Prosecutors say Trump’s pardons indicate he’s about to save his own children next

President Donald Trump announced 20 presidential pardons for a mixture of Republicans who committed financial crimes and four Blackwater military contractors who opened fire on a crowd of civilians stuck in traffic in downtown Baghdad.

One man on the list, MSNBC's Chris Hayes explained, kept firing after he was told "ceasefire." The only reason he stopped shooting people was that someone threatened to shoot him.

Discussing the pardons with a former federal prosecutor and law professor, Hayes asked about the many Republicans that Trump appears to be pardoning for public corruption. He wondered what message that sent to the judicial system.

"This is a cynical move by Trump," said former prosecutor and DOJ criminal division chief Paul Butler. "He is laying the groundwork for his -- certainly, to come, his pardoning of his family members and maybe Rudy Giuliani. This is strategic, there are those that will be pardoned that deserve clemency, especially those that receive draconian sentences for drug crimes and turned their lives around. And there's (sic) people like this who protected or tried to protect President Trump in the Russian investigation. And this is their reward with many more to come."

Hayes asked former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne more about those being pardoned and what kind of category they fall into.

"There's not a ton of precedent, but there is in the criminal world. This is essentially a criminal enterprise, and he is pardoning everyone to erase history," she explained. "We have Roger Stone, we have Michael Flynn. And soon, we will have are everyone else. Now we have Alex van der Zwaan, and George Papadopoulos, Friday night, Christmas night, expect Christmas cards to be flying and more pardons on come."

She continued: "He is pardoning everybody in the Mueller probe to try to erase that, a bunch of murderers and political hacks and there's a couple of people he throws in to hide it all and make it look like it's a proper use of the pardon power. But, he runs a criminal enterprise, and he is using his power to cover it up and there's no way to stop him until January 20th."

Watch the full discussion below:


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