Like so much with Trumps presidency, it could have been much worse. It was terrible, but.
The worst ones are the pardoning of other high officials who used their office to enrich themselves, also known as corruption. Some of these Trump didn’t even both to defend. (Interestingly, I can no longer access the actual text of the pardons. The links now go to a dead 404 page at whitehouse.gov.) It’s striking that the most corrupt president in our times pardoned other corrupt officials. Like so much with Trump, he can barely muster any empathy unless you are like him.
(By the way, Steve Brannon’s may not matter so much. He can be charged from anywhere; the prosecutors can just ship the evidence to another jurisdiction.)
The rest are not so bad. Many are good. Let’s remember that Bill Clintons were pretty bad also. He too sent out a raft of pardons just at the end of the presidency, and he too had some bad ones. That doesn’t make Trumps pardons okay, it’s points against Clinton.
What didn’t Trump do? He didn’t pardon himself. That was not a given at all, it was assumed he would try. He also didn’t pardon anyone in his family. He didn’t pardon anyone in his cabinet. At the last second, he walked back the pardon of Sheldon Silver. He didn’t pardon Rudy Giuliani. He didn’t pardon any of the Jan 6th insurrectionists. All of these were possible or expected.
That’s the Trump presidency. Investigate and talk about doing the worse thing possible, then do something that is merely very awful.