Did President Trump Just Prepare America For a Manafort Pardon?
Yesterday, it was reported that former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort breached his plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller by repeatedly lying to federal investigators after agreeing to cooperate. This has led to political pundits, journalists, TV personalities, and commentators on both sides of the aisle to question just how “Frickin’ stupid’ Paul Manafort really is.
The news of Manafort’s lack of cooperation came in the form of a court filing by federal prosecutors on Monday. While Manafort’s attorneys claim that he has not actually lied to investigators, the government says otherwise, and ultimately it is the government’s opinion that matters in his upcoming sentencing hearing.
This morning President Trump made several tweets which may allude to Manafort’s decision not to cooperate, while also reinforcing Trump’s own baseless attacks against the special counsel.
“The Phony Witch Hunt continues, but Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems are only looking at one side, not the other,” Trump tweeted. “Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie. Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue. The Fake News Media builds Bob Mueller up as a Saint, when in actuality he is the exact opposite. He is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System, where he is only looking at one side and not the other. Heroes will come of this, and it won’t be Mueller and his terrible Gang of Angry Democrats. Look at their past, and look where they come from. The now $30,000,000 Witch Hunt continues and they’ve got nothing but ruined lives. Where is the Server? Let these terrible people go back to the Clinton Foundation and ‘Justice’ Department!
The only reasonable explanation as to why Manafort would decide not to cooperate with Mueller, thus ensuring that his criminal sentence is much longer in length — perhaps one that amounts to a life sentence, given that Manafort is 69-years-old — is that he is now relying on a presidential pardon.
Trump’s tweet this morning seems to try to shift blame away from Manafort and toward Robert Mueller, which could intentionally be a means of setting his base up for a future pardon. Trump is, without mentioning names, seemingly playing Manfort and others off to be victims and “heroes” for “refusing to lie”, while also calling Mueller “conflicted” and saying he has “gone rogue”.
If Trump were to go ahead and issue a pardon to Manafort, his actions could be viewed as obstruction of justice, especially if Manafort and members of Trump’s legal team (or Trump himself) were in communication about a potential pardon.
Of course this is all just speculation, and perhaps Manafort has other reasons for allegedly lying to investigators. Only time will tell.