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Donald Trump The Trump Adminstration

Trump Messed Up Some Of His Pardons –The Recipients Can Still Be Prosecuted

In the final days of his administration, Donald Trump handed out 74 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 others who had been convicted and sentenced to federal prison.

NBC News notes that many of those who received pardons from Trump were close friends, former associates, or people he believed would somehow endear him to the rich assholes he’s known to hang out with at Mar-a-Lago:

“A list of 143 people, made public early Wednesday morning, included his former chief strategist and longtime ally Steve Bannon as well as his former top fundraiser Elliott Broidy. Then, with less than an hour to go before President-elect Joe Biden was set to be sworn in, Trump granted one last pardon: to Albert J. Pirro, Jr., the ex-husband of Fox News host and longtime ally Jeanine Pirro.”

But some of those pardons were so narrowly constructed and written that they leave the recipients open to prosecution by the Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Former Mueller investigation chief prosecutor Andrew Weissmann spelled out the mistakes Trump made in the pardons of two individuals, longtime Trump friend and confidant Roger Stone and Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, Paul Manafort, in an article he wrote for Just Security:

“The pardon for Paul Manafort (on Dec. 23, 2020), is illustrative. By its own terms, the pardon covers only the crimes “for his conviction” on specific charges and not any other crimes (charged or uncharged). Specifically, the pardon is solely for the crimes of conviction — eight in the Eastern District of Virginia and two in the District of Columbia. That leaves numerous crimes as to which Manafort can still be prosecuted, as in Virginia there were 10 hung counts. In Washington, the situation is even more wide open. In that district, Manafort pleaded to a superseding information containing two conspiracy charges, while the entire underlying indictment — containing numerous crimes from money laundering, to witness tampering, to violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act — now remains open to prosecution as there was no conviction for those charges.”

And then we have Roger Stone and a rouges gallery of other criminals:

“Manafort is not the only example of narrow Trump pardons that may be rectified by the incoming Attorney General. The same narrow pardons were provided to Special Counsel Office defendants Roger Stone (Dec. 23, 2020), George Papadopoulos (Dec. 22, 2020), and Alex van den Zwaan (Dec. 22, 2020), as well as the myriad other felons who received pardons or commutations on December 22 and 23, 2020. As noted, these defendants include murderers, corrupt politicians and law enforcement officers, and Philip Esformes, the single largest health care fraudster in history. These windows of opportunity are due in significant part to a practice followed by prosecutors’ offices across the country: permitting defendants to plead to some, but not all, of their crimes. That feature of these cases should now redound to the benefit of the government, as it may now permit the Department to see that justice is done.”

All of these people can be tried and convicted once again, and this time they won’t be getting a presidential pardon, so they’ll have to serve all of their sentences without the promise of a get-out-of-jail free card waiting for them if they agree to not testify against Trump.

As with everything he does, Donald Trump failed. He wanted to provide protection to those who didn’t testify against him, but all he did was make it more likely they’ll wind up in prison for much longer than they anticipated.

 

Categories
Corruption Crime Donald Trump The Trump Adminstration

Law Professor: Trump’s Pardon Of Manafort Will Come Back To Bite The Donald

On Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump pardoned 26 more convicted criminals, including his 2106 campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud in August of 2018, but the Donald may well have screwed himself legally by giving Manafort a pass, according to New York University School of Law professor Ryan Goodman.

Goodman appeared on CNN Thursday morning and noted that the Mueller Report specifically mentions that the president’s attorneys make it clear to Manafort that if he refused to cooperate with Mueller’s investigators, he would receive a pardon:

“The Mueller report specifically says that Manafort told his deputy, Rick Gates, that Manafort had spoken with Trump’s personal attorney, and it would be stupid to plea and they should sit tight, because, quote, ‘We’ll be taken care of.’ The Mueller team concludes that this met all of the elements and did succeed in Manafort failing to cooperate and maintaining his silence.”

In other words, if Trump gave Manafort a pardon as a reward for obstructing justice, the soon-to-be ex-POTUS could potentially be in very big trouble:

“If a pardon is part of a crime, then most experts would agree that, in fact, the president could be criminally prosecuted for it. Just imagine a president exchanged a pardon for a bribe. Well, most experts agree that the president could then be prosecuted for bribery.”

Whoever winds up being President-elect Joe Biden’s attorney general needs to take a close look at Trump’s pardons and prosecute him if any of them were illegal.

Lock Trump up!

Here’s the video of Professor Goodman from CNN:

Categories
Crime Donald Trump Russia Trump-Russia

New Court Filing In Paul Manafort’s Case Is The Worst Possible News For Trump

Donald Trump’s former 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has been out of the news for a couple of months, and that’s mainly because he’s busy serving an extended sentence in federal prison for his many crimes. Rather than agree to testify against Trump, Manafort took the blame and is now incarcerated for up to 7 1/2 years.


But even though Manafort is serving time, there’s still news from his case, and that news could wind up providing evidence of Trump’s many crimes, CNN reports:

“Prosecutors told a federal judge on Sunday they are nearly ready to unseal details from court proceedings about how President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied during his cooperation, including about efforts to sway the President’s approach to Ukraine.

“Unsealing the details could potentially explain major questions about Manafort’s connections to the White House and fill in gaps about what Russia and Ukraine hoped from Trump after he took office.”

The key words there are Trump, Russia, and Ukraine, all of which led to the appointment of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and have also resulted in Donald Trump being impeached.


It may interest you to know that while prosecutors are more than willing to let us all see details from the case that was used to convict Manafort, the U.S. Department of Justice, under the so-called leadership of Trump toady William Barr, is fighting that release, with the U.S. Attorney’s office for District of Columbia siding with Manafort’s attorneys and asking to review the documents another time before they’re made public. Why in the world would they do that? What do they have to hide?

Based on the Mueller report, we know that Manafort had promised Russian oligarch Konstantin Kilimnik he would do his best to “sway” Trump on the matter of Ukraine:

“After the presidential election, Kilimnik wrote an email to Manafort expressing the view—which Manafort later said he shared—that the plan’s success would require U.S. support to succeed: ‘all that is required to start the process is a very minor ‘wink’ (or slight push) from [Donald Trump],'” the Mueller report says. “The email also stated that if Manafort were designated as the U.S. representative and started the process, [former Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych would ensure his reception in Russia ‘at the very top level.'”


Ultimately, the decision on releasing those Manafort documents will come down to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who has already made it clear she isn’t about to dance to the DOJ or White House’s tune when it comes to issuing her rulings.

Within a week or so, we could be seeing that Manafort evidence, right as things are reaching critical mass on Trump’s pending impeachment trial in the Senate. And that might be very damaging to a president who is already trying to start a war with Iran in a selfish attempt to distract the nation from his problems here at home.

In the end, Manafort may help bring down Trump, even though he refused to testify against him.