screengrab from https://youtu.be/a4oRX0F9ek0
Now that Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort has been sentenced to just over 7 years in prison for his crimes related to fraud and conspiracy, talk has naturally turned to whether or not Trump will pardon the man he has admitted feeling sorry for.
Well, talk has mostly turned that way for Democrats who have already decided that’s precisely what Trump plans to do. And they mean to warn him about the consequences should he be so bold.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) on Wednesday warned President Trump against pardoning Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, after Manafort was sentenced to over three years in prison on foreign lobbying and other charges.
Mr. Manafort is going to prison because he committed serious crimes at home while advancing the interests of Russia and other foreign countries abroad. Any attempt to pardon him would be a gross abuse of power requiring immediate action by Congress.
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) March 13, 2019
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a vocal Trump detractor, also called on the president Wednesday to avoid pardoning Manafort.
“I think that pardoning Paul Manafort would, in effect, send a message you can break the law, defy the justice system, and then be rewarded by the president of the United States,” he said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”
And Senate Dems had a great deal of help firing their warning shots from their buddies in the press.
“Congress would erupt if the president tries to use his pardon power to let Manafort off,” Tim Kaine told me. “And it will be viewed as evidence of a very guilty conscience. That's the way it will be viewed. The president should be very wary of that.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 13, 2019
Shortly after a Federal judge's sentence lefty Paul Manafort facing 7.5 years in prison, state mortgage fraud charges against him were unsealed in an effort to ensure he still goes to prison if Trump pardons him for his federal crimes.
— William K. Rashbaum (@WRashbaum) March 13, 2019
Whatever the sentence for Manafort, we have to prepare for action when Trump pardons him. We are effectively dealing with a crime syndicate in charge of our government.
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) March 13, 2019
The odd thing is…Trump says he really hasn’t given the matter much thought.
Reporter: Will you pardon Paul Manafort?
Trump: I have not even given it a thought as of this moment. It's not something that's right now on my mind. I do feel badly for Manafort — that I can tell you https://t.co/uFfnRdJV52 pic.twitter.com/uZELbsvclh
— POLITICO (@politico) March 13, 2019
Speculation about a presidential pardon grew after Manafort was convicted of a litany of crimes in federal court in Virginia and D.C. Trump told reporters Friday that he felt “very badly” for his embattled former aide, saying he’s gone through a “very tough time.”
But Trump also said at the time that he has not discussed a pardon. Speaking to reporters during a rare press briefing Monday, Sanders reiterated that nothing has been ruled out.
It’s gotten to be a fairly typical move for Democrats to try to anticipate and even manipulate the psychology of the president, and, believing they’ve figured out his next move, warn him about making that move with a plan (I guess) of actually baiting him into it, and then attempting to rake him over the coals when he (they hope) takes them up on it.
And it’s strange it’s gotten to be typical because it’s hardly ever worked.
If (and that’s a big if) Trump decides to pardon Manafort, he’ll almost certainly wait and let the man serve out some of his sentence first. Democrats likely know that, making the charges in New York to stop the pardon simply a political show. And that kind of cavalier attitude about a man’s life — even in spite of his deceit and white collar crimes — makes it easy to understand how anyone might feel empathy for someone in Manafort’s position.
Was that what you were going for, Dems?