Appearing on CNN Thursday, New York University School of Law professor Ryan Goodman outlined how Trump’s pardons could open him up to criminal prosecution for his obstruction of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election.
In particular, Goodman outlined how Mueller’s final report outlined an obstruction case based around communications between the president’s lawyers and Manafort indicating that the president would pardon his former campaign chairman if he refused to cooperate with the special counsel’s probe.
“The Mueller report specifically says that Manafort told his deputy, Rick Gates, that Manafort had spoken with Trump’s personal attorney, and it would be stupid to plea and they should sit tight, because, quote, ‘We’ll be taken care of,'” Goodman explained. “The Mueller team concludes that this met all of the elements and did succeed in Manafort failing to cooperate and maintaining his silence.”
Goodman also explained that while the Constitution gives the president broad powers to pardon people, he could still be prosecuted for it if that pardon was used as a reward for obstructing justice.
“If a pardon is part of a crime, then most experts would agree that, in fact, the president could be criminally prosecuted for it,” he said. “Just imagine a president exchanged a pardon for a bribe. Well, most experts agree that the president could then be prosecuted for bribery.”
Watch the video below.
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McCarthy’s Threat Over Jan. 6 Records ‘Meets the Elements’ of Obstruction of Justice: Legal Expert
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy violated ethics rules — and may have broken the law by obstructing justice — on Tuesday when he threatened telecommunications companies that comply with a Select Committee’s request to preserve records relevant to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to CNN legal analyst Norman Eisen.
McCarthy warned the companies — including Apple, AT&T and Verizon — that if the GOP takes back the House in 2022, “a Republican majority will not forget.” He also claimed that complying with the Select Committee’s request would somehow violate federal law. But Eisen, who served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during former president Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, said bluntly Wednesday that “there is no law.”
“This is the equivalent of the proverbial gangster, walking in to a business and saying, ‘Gee, nice telecomm company you have here. It would be a shame if anything happened to it,'” Eisen said of McCarthy’s threat. “It’s the exact opposite, it’s Orwellian. If these telecomm companies fail to comply with the requirement to preserve these records, if they did what Kevin McCarthy wants and refused to turn over the records, that would be a violation of law. So this is absolutely unjustified by law, and it raises serious questions under the House ethics rules and other laws for Kevin McCarthy himself.”
Asked whether McCarthy’s threat constitutes obstruction of justice, Eisen responded: “It meets the elements of obstruction. It’s a threat. It’s an attempt to stop them through that threat, from turning over documents. It’s self-motivated, it’s corrupt, and McCarthy is worried about what may be in those records on him, and on members of his caucus. It’s always a challenge when you have legislative activity — and note that he did this on his official Twitter account — you have protection under the Constitution for legislators, the speech and debate clause, there will be a debate about that.
“The House Ethics Rules .. prohibit any behavior that brings discredit on the House,” Eisen added. “What could be more discreditable than threatening companies that if they comply with the law, they’ll be punished, when McCarthy has the ability to do that? So I think there’s a serious ethics issue, and then legal issues potentially that need to be explored as well.”
Eisen added there is “no question” that McCarthy had a “personal motivation” in issuing the threat.
“We know that his behavior is going to be called into question, and the committee is going to probe his exchanges with the president,” Eisen said. “We know that members of his caucus, like Matt Gaetz, Mo Brooks, Marjorie Taylor Greene, are also in the crosshairs here, and possibly many others. And it’s not just Jan. 6. The committee correctly understands that President Trump’s pattern of incitement and that of his enablers went back for months in illegitimately attacking an unquestioned electoral result and whipping people into a frenzy. So there could be some very embarrassing revelations. Remember that many members of the Republican caucus, with no basis at all, voted against certifying the election results.”
Former US Attorney Reveals He Resigned Rather Than Be Fired for Not Supporting Trump Voter Fraud Lies
The former U.S. Attorney in Atlanta revealed Wednesday he resigned just two weeks before President Donald Trump would leave office, because top DOJ officials told him Trump would fire him for refusing to say he had found widespread voter fraud in Georgia.
Byung Pak had been the U.S. Attorney since mid 2017, and his surprising resignation on January 4 raised eyebrows, and has since initiated a DOJ inspector general investigation into the cause of his sudden departure.
“Mr. Pak, who provided more than three hours of closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee,” The New York Times reported Wednesday afternoon, “testified that top department officials had made clear that Mr. Trump intended to fire him over his refusal to say that the results in Georgia had been undermined by voter fraud, the person said. Resigning would pre-empt a public dismissal.”
The Times adds that Pak “also described work done by state officials and the F.B.I. to vet Mr. Trump’s claims of voter fraud, and said they had not found evidence to support those allegations.”
This is a breaking news and developing story.
Leaked Kremlin Documents Reveal Putin Holds Blackmail Leverage Over Trump – and That’s Why Russia Backed Him
A leaked document appears to confirm rumors that the Kremlin holds blackmail leverage over former president Donald Trump.
Russian president Vladimir Putin personally authorized a secret spy agency back “mentally unstable” Trump for U.S. president during a Jan. 22, 2016, closed session of that country’s national security council, according to what appears to be leaked Kremlin documents obtained by The Guardian.
“It is acutely necessary to use all possible force to facilitate his [Trump’s] election to the post of U.S. president,” the paper says.
The documents include a brief psychological assessment of Trump as “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex,” and also refer to “certain events” that happened during his previous trips to Moscow.
More details about those events are listed in an appendix to that document, but that portion of the papers remains undisclosed.
Those present agreed that Trump in the White House would help Russia create “social turmoil” in the U.S. and weaken the American presidency, two of Moscow’s top strategic objectives.
A decree appearing to bear Putin’s signature authorized Russia’s three spy agencies to work toward getting Trump elected, as the former reality TV star and celebrity businessman was emerging as the Republican Party’s presidential frontrunner.
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