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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

Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.

Scoop: Over 200 papers quietly sue Big Tech

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Newspapers all over the country have been quietly filing antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook for the past year, alleging the two firms monopolized the digital ad market for revenue that would otherwise go to local news. 

Why it matters: What started as a small-town effort to take a stand against Big Tech has turned into a national movement, with over 200 newspapers involved across dozens of states.