Back on September 4, 2017, I wrote a column headlined "Trump's Next Pardons: A Short List of Convicts Deserving To Be Cleared."
There were seven names on the list in that column: Michael Milken, Martha Stewart, Conrad Black, Dinesh D' Souza, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Larry Franklin, Sholom Rubashkin.
With this week's pardon of Michael Milken, President Trump has now either pardoned or commuted the sentences of five of those seven.
As I wrote back in 2018, when the Dinesh D'Souza pardon was announced:
I try to avoid tooting my own horn around here, in part because there are plenty of times I get it wrong (see the post-election post headlined "Humility.") But it's hard to resist taking a small amount of satisfaction in the fact that September 2017 column is looking pretty good at the moment.
Here's hoping Mr. Trump rapidly moves on to the rest of those mentioned in that column.
Only Martha Stewart and Larry Franklin are still waiting.
Good for Trump for acting on the first five.
The larger significance of the pardon isn't so much what it indicates about my column-writing prescience (nice though that is), but the way it attempts to put an end bracket on the whole episode. The pardon clears Milken, but the story of the way he and the prosecutors who went after him changed Wall Street is one we are all still very much in the middle of.
The Wall Street Journal has a fine editorial on the pardon, too. It concludes:
Numerous journalists made their careers from prosecutors' leaks against Mr. Milken and others on Wall Street, and they have a reputational stake in denying him any vindication.
Then as now the political air was also thick with a desire to punish the wealthy. Such vapors are easy to ride, but they don't equate with justice. In the long run of history, Mike Milken has done more good for more people with his financial innovations and philanthropy than all the scribes of envy politics ever will.