According to a report from Politico, former Trump aides facing jail time -- or already in jail -- are using every means possible to get President Donald Trump to issue a blanket pardon before he faces impeachment in the Senate.
The report notes that advocates for former campaign manager Paul Manafort, security adviser Michale Flynn, and Trump supporter Roger Stone are fanning out to right-wing outlets such as Fox News to get the president's attention.
"Roger Stone’s supporters are making a pardon pitch everywhere President Donald Trump looks: Fox News, InfoWars, Twitter, even the White House driveway. Michael Flynn abruptly hired a bombastic lawyer who spouts Trump-friendly theories about FBI duplicity that are widely seen as a pardon play," Politico reports, adding that, "Paul Manafort has kept himself on Trump’s radar from behind bars in a federal penitentiary by feeding the president’s personal attorney a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, and not Russia, interfered in the 2016 campaign."
What gives the men hope -- including the notion that a pardon could help to keep them silent about any other criminal dealings the administration may have had a hand in -- is the knowledge that the president has already handed out pardons that he feels are politically advantageous to him.
"The clemency calculations come because Stone, Flynn and Manafort — all former Trump campaign aides — know the president has repeatedly proven willing to trample over his own advisers despite warnings of political consequences," Politico notes. "Most recently, Trump cleared the records of three armed services members accused or convicted of war crimes over the objections of several of his top military brass."
According to one former Trump adviser, "If he felt Manafort and Flynn and others were deserving of pardons, he’d just do it.”
The report notes that Trump -- who often ignores his advisers to make impulsive decisions -- may hold off in these situations due to possible political fall-out when his administration is reeling under the impeachment inquiry.
"In Trump’s White House, few of his top aides see pardons for the likes of Stone, Flynn or Manafort as a good idea, at least not until after Election Day 2020. There are still scars from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which concluded with a 448-page report that featured an obstruction of justice section detailing several conversations and public statements about pardons for former Trump aides involving the president and his personal lawyer," Politico reports. "While Trump himself has been coy in recent months about any post-Mueller pardon plans, he’s been anything but shy when registering his disdain for the Russia probe and how it landed him, members of his family and so many other current and former staffers in considerable legal jeopardy."
One avid Trump supporter in Congress hopes the president will hold off -- anticipating the president will be re-elected in 2020 and can issue the pardons then.
“For the president’s sake, he should be looking at the political implications,” said Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King. “I’d say for all the specious reasons that have been manufactured by the Democrats, they’d probably call that reasons number infinity-plus-one and infinity-plus-two to impeach the president. So, I’d say let’s get this through first and then take a look at those circumstances.”
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