Are Democrats Giving Trump An Excuse To Pardon Manafort?

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the effort in New York to change constitutional protections against double jeopardy to allow prosecutors to charge former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort with state offenses. The effort is to guarantee that Manafort goes to jail if President Donald Trump gives him a pardon. The sight of politicians campaigning on the pledge to jail Manafort raises serious concerns of this highly selective effort. Moreover, the effort to change New York constitutional protection to get Manafort could give Trump precisely the basis for a pardon that Democrats are preemptively trying to deter. I have repeatedly said that a pardon for Manafort would be inexcusable. He has more than earned any sentence that a court chooses to give him and the New York effort should not change that. However, if the Democrats tailor their constitutional protections to get Manafort, they are giving Trump the ability to say that he is responding to selective targeting of Manafort to guarantee that he is not punished twice for the same underlying conduct. More importantly, New York should not sacrifice its commendable protection against double jeopardy to get Manafort. He is not worth it.

Here is the column:

As Paul Manafort awaits sentencing next month, his viable options seem to be dwindling down to a presidential pardon. While the sentencing memorandum of special counsel Robert Mueller has not been made public, there is little question that Manafort is looking at a likely terminal period of incarceration after his cooperating agreement was tossed out for allegedly withholding information. His lawyers insist that Manafort, who will soon turn 70, is in failing health and cannot do a long stretch. Judge Amy Berman Jackson is unlikely to be particularly sympathetic, much like the judge who handed down a lengthy sentence to an older defendant who objected, “Judge, I am too old to serve all of that time.” The judge responded dryly, “I understand, just do the best you can.”

The best that Manafort can do seems to be getting worse by the day. New York politicians and prosecutors have been pursuing state charges to blunt any possible presidential pardon of the onetime Trump campaign chairman. Various accounts describe state prosecutors, who previously stepped aside so that Mueller could investigate unimpeded, as laying the groundwork for new crimes that would avoid constitutional barriers but still send Manafort behind bars for the rest of his life. The effort to pursue Manafort is wildly popular in New York and widely celebrated in the media as clever “insurance policy” fashioned by Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The public discussion of looking for state charges against Manafort as insurance against a pardon by President Trump is becoming increasingly troubling and untoward. State prosecutors have campaigned for office on the promise to find ways to guarantee incarceration for one person. To do so, they are willing to remove state constitutional protections for all New Yorkers. This is much like removing all of the life preservers from an ocean liner to guarantee that one single passenger does not survive a sinking.

As a vocal critic of Manafort, I am not very easily inspired to care about his welfare. Manafort is one of the most corrupt figures in Washington, and he richly deserves a long prison sentence. Yet, there is something too tailored, too personal about the efforts by prosecutors to guarantee that he spends much of the rest of his life behind bars. For more than a year, New York politicians have been pledging to voters to move aside constitutional protections to allow Manafort to be charged with state crimes that are based on the same underlying transactions or activities.

The problem could be the bar on double jeopardy, the guarantee that people are not punished twice for the same conduct. Such guarantees originated in ancient Rome and were made part of our Constitution under the Fifth Amendment unless, it now seems, you are Paul Manafort. While civil libertarians have long warned of the erosion of this guarantee, New York has been the gold standard on this with a more protective provision barring redundant or related state prosecutions after federal convictions.

Then Donald Trump became president. Manafort was found guilty on eight counts related to financial fraud by a federal jury in Virginia then pleaded guilty to separate charges in Washington. During this time, speculation has been rampant that Trump may pardon Manafort, particularly after a series of sympathetic tweets. As a result, New York legislators called for clearing away rights that might be used by Manafort to protect himself.

James actually campaigned for office on that issue. That is right, a state attorney general was elected by campaigning to remove constitutional protections from all citizens. James was not alone here. Former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, before being forced out of office over sexual assault allegations, pushed the legislature to change the constitution and his successor, Barbara Underwood, then picked up the popular liberal cause to thwart the president by reducing double jeopardy protections.

Suddenly the double jeopardy clause was considered a “loophole” being used, to quote Underwood, to “thwart the cause of justice, rather than advance it.” Underwood told the New York legislature that it was urgent to change the state constitution in order to blunt the impact of a “politically expedient pardon.” While it is difficult to prove selective prosecution, Manafort seems to be in a criminal class of his own. Not only are these public pledges to go after Manafort building a possible defense for him, they also may be building a case for a presidential pardon from Trump. Manafort remains a tough candidate for pardon given his extensive criminal conduct and millions of ill-gotten gains. However, if Democrats are campaigning on changing the law to get at Manafort, Trump could cry foul and use the selective effort as a reason to pardon or commute on the federal offenses.

Manafort must feel like this is the start of deer hunting season, and he is the only deer allowed to be shot. The problem is not just the selectivity of these efforts but the fact that the other deer seem to have immunity by popular demand. Take Michael Cohen, former Trump attorney who has become a key witness against the president. There have been no similar calls to find state charges against Cohen to guarantee a long sentence.

