It is being reported that the D’Souza pardon was intended to send a loud message to Mueller witnesses that if they keep quiet, Trump will pardon them.
Philip Rucker of The Washington Post said on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, “The announcement came out of nowhere. There is actually sort of an ordinary process for pardons that begins at the justice department. There is an office of the pardon attorney and thousands of people will apply for a pardon there and that process makes its way to the white house and a presidential decision. But this president has made his pardon decisions personally and on his own and on his own timetable. Not through those normal channels. That’s why he pardoned sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona. That’s why he pardoned Scooter Libby and Dinesh D’Souza. It sent a message to the personal attorney and people ensnared, like national security advisor Mike Flynn that this president trump is willing to exercise his power of clemency to help out his friends and allies to prevent them from serving jail time or to pardon them after the fact. I talked to some people who are in Trump’s outer orbit who may become ensnared or are already witnesses in the Mueller probe who said that that signal was received loudly and clearly.”
If Trump can’t shut down Mueller, he is going to buy the silence of witnesses
The idea that Trump would hint at the promise of pardons to keep witnesses quiet is not surprising. If one believes that Trump has been boxed in and can’t fire Rosenstein, Mueller, etc., the next best step is to keep the witnesses quiet. One of the reasons why Paul Manafort hasn’t flipped on Trump could be because he believes that a presidential pardon is coming. The one flaw in the pardon strategy is that Trump has to be around to implement it.
Impeachment proceedings would derail Trump’s pardon plan, but before the nation can get there, it needs a Democratic Congress. It is one thing for Trump to pardon Martha Stewart or Joe Arpaio, it is another to see the president pardon people convicted of crimes in the Russia investigation.
Trump is abusing his pardon power, and he is planning on taking to the next level as a desperate gambit to stifle the Mueller investigation.
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