By January, Trump Believed Manafort Could Flip on Him; Since Then, Trump Learned Mueller Wanted to Know about Manafort’s Requests to Russia for Help

I don’t pretend to know Paul Manafort’s psyche or the many competing pressures he is experiencing right now. So I will not pretend to know whether Manafort will seek a plea deal with Mueller, either now or after sitting in the pokey for some time, or after Judge Ellis rules on the last remaining challenges to Mueller’s authority, which is likely the only way short of pardon Manafort will avoid conviction and imprisonment on his corruption charges.

But I agree that the chances he will seek a plea deal increase now that he is in jail.

In the wake of his jailing yesterday, I’ve seen some discussion about whether he (and Michael Cohen, who is openly telegraphing he’d like to start plea negotiations) can flip. That is, smart people are raising real questions whether Paul Manafort has anything to offer Mueller in a plea deal.

I don’t pretend to know what Mueller’s view on that is, either, or whether it changed in the wake of Rick Gates pleading guilty back in February (though I did entertain the question last month).

But I do think this story, from January, deserves reconsideration. In it Howard Fineman laid out the strategy with respect to the Russian investigation Trump has been pursuing ever since, culminating in his claims over the last few days about the DOJ IG Report. He planned then and has set out since to discredit the FBI and the Mueller investigation rather than to fire anyone else.

Trump — who trusts no one, or at least no one for long — has now decided that he must have an alternative strategy that does not involve having Justice Department officials fire Mueller.

“I think he’s been convinced that firing Mueller would not only create a firestorm, it would play right into Mueller’s hands,” said another friend, “because it would give Mueller the moral high ground.”

Instead, as is now becoming plain, the Trump strategy is to discredit the investigation and the FBI without officially removing the leadership. Trump is even talking to friends about the possibility of asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to consider prosecuting Mueller and his team.

We now know Fineman’s story came in the immediate wake of a letter to Mueller making fairly absurd arguments about why Trump couldn’t be interviewed and, more importantly, providing illogical explanations for some of the actions he had taken. The letter is important because whereas an earlier June 2017 letter imagined any investigation into Trump constituted “a preliminary inquiry into whether the President’s termination of former FBI Director James Comey constituted obstruction of justice,” by January Trump’s lawyers recognized Mueller needed to ask Trump about both “collusion” and obstruction of justice.

As I noted at the time Fineman’s piece came out, though, the far more interesting detail than Trump’s strategy to beat back a “collusion” investigation is that multiple Fineman sources (Chris Ruddy, who I think serves as Trump’s more rational brain, was a source for this story) report that Trump had considered whether Manafort would flip on him and had concluded that he would not.

He’s decided that a key witness in the Russia probe, Paul Manafort, isn’t going to “flip” and sell him out, friends and aides say.

We have since learned that Trump had John Dowd offer pardons to both Mike Flynn and Manafort and there’s reason to believe that Manafort remains in a joint defense agreement with Trump. So Trump’s belief that Manafort wouldn’t flip on him likely derived from tangible discussions and not just gut feel.

At the time he was telling people Manafort wouldn’t flip, Trump would have known that Mueller was interested in his involvement in “the statement of July 8, 2017, concerning Donald Trump, Jr.’s meeting in Trump Tower;” Trump’s lawyers believed that Mueller had seen evidence that would lead him to conclude that, he “dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times article on behalf of his son.” Trump also worked hard (and has been assisted consistently by the press in doing so) to spin the question of his involvement in the June 9 meeting as being about “a private matter with the New York Times,” and not a question about his conversations with Vladimir Putin about the statement.

But nothing else that Mueller had communicated to Trump’s lawyers (if we can believe Jay Sekulow and John Dowd’s understanding of their January 8 conversation with Mueller’s team) indicated an interest in matters even remotely related to Paul Manafort.

Which is to say in January, Trump had reason to believe that Manafort might have information that incriminated him independent of anything Mueller’s team had told him.

Of course, since then, Trump has far more reason to fear Manafort seeking a cooperation agreement. That’s because Mueller has since told Trump’s team things that confirm they know things that implicate Trump’s interactions with Manafort directly — and therefore place a premium on any testimony he’d give. Piggy-backing off the questions (Jay Sekulow thinks) Mueller wants to ask Trump, here are a bunch of questions that Mueller likely would like Manafort to explain about Trump.

