Trump May Pardon Manafort 🚓

 Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Maaaaybe

In an interview with the NY Post yesterday, President Trump said that - while he has never discussed pardoning his former campaign manager (who is facing charges of conspiracy to defraud the US) - he “wouldn’t take it off the table”.

Angling for a pardon?

Manafort has already been convicted of tax fraud, but he made a plea deal with the government: he’d cooperate with Mueller's Russia investigation in exchange for leniency. That deal blew up this week when Mueller accused Manafort of violating the plea deal by lying to investigators about Trump/Russia/etc.


LEANING LEFT:

The Hill: Manafort pardon would be impeachable, indictable and convictable

CNN: Nadler warns Trump 'dangling a pardon' for Manafort is 'close to obstruction of justice'


The left 
believe a pardon for Manafort would be a mistake or even a crime - argue that if the President does issue a pardon, he’ll likely be impeached. Articles from this side argue that even discussing the possibility of a pardon with Manafort or his lawyers would be evidence of witness tampering and/or obstruction of justice by the president.

LEANING RIGHT:

Talking Points Memo: Trump On Manafort Pardon: ‘Why Would I Take It Off The Table?’

Fox News: Trump: Manafort pardon 'not off the table'



The right 
reports on what the president said, but does not editorialize whether a pardon would be acceptable. They mostly echo the arguments the President made in the NY Post interview in a way that implies they agree that a pardon shouldn't be taken off the table.


What's going on here?

It's starting to feel like the Mueller investigation may yield an outcome soon. Pardoning Manafort could be Trump's version of Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre: the spark that lit the fire that ended his presidency. If Trump chooses to pardon Manafort, he’ll need to make sure he can put out the fire.

If Trump pardon's Manafort

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