Well, this wouldn’t cause a toxic meltdown, or anything like that.
There’s talk that the topic of presidential pardons has popped up in the Trump-o-sphere, in particular, when it comes to former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.
John Dowd raised the idea of pardons for Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort with their lawyers last year, three people with knowledge of the discussions tell NYT. https://t.co/83Olz1BhB0
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 28, 2018
Several things come to mind, here.
First of all, what’s the source of this story, and why is it coming out now?
A more cynical mind might connect it to John Dowd, Trump’s former lead attorney who resigned a week ago.
There has been no clear explanation for why Dowd stepped down in the middle of a crucial investigation into his client, but some have suggested it was because Trump chose to bring in a couple of Fox News bomb throwers – Joe diGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing — both of whom declined citing conflicts of interest. The move was said to signal that Trump was prepared to aggressively go at special counsel Robert Mueller, something Dowd has warned against.
So could Dowd be the leak?
There’s no way to know, but the White House sent out press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to push back against the story.
“There’s no discussion or consideration of that at this time,” Sanders told reporters. “The president has the authority to pardon individuals, but you’re asking me about a specific case in which it hasn’t been discussed.”
Besides Sanders, the remaining two lawyers with Trump’s legal team, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow spoke about the prospect of presidential pardons.
“I have only been asked about pardons by the press and have routinely responded on the record that no pardons are under discussion or under consideration at the White House,” Cobb said.
Jay Sekulow, another personal attorney for Trump who had been on the same team as Dowd, similarly disputed the report.
“Never during the course of my representation of the president have I had any discussions of pardons of any individual involved in this inquiry,” Sekulow told the Times.
If I had to put money on it, I’d say it did come up and that it took every legal mind around Trump to tell him what an intensely bad idea it was.
As Mueller’s investigation seems to be sweeping ever-closer to Trump’s business and his family, no story is too crazy or reckless to believe.