  • Whether, like Mike Flynn, Trump offered Manafort a pardon in exchange for his refusal to cooperate.
  • Whether Trump discussed the Trump Tower meeting, and the offer of dirt, with Manafort during their meeting on June 7, 2016, and whether that led Trump to promise, “a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.”
  • Whether Trump had a role in how Don Jr’s emails about the June 9 meeting got released, including that he withheld Manafort’s side of that communication.
  • Whether Manafort discussed with Trump his strategy on how to entertain meetings with Putin without sending any public signs about it.
  • Whether, contrary to the account laid out in the HPSCI report, Manafort had a role in the defeat of an effort to make the RNC platform harsher on Ukraine, and if so, whether Manafort looped him in on it.
  • Whether Manafort, who had discussed campaign updates with the Russian oligarch at risk of sanctions to whom he owed millions, Oleg Deripaska, discussed ending sanctions on other Russian oligarchs.

Those are all damning enough. But the most damning question that we know Mueller wants to ask both Manafort and Trump is about the former’s outreach to Russia asking for help with the election. According to Sekulow, Mueller wants to know, “What knowledge did [Trump] have of any outreach by [his] campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?”

Manafort knows the answer to that question.

Trump learned three months ago that Mueller had reason to believe Manafort had reached out to Russia for help and wanted to know if Manafort had shared details about that effort with Trump (or if Trump learned about it via some other means).

But at least two months before he formally learned that, Trump was telling his aides and friends that Manafort had information that could incriminate him.

49 replies
  1. Beth in VA says:

    Do you think Trump will pardon Manafort? Is it legal to pardon someone who is a witness against you in criminal matter?

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      The pardon power is plenary. The remedy for its abuse is impeachment. The only legal question is whether self-pardons are constitutional.

      The better question is whether there was an optimal time to give Manafort (and Gates and Flynn) pardons that would have derailed the investigation, and the answer there is “possibly” (not certainly, given state charges and the loss of the ability to take the 5th) but that moment has probably passed.

      And that gets us back to the topic of the post: the decision was taken not to take the pardon route or fire Mueller, but to use the bully pulpit to attack the credibility of the investigation, knowing that Mueller isn’t going to respond other than via the docket. And it might succeed.

      • cwolf says:

        Is there a case on point that has decided whether a conviction is or is not required before a pardon can issue?
        Who might have standing to challenge such an act?

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          Nixon was pardoned without any conviction, nor even an indictment. There’s litigation as to whether the Arpaio pardon means the conviction never happened, but that’s on the margin.

    • Bobby Gladd says:

      IANAL, but it seems to me that this remains unsettled. Unhappily. Goes more to “legal norms” than actual bright line case law. Trump is clearly now trying to accomplish national “political jury nullification.” Pardons for some of these principals seem to be to be hole cards for now.


    • emptywheel says:

      Cap Weinburger was pardoned to prevent him from implicating Poppy Bush and Scooter Libby had his sentence commuted to prevent him from implicating either Cheney in a crime or Bush in a politically egregious act. So yes, Presidents have already done that.

      As pseudo notes, the key is when to do it. But given that both Manafort and Cohen are at risk for state crimes, the pardon may not keep them out of prison.

      Mueller had a front row seat in how the Libby commutation prevented Fitzgerald from resolving the Plame investigation, so he surely has that in mind.

  2. Peacerme says:

    Talk me off the ledge! I am a therapist. I pick up on patterns more than specific details. I do generalize but I am aware of this. (At times). I know narcissism. Many of my clients are in recovery from addiction but retain the personality disorder. They are different than most narcissists because they will go to therapy or AA. Addiction has a way of breaking down the ego if you survive it! At ant rate, my brain sees a pattern. He uses “splitting” to get power. As do most dictators, authoritarians. I have heard three different interviews where he has high lighted that Xi Jinping, is “leader for life”. Why does he keep saying it? It’s not a coincidence. Why does he keep laying out the values of dictatorship?? He’s seeding the ground.

    He’s insulting our allies. Schmoozing dictators. He clearly stated that he feels he can call up Kim Yung Un anytime he needs to. (Last press conference). And stated that he admires that Yung Un’s people obey him. He laid out his admiration for the fear he has created in his people.

