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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump has pardoned Dinesh D'Souza, a convicted felon who has been a prominent conservative pundit and activist since the 1980s.

The big picture: D'Souza, who pled guilty in 2014 to violating campaign finance laws, served in the Reagan administration and worked at both the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution. He became prominent after publishing Illiberal Education in 1991, has written 16 books critiquing the liberal world-view, and gradually transitioned into film projects.

What Trump is pardoning: D'Souza was indicted in 2014 for violating campaign finance laws in Wendy Long's 2012 U.S. Senate race. He received 5 years of probation and 8 months in a supervised “community confinement center.”

Preet Bharara, who was fired by President Trump in 2017, said when announcing the indictment:

"Dinesh D'Souza attempted to illegally contribute over $10,000 to a Senate campaign, wilfully undermining the integrity of the campaign finance process... Like many others before him, of all political stripes, he has had to answer for this crime – here with a felony conviction."

Upon the announcement of Trump's intention to pardon D'Souza, Bharara tweeted:

"The President has the right to pardon but the facts are these: D'Souza intentionally broke the law, voluntarily pled guilty, apologized for his conduct & the judge found no unfairness. The career prosecutors and agents did their job. Period."

D'Souza gained special notoriety on Twitter, including most recently for claiming the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting were grieving in a "politically orchestrated" way.

Among his most notorious tweets:

  • Wondering in 2017 if the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville was "staged."
  • He suggested the mainstream media potentially covered up the Las Vegas gunman was an anti-Trump activist, although this does not appear to be true.
  • He has defended Hitler as "NOT anti-gay," despite sending gay people to death camps.
  • He has shared a meme that labeled former President Barack Obama a "gay Muslim" and Michelle Obama a man.

And from his books:

The trend on pardons: Trump has issued several pardons during his presidency, including for former Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff “Scooter” Libby, former sheriff Joe Arpaio, and more recently, boxing champion Jack Johnson.

Go deeper: How Trump's pardon power works

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.