Even after the former Trump campaign executive struck a plea deal with prosecutors that many assumed involved offering crucial information that could potentially used to incriminate President Trump or other members of his inner circle, President Trump hasn’t ruled out the possibility that he might pardon Paul Manafort, according to the New York Post.
Though the possibility has never been discussed, the president told the Post during a brief Oval Office interview that he wouldn’t rule it out. The comment comes after Mueller accused Manafort of violating his plea agreement to cooperate and demanded that the former lobbyist be sentenced immediately. He’s facing a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
“It was never discussed, but I wouldn’t take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table?” the president said during an Oval Office interview.
It’s true that Trump has never publicly said he would pardon Manafort, but the president’s team has always left the option open. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said before Manafort decided to cooperate that the possibility of a Manafort pardon wouldn’t be discussed until the Mueller probe had ended (which could explain why Manafort opted to flip rather than risk another conviction).
Trump also took the opportunity to criticize Mueller’s effort to use relatively minor offenses – or offenses that had nothing to do with his targets’ work for the Trump campaign (like most of the offenses that Manafort is accused of) – to try and flip witnesses, which Trump said puts them in a position where they’d go to jail if they told the truth.
“If you told the truth, you go to jail,” Trump said.
“You know this flipping stuff is terrible. You flip and you lie and you get – the prosecutors will tell you 99 percent of the time they can get people to flip. It’s rare that they can’t,” Trump said.
“But I had three people: Manafort, Corsi — I don’t know Corsi, but he refuses to say what they demanded. Manafort, Corsi and Roger Stone.”
Trump praised Manafort, Roger Stone and Jerome Coris – the latter of whom has refused to enter a plea agreement after Mueller accused him of lying to investigators – for their efforts to resist the special counsel. He then accused Mueller of McCarthyism…
“It’s actually very brave,” he said of the trio. “And I’m telling you, this is McCarthyism. We are in the McCarthy era. This is no better than McCarthy. And that was a bad situation for the country. But this is where we are. And it’s a terrible thing,” Trump added.
…A comparison he had made earlier Wednesday in a tweet.
While the disgusting Fake News is doing everything within their power not to report it that way, at least 3 major players are intimating that the Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief. This is our Joseph McCarthy Era!
Meanwhile, in a column published Wednesday. Hill op-ed writer argued that pardoning Manafort should be “an impeachable offense” for Trump and said that Manafort’s decision to violate his plea agreement was likely done out of loyalty to the president.
Paul Manafort’s betrayal and double dealing against Robert Mueller and his special counsel team appears to be a desperate ploy designed to achieve a presidential pardon, which will fail, because Trump’s attorneys will advise him in ways similar to what I wrote here.
I have long believed that the case for obstruction of justice involving efforts to impede the Mueller investigation is far stronger, based on publicly known evidence, than our public discussion would suggest.
Additionally, I would assert that while a president can lawfully pardon almost anyone, for almost any crime, a pardon could also be crucial evidence in support of an obstruction of justice case, and potentially an additional count in an obstruction of justice case.
If a pardon is offered to influence a witness in a criminal investigation, that pardon could indeed be a crime. There has been evidence that earlier in the case, Trump’s lawyers discussed a pardon with Manafort’s lawyers.
Trump has already pardoned other controversial figures like Sheriff Joe Arpaio. But a pardon for Manafort would elicit an explosion of controversy. Still, it makes sense that Trump would leave it on the table as a carrot to try to stop Manafort from offering any other incrimination in an act of desperation.