    It dawned on me that as the walls cave in he will split the world in half. He will use his alliances with the dictators of the world to fortify himself. He did it to win the election but he will also do it now. In many ways, I fear the midterms will be the American people against the strongest most powerful dictators of the world. This would not be hard to do. China, Russia and Saudi would retain the things they need from USA with Trump as their pawn.

    I really fear that we aren’t seeing the full danger here. He’s doing Putin’s bidding. And Putin is working with him. It’s not going to stop at our borders. The immigration issue, the separating parents and children are tests by Putin. All perps test the boundaries before pulling the trigger.

    Technically trump has the most evil dictators working with him to destroy the ‘power of the people”. I could be wrong but I’ve been crowing about this since day one. I keep telling people he’s more dangerous than they realize. I am horrified by the idea that maybe it’s too late.

    Tell me I am crazy but isn’t he “splitting” on a global level. He needs to make Trudeau look weak. He’s discrediting every leader we would listen to. He’s going to save himself and his family at any cost. He’s not going to step down or stop. He’s in a mad rush to gather power to save himself. He’s going to go for power outside of our legal system. He won’t care what Mueller has to say or what Mueller does. He’s not afraid of them flipping, anymore. I can see it in these press conferences. He’s too relaxed. He’s not afraid. He’s already got a plan. Everything he says, the lies are like opium to keep us calm.

    We need to do something yesterday! I told everyone he would win. That he would do things no one else in their right mind would fathom. He won’t work with in the laws of our country!

    • TheraP says:

      “Splitting” is a very primitive defense (coping mechanism) and Trump uses it in Spades. I agree with you about how dangerous the man is. I view him as a sociopath/psychopath (a character structure which has narcissism as its core). But I also think he is a paranoid megalomaniac, so with a psychotic overlay going on. Plus he has a charismatic ability to reach and incite gullible crowds. It’s a very, very dangerous brew.

      Splitting is just one part of it. As far as how this plays out on a world level, that I’m not sure of.

      • Rusharuse says:

        Charisma is not permanent like a tattoo, more like make-up that needs to be constantly re-applied. Legal investigators, in particular Mueller can interrupt Trumps re-applications by exposing his bullshit, his crimes and personal greed. So far Mueller has left Trump out of his indictments, but once Trump is charged (publicly) with serious crimes that thin layer of charisma will be washed away.

      • posaune says:

        Peacerme and TheraP,

        Not sure this is a reasonable question, but how seriously do you suspect Trump “splits?”  Is he possibly DID?  What do you see in the patterns, related to splitting: rapid changes in patterns? sudden shifts or gradual shifts?  Personality shifts provoked by events or persons?  reactive or proactive raging?

        My foster/adoptive son was DID (PTSD related) in the early years, and it was terrifying (for him and for us), dissociated for days at a time, sometimes more than a week.   Completely different person while raging.  I don’t know how we made it through except we had the most wonderful trauma therapist  (trained with Joyanna Silberg) who saw the entire family 3x/week for six+ years.    His healing has progressed beautifully, very securely attached now.

        As for Trump, I truly believe that he sustained developmental trauma as a child — he seems so “stuck” at about 4 years of age wrt his emotions, expectations, capacity for theory of mind, lack of equitable relationships, brittle psyche, revenge-obsessed etc.   Makes me think childhood trauma.  Mind boggling so.   It makes me weep to think that he was elected,  (fraudulently or not) and how very, very, very thin is any safety net that could prevent his utter and complete destruction of our institutions.  So illogical, unrealistic and raging, he would destroy an entire healthcare system, economy or industries to save merely one of his hotels.   And there’s no Canaris in sight, at least that I can tell.

        • TheraP says:

          Splitting is a defense. It does not imply a dissociative disorder such as DID. (It’s most easily seen in Borderline Personality.) When someone uses that defense they can move from viewing you (or anyone or anything) as “all good” to “all bad.” It’s seeing the world in black and white but what’s black or white can shift – rapidly. The shift is in their perception. (A dissociative disorder, however, is a shift within the person from what “appears” to be one “personality” to “another.” So, a shift in how the person “feels” as well as how others perceive them.)

          Trump is a severely character-disordered individual. He is incapable of changing. He lacks insight or even curiosity to try and look at himself or second guess himself. He could NEVER be a candidate for psychotherapy.

