Trump’s pardon power will be worthless as special counsel Robert Meuller is working with the New York attorney general in the clearest signal yet that state criminal charges could be coming in the Russia scandal.
Politico reported on the cooperation between Mueller and New York AG Eric Schneiderman:
The two teams have shared evidence and talked frequently in recent weeks about a potential case, these people said. One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering.
No decision has been made on where or whether to file charges. “Nothing is imminent,” said one of the people familiar with the case.(Continued Below)
The two are teaming up on the Manafort part of the Russia investigation, but the idea that the state of New York could render Trump’s pardon plan worthless throws a wrench into what the White House seemed to be planning as their ultimate get out jail card when the Russia scandal hits the fan.
The money laundering investigations and examinations of his financial dealings are what have Trump the most nervous.
As Ari Melber pointed out on MSNBC on Tuesday, Trump can’t pardon his way out of state charges, “If Trump issues mass pardons, that legal door would be open in some states. A state may also obtain grand jury material if it shows a violation of state law, so if Mueller’s investigation ends, a state could pursue the transcripts of every Meuller interview before the grand jury and other evidence. In fact, I can report tonight that a source with knowledge of one state attorney general’s preparations tells me that that office is already looking at its potential jurisdiction for Russia related crimes.”
Trump isn’t going to escape the Russia scandal. If federal charges don’t get him and his associates, the state of New York looks ready to act.