Trump Pushed Don McGahn To Resign So He Could Pardon His Way Out Of Trouble

Last updated on September 26th, 2018 at 05:56 am

White House counsel Don McGahn is leaving his post, and some experts think it’s because Donald Trump wants to begin pardoning his way out of trouble – at least as it relates to the ongoing Paul Manafort trial.

According to Joyce Vance and Ari Melber of MSNBC, McGahn has been “hesitant” about issuing a pardon to Paul Manafort. The fact that he’s now leaving could suggest Trump is ready to come to his former campaign manager’s rescue.

As Melber noted, Trump‘s response to McGahn‘s resignation essentially boiled down to this: “Great, then you can go and I will get someone who will carry out a pardon order.”



VANCE: We have seen reports, though, that [McGahn has] been hesitant on the issue of giving Paul Manafort a pardon. It’s possible that much as the president was perceived by many to be signaling to Manafort last week that a pardon was a possibility when he spoke of Manafort favorably. Perhaps he’s saying that McGahn is leaving. A pardon is again being dangled in a direction that the president may feel some pressure with the upcoming September trial with Manafort.

MELBER: Well, you’re nailing that, as you so often do, because that was the other context, David, there were these leaks. As Joyce refers to, that basically if this was a — we talk about fireable offenses, this may have been a “resignable” offense in the sense that McGahn has drawn a red line over certain things. And Donald Trump‘s response, reportedly, was great, then you can go and I will get someone who will carry out a pardon order.

Trump has tried to pressure McGahn before

Don McGahn isn’t new to Trump‘s attempts to abuse his powers to derail Robert Mueller‘s investigation and save his own skin. As I noted in January, McGahn refused to carry out an order to fire Mueller last summer. At the time, he threatened to resign over it.

In this case, not only did the outgoing White House counsel spend 30 hours spilling his soul to Mueller, but Trump seems to recognize that McGahn isn’t in favor of a Paul Manafort pardon, which is increasingly likely as the former Trump campaign manager signals he wants to cut a deal with Mueller.

With Trump‘s legal troubles pushing him to take desperate and lawless measures to save his imploding presidency,  Don McGahn appears to be getting out before the ship goes down.

Sean Colarossi

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