          I’ve worked with people with dissociative disorders. It’s not easy. Can be very rewarding, depending on the person’s willingness to face feelings and learn to tolerate and manage them, instead of run from them. But these folks can connect. Trump cannot. Not really. Only in a transactional way. For his benefit alone. (Dissociative disordered individuals change to suit the environment or the people around them. Something happens in the external environment that triggers a “switch” – an effort to cope, often based upon past trauma. Not really “you” in the present tense.)

          We’ll never understand Trump. He’s never going to change. He expects everybody else to change instead. To adore him. That so many sycophants are willing to do that is part of the problem – since it keeps the Big Con going for him. If everybody would just stop catering to him and instead confront him, we’d stand half a chance. It’s that way with a delusional person. If everybody treats them like Jesus Christ (or whoever they think they are or whatever the delusion is) it just remains.

          Trump seduces or badgers people into going along with him. I’m sick of him! I’m sick of discussing him. I’m tired of his antics, his sycophants, including those in the media who act like tape recorders – blithely regurgitating his every word as if it were gospel, instead of lies and drivel.

          • posaune says:

            TheraP,   thanks for your explanation.  Very helpful.  Scary, too.   Sorry to make you think about the trumpster for any extra bit, but I appreciate your comments here.

        • Bitchy Bee says:

          Is this, then, why he got elected? Because the 30% of Americans with multiple ACEs saw a fellow childhood trauma victim like them??? Is this just the long national trauma playing out?

      • Peacerme says:

        Agreed. But splitting on a global level is how world wars begin. I don’t think people understand how rigid these structures are inside of him. Psychosis. Yes. Hostile attribution bias. Self will run riot. He has told us who he is. We need to believe him. He has laid it out before us. You all have the facts.

        ‘He interfered with elections.

        He sides with Putin, Kim yung Un, and Xi pingjin.

        ‘That’s who he is colluding with. Not our democratic allies. It’s right there as a fact.

        ‘He’s not for democracy. He’s not. And he needs power to save his own life. Unless he is forcibly stopped, he will. Not. Stop.

        ‘He will build and hang on to Power as long as he is allowed. When do we the people make our move? Are we ready?

        • JD12 says:

          The only reason I’m not on the ledge with you is my faith in the humanity of our fellow Americans. What you talked about is a possibility, but I think it’s one of the least likely. Even if Putin wanted Trump to grab power it would be like a coup, and for a coup to succeed proper socioeconomic conditions have to be met.

          My hypothesis, which is nothing more than a partially informed guess, is that he defers to Putin because he has probably heard the rumors that Putin might be the richest person in the world, or at least significantly richer than Trump, and that’s just how he values people. The source of a person’s wealth is irrelevant to Trump’s value system. He’s still very dangerous though.

          I’m hoping that either the Mueller report drops or Trump tries to fire him. That way Republicans can convince him to resign and endorse Pence. Impeachment would cause a civil war within the party and the GOP isn’t stupid like their voters.

  3. greengiant says:

    ” independent of anything Mueller’s team had told him” That is quite a stake through the coffin.

  4. bmaz says:

    Few thoughts:

    1) It would be pretty stunning if Ellis grants any of the meat of Manafort’s motions after the complete destruction and rejection of them by ABJ. Maybe some more carping in some sideshow dicta, but hard to see him granting any of it.

    2) Chances of a plea are clearly better when you are cooling your heels in jail. Especially if an offer is on the table for little time and not seeking too much forfeiture of assets. I keep harping on this, but Kathleen is still out there. Even if not charged, which she easily could be, what she is left with has to be a concern.

    3) The thought that Trump considers “prosecuting Mueller and his team” was flat out insane in January, and remains so today. you have to be kidding me. Prosecuting on what?? It is just nuts, but nuts is where we are these days with Trump and his addled chihuahua Giuliani. Even Sessions isn’t going to go there.

    4) If Manafort is still in a JDA with Trump, that, too, is insane.

    5) All those questions are good areas for Mueller to plumb with Manafort, but, yeah, that last one is everything because it would give testimonial evidence of intent by Trump that Mueller is unlikely to get from Trump himself. Kushner is another one to watch in this regard. I don’t think Mueller is done going to Jared.


