President Donald Trump’s pardoning of Dinesh D’Souza on Thursday looked to many observers like a flagrant attempt to send a signal to his associates implicated in the Russia investigation that he is willing to pardon them, too, in an effort to keep them from cooperating with prosecutors. But as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow explained, if Trump really is using the pardon power in this way, it could place him in serious legal jeopardy.
The problem is that, as even the President Richard Nixon’s White House seemed to acknowledge, the pardon power cannot be used to hinder or undermine investigations that might affect the president personally, Maddow explained.
“Yesterday, we found out that the prosecution of the president’s longtime personal lawyer is going ahead in the Southern District of New York, today the president issued a full pardon to this guy who was convicted by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York,” she said. “The president also decided today to dangle the prospect of a whole bunch of other pardons for other people you might have heard of.”
She continued: “Psychologically, the president has started using the pardon power in a way that is designed to showcase his own power to arbitrarily pardon whoever he wants, outside any system. To act on a whim, to do it whenever he feels like it.”
Given that the use of a pardon could technically become a part of an obstruction of justice case against the president and was even cited after Nixon resigned as a potential topic for a fourth article of impeachment against the disgraced president, this attitude toward the pardon power is highly suspicious.
Maddow even played a tape in which Nixon can be heard talking about a possible use of the pardon that his Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman told him he shouldn’t even mention because it could implicate that president in “criminal obstruction of justice.”
“The problem is, even for presidents of the United States, even with a presidential power as broad as the pardon power, you can’t just do it for anybody in any circumstances,” Maddow said. “Not in the case of a Bob Haldeman, you couldn’t. At least that’s what they thought during Watergate. And if you couldn’t with Bob Haldeman, why would anybody think you could do this with Michael Cohen?”
Watch the clip below:
Presidential pardon power is broad, but you can't just do it for anybody in any circumstances. If Nixon couldn't do it for Bob Haldeman, why would anyone think Trump could do it with Michael Cohen? pic.twitter.com/pg1QwlM1xy
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) June 1, 2018
‘Call the mall cops!’ Roy Moore roasted after saying he’ll make ‘more personal contact with people’ in Senate run
Roy Moore, the far-right politician who infamously lost an Alabama Senate race in 2017 after allegations emerged about him molesting teenage girls, announced on Thursday that he was going to once again run for office in 2020.
While touting his potential rematch with Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), Moore was asked by a reporter what he will do differently this time around.
"I would like to make more personal contact with people," Moore responded.
Given that Moore's history of "personal contact" with underage women was what cost him the 2017 Senate race -- and even allegedly got him banned from a shopping mall that grew weary of his regular efforts to pick up teen girls -- Moore was quickly buried in ridicule on Twitter.
Trump ‘lit his own house on fire’ by pulling out of Iran nuclear deal: International relations expert
Kelly Magsamen, the VP of National Security and International Policy for the Center for American Progress explained during an MSNBC interview Thursday that the president is causing his own problems with Iran.
Speaking to host Ali Velshi, Magsamen said that it was Trump who "lit his own house on fire" when he breached the Iran treaty known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
"I think we are definitely in the middle of an escalatory (sic) cycle, and how do we get out of it," Magsamen told the host. "And unfortunately, the White House has left itself very few options in terms of escalating or de-escalating and same for the Iranians, frankly. [The Iranians] probably perceive this as an attack from their perspective."
Former Marco Rubio adviser slams the senators’ humiliating transformation into a ‘Trump fan-boy’
Max Boot is well known as a conservative anti-Trump columnist for the Washington Post, but he was also a foreign policy adviser for Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. And in a new piece on Thursday, Boot revealed just how depressing he finds Rubio’s “humiliating transformation into a Trump fan-boy.”
Rubio’s support for the president came under new scrutiny this week after he appeared at Donald Trump’s recent rally in Orlando and tweeted an enthusiastic endorsement: