Mueller, Schneiderman Team Up In Possible Bid To Counter Trump Pardon Power

More than a few commentators have variously suggested that Donald Trump’s legal team may not be up to the task when it comes to squaring off against “Bobby Three Sticks” and co.

Consider these brief excerpts from a Bloomberg piece out earlier this month, for example:

As Mueller adds experienced prosecutors and broadens his investigation, Trump’s legal team still appears disorganized and understaffed. An army of well-paid lawyers would help the president get in front of the investigation: preparing responses to allegations before hearing about them from prosecutors or reporters, anticipating where Mueller is going, and developing a counternarrative to stymie him. Junior staffers could spend all night researching case law or obstruction of justice and conspiracy statutes; they could be available at a moment’s notice to draft pleadings challenging Mueller’s requests to interview witnesses or gather documents.

Instead, Trump’s defense has been almost entirely reactive—responding to the latest bombshell report with uninformed statements by surrogates.

Yes, “uninformed statements by surrogates.” And as Trump himself will tell you, his surrogates are perpetually (and woefully) behind the curve:

Well, just one day after we learned that the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hear closed-door testimony from Donald Trump Jr. and that Mueller has issued subpoenas to a former lawyer for Paul Manafort and to Manafort’s current spokesman, we get the latest on the Special Counsel investigation and it looks like “Bobby” is about to try and circumvent Trump’s pardon power. 

Here’s Politico:

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes.

The two teams have shared evidence and talked frequently in recent weeks about a potential case, these people said. One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering.

Note that bolded bit.

It seems entirely plausible that Trump was trying to send a message to his former and current associates with the Arpaio pardon. Namely, that everyone’s got a “get out of jail free” card if push comes to shove.

Obviously, if you know you’re likely to be pardoned, you’re less likely cooperate in an investigation.

To the extent the above is accurate and, perhaps more poignantly, to the extent Mueller uses it as a tactic to pressure other people he thinks might have been involved, he could effectively remove the incentive everyone had for keeping their mouth shut and replace it with the threat of being charged with a state crime.

Trump’s legal team might want to start burning the candle at both ends…

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5 thoughts on “Mueller, Schneiderman Team Up In Possible Bid To Counter Trump Pardon Power

  1. Next story to drop will be Cyrus Vance, Jr., D.A. of Manhattan, involvement in the case (Yes, that Carter’s Secretary of State’s son). I’m betting he’s been on this for longer than several weeks. Manhattan is world center HQ for the Trump Organization, where many of the crimes were committed in conjunction with Russian Oligarchs and Russian Organized crime involving years of real estate deals. The Federal RICO statute has a ten-year statute of limitations when bank fraud is involved, otherwise, it’s five-year statute. Lots of shoes dropping. Perhaps lots more than shoes.

      • There’s a caveat here: If a target gets a presidential pardon, let’s say for computer hacking under federal law, and the same operative allegations would place the target at risk for exposure to criminal prosecution under state law, then the target may invoke the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination when subpoenaed by federal authorities to testify.

  2. And it’s getting better
    Growing stronger warm and wilder
    Getting better everyday, better everyday
    I don’t feel all turned on and starry eyed
    I just feel a sweet contentment deep inside

    That it isn’t half of what it’s going to turn out to be
    Cause it’s getting better
    Growing stronger, warm and wilder
    Getting better everyday, better everyday
    And just like a flower that takes time to bloom …

    1. So, IRS is in …

    [Refresh your recollection about Manafort’s history:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Manafort%5D

    3. Then this hits the wires:

    Manafort Notes From Russian Meet Refer to Political Contributions*:

    WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort’s notes from a controversial Trump Tower meeting with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign included a mention of political contributions near a reference to the Republican National Committee, two sources briefed on the evidence told NBC News.

    The contents of the note, which have not been previously disclosed, elevated the significance of the June 2016 meeting for congressional investigators, who are focused on determining whether it included any discussion of donations from Russian sources to either the Trump campaign or the Republican Party.”

    3. Then this report**:

    “Sara Armstrong, the top staffer at the Republican National Committee, is departing, according to three people familiar with the move — the latest in a string of exits from the committee.

    Armstrong, the RNC’s chief of staff, is exiting to take a senior-level job at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She had been serving in the chief of staff role since early this year after helping to oversee President Donald Trump’s inauguration planning.

    Richard Walters, the RNC finance director, will serve as interim chief of staff while the committee seeks a permanent replacement. RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel has begun that search.

    Armstrong is the sixth staffer to leave the RNC in just over a month. That includes a handful of aides in the committee’s data department who left recently amid a change in departmental leadership. The wave of departures, coming less than a year after the 2016 election, has surprised the tight-knit world of Republican operatives.”

    Russia, IRS, RNC, Data, Manfort, Donations …

    Ba da da da da da da da da da da da
    And I don’t mind waitin’, don’t mind waitin’
    Cause no matter how long it takes …

    ===

    * https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/manafort-notes-russian-meet-contain-cryptic-reference-donations-n797816?utm_source=WTF+Just+Happened+Today%3F&utm_campaign=4e6e3a437b-Day_224_Tag_teamed_8_31_2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9813b73b1a-4e6e3a437b-162859433

    ** http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/31/rnc-chief-of-staff-resigns-amid-rash-of-departures-242212

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