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Prosecutors Could Strip POTUS’ Pardon Power for Paul Manafort

The legal maneuver is likely to peeve the President.

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Paul Manafort was undoubtedly a close friend and ally to Donald Trump for some time, but his current position as a Robert Mueller-led pawn is likely grating to the Commander in Chief.

Manafort stands accused of several crimes – some loosely tied to the 2016 election, some not at all.  Given his close relationship with President Trump, the possibility of Manafort being pardoned when, (or if), his court dates cease has long been the subject of tenacious pontification.

For his part, President Trump has refused to rule out such a maneuver, but has not indicated his inclination either.

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Now, prosecutors from the State of New York are looking to neuter the President’s options in Manafort’s case, by adjudicating it outside of the Presidential Pardon’s jurisdiction.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is preparing state criminal charges against Paul J. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, in an effort to ensure he will still face prison time even if the president pardons him for his federal crimes, according to several people with knowledge of the matter.

Mr. Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced next month for convictions in two federal cases brought by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III. He faces up to 25 years in prison for tax and bank fraud and additional time for conspiracy counts in a related case. It could effectively be a life sentence for Mr. Manafort, who turns 70 in April.

The move was likely designed to curtal the President’s pardon powers specifically.

The president has broad power to issue pardons for federal crimes, but no such authority in state cases. And while there has been no clear indication that Mr. Trump intends to pardon Mr. Manafort, the president has spoken repeatedly of his pardon power and defended his former campaign chairman on a number of occasions, calling him a “brave man.”

Manafort’s troubles come just days before the Department of Justice expects to receive the final report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign.

 

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Trump 2020 Campaign Fires McGhan’s Law Firm

Turnover is nothing new for the Trump White House.

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One of the key players identified in the pages of the Mueller report is Don McGhan, former counsel to the President. McGhan’s name hasn’t previously been this far into the forefront, but a revelation from within Robert Mueller’s inconclusive dissertation regarding possible obstruction of justice by the President has made him nearly a household name. McGhan’s infamy arises from a passage in the report detailing his reaction to a question by President Trump regarding possible conflicts of interest that Robert Mueller and his team may have had. After McGhan’s insubordination became public knowledge with the release of Mueller’s epic tome, President Trump’s 2020 campaign team have decided to no longer retain legal services from his firm. The Trump campaign has hired its own in-house attorney for its 2020 reelection bid — shifting future business away from Jones Day, the law firm, that has represented Trump since his first run for president. Campaign officials and advisers cast the decision to hire Nathan Groth — a former lawyer for the Republican National Committee and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — as a money-saving move, supported by the businessman-turned-president who loves to cut costs. Here’s the kicker… But close Trump advisers say the decision also stems from disappointment with the White House’s former top attorney and current Jones Day partner, Don McGahn, whose behavior has irked the president and some of his family members. This certainly won’t surprise many within Trump’s inner circle, as his administration has been rife with turnover during the 2+ years since the President was inaugurated.

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Trump Channels HBO Blockbuster to Troll Democrats After Mueller Report’s Release

The President’s tweet carried with it a lot of bravado…but was it premature?

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The Mueller report has arrived, all 400+ pages of it, and the media at large is attempting to scour through it as quickly as possible at this early hour. Pundits are sitting around their special, “big news” sets, laptops ablaze like a well-lit Stonehenge, as these entertainers of “the news” attempt to breathlessly interpret the report in their own partisan language before the President and his lawyers speak on the subject. Trump, however, is a master media manipulator who will invariably get his point across, with or without the television media’s help. Such is that case today as the President piggybacked on the hype surrounding HBO’s Game of Thrones to bolster his base’s belief in him. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1118876219381026818 Critics of the President have been quick to point out that Mueller’s report specifically states that Congress is still able to work on the ten instances of “obstruction of justice” that the Special Counsel investigated, despite the President attempting to call “game over”. Attorney General Bill Barr said something quite different in a statement this morning. As for obstruction, Barr said that the report recounts 10 episodes involving Trump and “discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offense.” But he said the White House “fully cooperated” with the investigation, and that he concluded that the evidence is not sufficient to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense by Trump. Regardless of whether you believe that President Trump is “exonerated” through this Mueller report, it would be foolish in any case to believe that this is “game over”…especially now that the democrats have a hold of this massive trove of information.

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