Now that Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have been accused of a host of crimes in a 31-page indictment that lists everything from money laundering, tax evasion and failure to report themselves as foreign agents, the next logical question on plenty of minds is if President Donald Trump will seek to pardon Manafort, Gates, and anyone else who could potentially be indicted next.
In speaking with CNN, Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, claimed that he has had no conversations with President Trump about any pardons that Trump might attempt to push through as Robert Mueller’s investigation wraps up. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders echoed the same sentiments during the press briefing on Monday, October 30, wherein Sanders claimed that she also hasn’t had any conversations with President Trump about pardons. Sarah said that President Trump had no reactions to Monday’s indictments because she alleged that the indictments had nothing to do with Trump’s campaign.
According to Fox News, Trump could try to shut down Mueller’s probe into the Russia investigations by seeking a newer special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton’s campaign. However, if Trump seeks to fire Mueller even as indictments are being handed down, Trump could face accusations of obstructing justice. On Twitter, there’s plenty of talk of what could result if Trump pardons Manafort and Gates, and fires Mueller.
According to Newsweek, Trump might have limited power if he tries to pardon Manafort and Gates in the wake of the indictments being passed down. The publication notes that President Trump’s power is not an “absolute” pardoning power, at least if Trump attempts to pardon people in an effort to obstruct justice. Trump won’t be allowed to stop Mueller or another in his position from discovering any activities of President Trump that could be deemed illegal if those pardoning attempts fall under the obstruction of justice label.
President Trump hit back against the news on Monday by claiming that Clinton should be investigated, and alleging that there was no collusion. Trump has not yet recently tweeted about pardoning anyone.
Meanwhile, many of Trump’s tweets about pardons, including his beliefs that Trump has “complete power to pardon,” can be read below.
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]