On Friday, President Trump didn’t rule out pardoning former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, commenting:
“I don’t want to talk about pardons with Michael Flynn yet. We’ll see what happens, let’s see.”
It has long been suspected that if Trump feels Special Counsel Robert Mueller is getting too close to him, he might adopt a strategy of trying to pardon his way out of being impeached. But a former Watergate prosecutor says Trump won’t get off that easily.
Appearing on AM Joy Saturday morning, Nick Akerman had this to say about what likely happens if Trump pardons Flynn:
“The practical consequences are that he wouldn’t be charged with a crime, but he’s already spilled his guts. He’s already told Mueller everything he knows. In addition to that, his cooperation agreement requires him to also speak to local and state officials. So I guarantee you that Mueller has already had Flynn speaking to the attorney general of the state of New York’s people, who are doing this jointly with him. So that if somehow Mueller’s team was disbanded, and that group had to go, state attorney generals could simply step in here and use state crimes as opposed to federal crimes.”
Host Joy Reid then asked if there was any possible way for Trump or Congressional Republicans to stop the Mueller investigation. Akerman replied:
“The central crime here relates to the fact that a crime was committed when they [the Russians] hacked the Democratic National Committee for those emails. The only question that remains is, who else was involved, was the Trump campaign part of the conspiracy to get those emails out to throw the election to Donald Trump.
“There are good laws in New York state that cover the exact same crimes. So if the president somehow thinks he’s going to derail this investigation by getting rid of Mueller, he’s in for a big surprise.”
Trump only has pardon powers in federal cases. He has no ability to pardon anyone for charges brought in a state, so if he thinks he can pardon his way out of jeopardy, he may only find himself in even greater danger.
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