Tag Archives: Presidential Pardons

Analysis of Trump lawyers’ defense memo (shorter version: It’s all B.S.)

When former U.S. President Richard Nixon sat down for an interview with British journalist David Frost in 1977, Nixon asserted a broad interpretation of executive authority:

Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 6.22.09 AM Frost:…Would you say that there are certain situations – and the Huston Plan was one of them – where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation, and do something illegal?

Nixon: Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.

Frost: By definition.

Nixon: Exactly, exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president’s decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they’re in an impossible position.

You should note the context: If the president orders someone in the federal government to do something for a national security or domestic security reason, those individuals carrying out the president’s order “are not violating the law.”

Donald Trump and his shyster lawyers have taken Nixon’s assertion “[W]hen the president does it, that means it is not illegal,” and extended this to a blanket assertion of presidential immunity from (1) being subpoenaed in a criminal investigation, and (2) being indicted for criminal activity while president. It is a novel theory that the president is above the law, and a bold rejection of the bedrock foundational American principles that we are a nation of laws and that no man is above the law.

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Did Trump’s lawyer John Dowd raise the prospect of a pardon to witnesses?

The New York Times, and others, reported this week that President Trump’s lawyer John Dowd – who has resigned – broached the idea of President Trump’s pardoning two of his former top advisers, Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort, with their lawyers last year, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions. Trump’s Lawyer Raised Prospect of Pardons for Flynn and Manafort:

The discussions came as the special counsel was building cases against both men, and they raise questions about whether the lawyer, John Dowd, who resigned last week, was offering pardons to influence their decisions about whether to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation.

The talks suggest that Mr. Trump’s lawyers were concerned about what Mr. Flynn and Mr. Manafort might reveal were they to cut a deal with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, in exchange for leniency. Mr. Mueller’s team could investigate the prospect that Mr. Dowd made pardon offers to thwart the inquiry, although legal experts are divided about whether such offers might constitute obstruction of justice.

Mr. Dowd’s conversation with Mr. Flynn’s lawyer, Robert K. Kelner, occurred sometime after Mr. Dowd took over last summer as the president’s personal lawyer, at a time when a grand jury was hearing evidence against Mr. Flynn on a range of potential crimes. Mr. Flynn, who served as Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, agreed in late November to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation. He pleaded guilty in December to lying to the F.B.I. about his conversations with the Russian ambassador and received favorable sentencing terms.

Mr. Dowd has said privately that he did not know why Mr. Flynn had accepted a plea, according to one of the people. He said he had told Mr. Kelner that the president had long believed that the case against Mr. Flynn was flimsy and was prepared to pardon him, the person said.

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Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio to run for the Senate to pick the pockets of the rubes who support this racist

Oh sweet Jesus! Are we really going to do this? Alabamians are relieved today that an Arizona exists to make them look not so bad by comparison.

Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio is just a grifter, like his buddy Donald Trump, and is only interested in picking the pockets of the racist and white nationalist rubes who see him as a hero (sic). He doesn’t want to be a senator. Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio announces run for U.S. Senate:

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who for years has teased potential runs for higher office, announced Tuesday that he is running for the U.S. Senate in Arizona.

“I am running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Arizona, for one unwavering reason: to support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump in his mission to Make America Great Again,” Arpaio said in a tweet posted to Twitter at 9:06 a.m.

“You know I’m a hard worker and I don’t run to lose, so I’ll do whatever it takes to win,” Arpaio told The Arizona Republic later. “I’m out here to win.”

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Latest developments in the Trump-Putin campaign investigation

With each new revelation, Donald Trump and his campaign move the goalposts in the Russia investigation. At first there was the flat denial that anyone in the campaign had contacts with the Russians. Then the campaign had to concede, OK there were contacts with the Russians, but we did not discuss collusion. Then it was revealed that the Trump campaign did attempt to collude with the Russians to “get dirt” on Hillary Clinton, but the campaign was unsuccessful in obtaining that information, so “we’re good.”

Trump and his apologists appear to be unaware of “inchoate” crimes—attempts, conspiracy, and solicitation—actions that fall short of the final act of commission, but may still be a prosecutable crime.

George Papadapolous has already plead guilty for lying to the FBI about his multiple contacts with the Russians to “get dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Papadapolous reported on his activities to several senior Trump campaign officials: his supervisor Sam Clovis, then campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, subsequent campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates, and foreign policy adviser Walid Phares. Who’s who in the George Papadopoulos court documents (there are additional persons not identified).

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President Trump considering pardon for Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio

The Washington Post reports,  Trump says he’s considering pardon for Joe Arpaio:

President Trump told Fox News he is “seriously considering” issuing a pardon for former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order to stop detaining people because he merely suspected them of being undocumented immigrants.

Trump told the news outlet during a conversation in Bedminster, N.J., that the pardon could come quickly, perhaps in a matter of days. The news outlet reported the conversation on its website Monday.

“I might do it right away, maybe early this week. I am seriously thinking about it,” Trump said, according to Fox News. He said Arpaio was a “great American patriot” who had “done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration.”

Arpaio was also “America’s most corrupt sheriff” who abused the powers of his office and who demonstrated contempt for the court, traits that Donald Trump shares in common with his friend.

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Team Trump to attack Justice Department investigators, explore pardons

As I posted yesterday, the Trump administration is seeking to discredit anyone in the chain of investigators investigating the Trump campaign and his financial connections to Russia in order to provide grist to the conservative media entertainment complex to wage a propaganda campaign against Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators, for the purpose of laying the groundwork for Trump’s eventual move to a “Saturday Night Massacre” and finding someone at the Justice Department to “Bork” (fire) Robert Mueller.

Trump is also working on a “get out of jail free” card by having his lawyers explore the parameters of his issuing a presidential pardon to his ne’er-do-well family of grifters and con men, and more importantly, to himself.

If Trump is as innocent as he claims, he would be cooperating with Congress and the Justice Department to resolve this matter as quickly as possible to clear his name. He would not be going to war with his own Department of Justice. Trump is plainly behaving as a man who has something to hide.

The Washington Post reports, Trump team seeks to control, block Mueller’s Russia investigation:

Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.

One adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation.

“This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,’ ” a close adviser said.

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