    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, it would be insane for Manafort to still be in a JDA. Do you think it’s impossible or just insane?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It’s great for Trump.  He has a reason, through their lawyers, to communicate with Manafort about pardons and what not, and have those communications be protected by privilege.  That would work as long as there are no leaks and no assertion that the dangling or promise of a pardon amounted to obstruction, which would negate privilege under the crime fraud exception.

      Trump would also get all the dope Manafort learns.  And Manafort would have to give him notice of his intent to cooperate with Mueller by terminating the arrangement.

      Assuming one was entered into in the first place, why would either terminate it unless and until Manafort attempts to cooperate with Mueller?  Trump wants the comms link and data.  Manafort wants to hold open the possibility of a pardon (even if he has to worry about state prosecutions).  Cooperation with Mueller – or its appearance – would probably cause Trump to refuse a pardon.

      But, yea, a joint cooperation agreement looks really weird.  It makes Trump, um, look guilty as hell.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Especially when we consider how dismissive Kaiser Quisling was about Manafort (49 days) when he was getting shipped off to jail.  This JDA is for the palace, not for Manafort.

        If Manafort will flip it will need to be within a week or Cohen will beat him to it. Only one gets a deal I would think…

        • Ed Walker says:

          After taking a look at that last question in this post, I’m not so sure. Manafort knows something Cohen probably doesn’t about Trumpy’s involvement in the Russia outreach.

          • Rugger9 says:

            That assumes Gates hasn’t spilled those beans, and Gates was with the campaign after Manafort left.  You may be right, though.

        • bowtiejack says:

          Good point.

          John Gotti died in prison; Sammy Gravano walked on 19 murders into the Witness Protection Program .

          Mueller’s operation is not a criminal investigation (although he has authority to follow up any criminal threads he finds). Mueller in involved in a COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE operation. The Russians have been trying to interfere with American elections since at least Adlai Stevenson (google it, you’ll find it).  President Assclown is simply their greatest success; they were undoubtedly trying many, many other things which is why there’s a such a bewildering array of overseas meetings, Internet data, “who” said “what” to “whom” “where” and “when” and “why” and all the rest of it.

          Mueller a threat? Maybe the real worry for Cohen, Manafort and a lot of other people is what Putin doesn’t want known.. Screw the pardons – Witness Protection may be very attractive for other reasons. Especially for Manafort and his family.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Is it less insane if Trump is also picking up all or part of Manafort’s legal bills?  Choosing to pay them, or not, would be one more pressure point on Paulie.

  5. big fan says:

    As logical as your argument that Trump actively and directly consulted with Putin about the Trump Tower statement is, I wonder whether the Trump White House could really keep some indication of that from leaking. Granted, that’s a kind of Totschlagargument. Similarly, if I were Putin I would probably want to let a whiff of suspicion of something like that get out to keep the pressure on Trump at maximum. Putin would have all the cards in his hand and little to lose. And as incriminating as Kushner’s attempt at a “back door channel” seems, I am starting to think maybe Strzok was right. Multiple attempts at contact, tacit cooperation but maybe falling short of a coordinated conspiracy.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think you’re right that Putin has reason to keep the pressure on.

      My educated instinct is that the evidence is there, if Mueller has the opportunity to lay it out in the order he/they see fit. The big question for me is whether he’ll have the opportunity to.

      But part of what requires so much time to lay that out (and actually, this hasn’t been going on all that long at all) is the complexity of it all.

      • big fan says:

        Thanks, and of course the burden of proof is also very high if it means bringing down a President in a hyperpolarized environment. Barring high level confessions.

  6. arbusto says:

    New York AG has asked for a change in law on double jeopardy after a Federal pardon (do other States have similar laws) so NY can try Cohen, Manafort et al. I’m confused about the hierarchy of Federal vs. State prosecution of crime(s). Why can’t a Federal Prosecutor hand off their investigative materials (or run a parallel investigation) so a State can try first?

    • emptywheel says:

      Double jeopardy only comes about in NY if the federal case seats a jury. With Cohen it definitely won’t get that far. Manafort probably has charges he could face in both NY and VA. But with at least one of the NY charges, they’re not charging it in his DC case, as laid out at the end of this post.

    • Ed Walker says:

      As to priorities for prosecution, there are none. In general, states defer to the Feds on the order of prosecution largely for efficiency. But there are plenty of cases where both file simultaneously, or where the feds jump in on a state case.

