Earlier this week, after it was revealed that Paul Manafort had (somewhat predictably) double crossed Robert Mueller by secretly conspiring with Donald Trump, the mainstream media spent a day obsessing over the idea of Trump pardoning Manafort. Palmer Report explained that pardons don’t really work that way, and state charges alone would prevent Trump from being able to get any of his people off the hook. Now a new development makes fully clear that none of these people are getting pardons.
Even as the Stormy Daniels payoff scandal was publicly playing out, and the FBI was raiding Michael Cohen’s offices, Donald Trump was privately signaling to Cohen that he would be pardoned if he remained loyal and took the fall, according to a new report from CNN. But as time went on, Cohen gradually figured out that Trump was lying to him. He felt betrayed, and came to realize that Trump was every bit as awful as his detractors had claimed, and eventually came around to concluding that he needed to do the right thing by pleading guilty and helping to take Trump down. So why is this so crucial?
If Trump has privately told any of his other underlings and associates that he’ll pardon them if they take the fall for him, now they know that he’s lying to them. He was lying to Cohen, who was arguably closer to Trump than anyone, outside of Trump’s own family. So the likes of Paul Manafort and Jerome Corsi, who are far less close to Trump, certainly aren’t getting pardoned. If they were gullible enough to believe that pardons were coming, now they know better.
Again, pardons aren’t a real thing in the Trump-Russia scandal. Donald Trump can’t pardon state charges, and there are other reasons as well. If Trump is secretly dangling pardons to his co-conspirators, he might as well be offering them unicorns. And now they’re getting to see that Trump has been indeed lying to his people about pardoning them. Maybe Trump will desperately try to pardon himself and his kids on his way out the door, though that would probably fail anyway. But these other Trump-Russia people? Forget it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report