!

  • john says:

    July 1, 2018 at 3:37 AM