    • Avattoir says:

      Among the precepts of The Rule of Law is no prosecutions of those who did things that now may be prosecuted as crimes but that at the time they were done could not be so prosecuted

      For the general concept, see:

      Now note that the Constitution specifically addresses this for criminal laws in:

      a. federal: Art 1 Sec 9 Clause 3, and

      b. states: Art 1, Sec 10,

      which, certainly when considered together, take the general proscription above further than in most if not all countries that ascribe to The Rule of Law.

      There is a concept, more in evidence in European countries, called “mollification”, by which at least in theory it might be argued that this change in authority sought by the New York state A.G. is procedural and not substantive, such the constitutional prohibition in Article 1 Section 10 doesn’t apply. But in any country in which the ultimate decision on such an argument is governed by the consensus of Roberts CJ, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch, I doubt its prospects for success.

  7. Bay State Librul says:

    I’m looking at a Friday/ Saturday Massacre.
    Everything Trump has thrown up has failed.
    With the publication of the IG Report, nothing is left in his quiver.
    All I can quote is from Sir H. Rider Haggard.
    “The naked truth is always beautiful, even when it tells of evil”
    God save the Commonwealth!

  8. Peacerme says:

    I guess I presented worst case. The answer lies in the synthesis. What is true, valid. Somewhere in there, between capitalism and democracy lies the truth. Let’s prioritize and put the pursuit of truth as a top priority. My bent, socialism is not the worst case scenario for everyone. Capitalism works really well for some. Dictatorship has its high points.

    Find and seek truth.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Jake Tapper, with his typical lack of self-awareness, gives Rudy 9-11 a long interview on Father’s Day.  Irony is lost on Jake.

    Giuliani is a walking sandwich board for Donald Trump.  If he wants air time, let his billionaire boss buy it for him.  Stop buying for the whole newsroom from the deli that serves rotten meat, Jake.  Oh, and Happy Father’s Day.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    About that irony.  Rudy is characterizing FBI agents allegedly getting baseball tickets as a “bribe”, which is not what the IG report said. 

    The irony comes from Rudy’s well-known fondness for NYC baseball, and from how rarely he pays for his own tickets.  And then there are those four very expensive Yankee World Series rings he was given when mayor.  He paid about 10% of their market price, years later, after questions were raised.

  11. Peacerme says:

    The law is not going to stop Donald Trump. We have got to come up with solutions that are outside of the law. The psychological damage being done to those innocent migrant kids it’s a huge slide into our own domination. We the people have lost control. We can’t even stop him from abusing children. We can’t stop him???? Trump should be charged for violating war crimes. These babies will be traumatized for life. Literature is clear on this!!

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Jake seems addicted to rotten meat.  After Rudy comes Rick Santorum.  Not as a whipping boy, but as a purportedly credible voice.  I can’t tell whether Tapper or Chuck Todd is the emptier suit.

    But before Santorum, we have another Rudyism.  In response to whether the president’s lying to the public and to the media is wrong, if not illegal, Rudy says, “Lying is against one of the Commandments, I think.”  This is a guy who spent years as a professional Catholic, a leading NYC politician who probably spent more time in St. Patrick’s Cathedral than the Archbishop.

    The one Rudy must be thinking of is, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” a rule he and his client violate continually.

    A few Commandments Rudy did not mention, apart from the obvious not taking God’s name in vain and remembering the Sabbath day, include, Thou shalt not kill, commit adultery, steal or covet thy neighbor’s wife.  I think it best for Rudy and the Don if Rudy avoid mentioning the Ten Commandments altogether.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Santorum: Every president has a cult-like following.

    Normalization, thy name is Rick.

  14. Terrence Fuller says:

    Is it true that if a person is pardoned, they can still be called as a witness to the events they were pardoned from, but without their 5th amendment rights? If Trump pardoned Manafort for involvement in Russian election tampering, could Manafort be called to testify against Trump and not rely on the 5th to avoid answering.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, that is true. Possible they could still try to take the 5th because of the possibility of state charges though.

  15. Palli says:

    To Peacerme, TheraP and posaune: There is a professional movement afoot to flood the public record with professional letters against trump policies centered around the latest issues of child abuse. I suspect educators will join the effort. by Sanjeev K. Sriram, MD, MPH
    It seems to me an expanded public record is an essential tool for the history of this depraved moment.

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