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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Report Suggests that Joe Biden’s Great-Great Grandfather Was Pardoned by Abraham Lincoln

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Documents found in the National Archives “reveal the hidden link … between two presidents across the centuries,” historian David J. Gerleman writes

While Joe Biden has the power to grant pardons for those convicted of federal crimes, one of his own relatives was once granted a pardon himself — by none other than then-President Abraham Lincoln.

Historian David J. Gerleman writes in The Washington Post that documents compiled by the U.S. National Archives show that Biden’s great-great grandfather, Moses J. Robinette, was pardoned by Lincoln after he was charged with attempted murder following an 1864 brawl.

The charges against Robinette came after he got into a fight with a fellow Union Army civilian employee in Virginia, ultimately drawing his pocket knife and cutting the man.
The Post reports that Robinette, who was then working as a veterinary surgeon for the army, argued that he was acting in self defense, but was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to two years hard labor.

Ultimately, three army officers appealed the conviction to President Lincoln, arguing it was too severe.

Lincoln, who was president from 1861 until his assassination in 1865, agreed — issuing Robinette’s pardon on Sept. 1, 1864.

Gerleman writes that the 22 pages of court martial transcript found in the Archives help to “fill in an unknown piece of Biden family history.”

“[The] 22 well-preserved pages of [Robinette’s] trial transcript, unobtrusively squeezed among many hundreds of other routine court-martial cases in the National Archives, reveal the hidden link between the two men — and between two presidents across the centuries,” Gerleman writes in the Post.

According to the White House Historical Association, George Washington issued the first presidential pardon — which releases someone from punishment and restores all their civil liberties — in 1795.

In December, Biden issued a proclamation that would pardon those convicted of certain marijuana offenses, building on last year’s historic pardon for federal offenders of simple marijuana possession. The pardons mean that thousands of those who were convicted of use and simple possession of marijuana on federal lands and in the District of Columbia will now be eligible for pardons.

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