While Manafort sits in jail awaiting a potentially long prison sentence, Cohen conversely secured another delay in serving a ridiculously short prison sentence for fraud and other crimes that netted him millions. Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York had opposed leniency for Cohen and said he was a liar who withheld evidence. Judge William Pauley III described his history as a “veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct” but sentenced Cohen to just three years in prison.

Afterward, more allegations surfaced involving Cohen selling access and ripping off both the Trump organization and its contractors. He allegedly paid a firm to rig two polls in favor of candidate Trump and to create a Twitter account called Women for Cohen, to promote himself as a “sex symbol.” Cohen reportedly was given $50,000 by the Trump organization for that work but then gave the business, Red Finch Solutions, only some $12,000 in cash inside a Walmart bag along with a boxing glove from a Brazilian mixed martial arts fighter. Cohen has since denied that account.

Nevertheless, Cohen has now found favor with many Democrats. Not only have people inexplicably given him hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to testify against Trump, but Democratic lawmakers also seem uninterested in what information he allegedly withheld from New York prosecutors or his other alleged criminal conduct. It is certainly true that Trump is more likely to pardon Hillary Clinton than Cohen at this point. However, that is the problem. The effort against Manafort is being driven by the prospect of clemency as opposed to the actual underlying crimes. Indeed, there is a debate about what crimes might be best brought to bypass constitutional challenges and cement the harshest sentences.

An alternative is to leave the constitutional protections alone. Manafort can be prosecuted for any evasion of state tax laws under New York law and existing precedent, but Vance and other prosecutors should show also equal vigor in pursuing any such crimes by Cohen. As for a possible pardon or commutation of Manafort, it still remains unclear whether the president would take such clearly unwarranted and inappropriate action.

What is clear, however, is that New York should not reduce protections for everyone in the state just to punish one man. Manafort is unlikely to finish even a modest sentence, given his declining physical condition. He is not worth undermining core due process and constitutional rights to add a few more years in prison as an insurance policy. There is more blind rage than blind justice behind the effort to amend the New York constitution.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

59 thoughts on “Are Democrats Giving Trump An Excuse To Pardon Manafort?”

  1. Since I’m not a billionaire, a millionaire, maybe just barely a worker bee thousandaire it’s hard for me to know what the framers thought Constitutional protections even meant given the Constitution’s implicit but obscured favor of wealth over labor (clear enough from the 3/5ths part without use of the word “slavery”). How on earth is civil forfeiture remotely Constitutional? How is it Constitutional to demand unaffordable (as, in most cases, any money at all) bail to poverty defendants held for non-violent crime? How could anyone with income less than $100,000 per year afford any action, criminal or civil, in federal court – its being oftentimes orders of magnitude more expensive than already unaffordable state courts? How about federal criminal legislation being misdirected like the woman being tried under Sarbanes-Oxley for allegedly erasing her, at the time, unindicted boyfriend’s laptop hard drive supposedly deleting evidence of his illegal pornography – an offense having nothing whatsoever to do with the Congress’ Sarbanes-Oxley intended protection of Wall Street from false public corporation status reporting but offering to the prosecutor the career-scoring possibility of her incarceration for 30 years (tough on crime!)? I could go on but what’s the point – massive power is always conveniently massed against the situationally perceived less powerful, Bill of Rights notwithstanding?

    Since Mr. Manafort is or has been a millionaire wealthy enough to employ an army of lawyers but apparently not possessed enough of care in his dealings with them to avoid being snagged into an admittedly political situation (particularly given that he was in league with a polity I despise), I find I have no tears of sympathy for him. And given the above paragraph’s point, I find no reason to get upset with however many decades of detention he gets or has earned, federal or state – because if it’s found politically profitable to any or all parts of the governmental triune, regardless of the legitimacy of the claimed legal cause or civil damage, the same bell tolls for me. And there’s no real call for reform for a corrupt system I certainly don’t have the money to defend myself from, guilt or innocence notwithstanding.

  2. The article would be more helpful if it explained how double jeopardy is treated in NYS and what is being considered to allow such a prosecution. A bit of blather without substance. Income tax invasion re: the IRS and income tax evasion re: NYS are two separate actions. I don’t see double jeopardy if the feds pursued one and the state pursued the other; separate crimes, separate charges.

    1. Betty, if something broke county laws as well would that be a separate charge? If city laws were broken would that be a separate charge as well?

      1. Yes. The crime and the penalties vary. Do the feds pursue someone for not paying state taxes? Is the penalty the same as not paying federal taxes? Same questions for county taxes, and city taxes if there are such.

        1. Betty, so if there is a theft of a bank in a town do you think he can be convicted in federal court plus state court plus count court and does the city also have an action for that crime?

          3-4 potential guilty sentences?

          States have different rules having to do with this type of problem so there isn’t consistency among the states. What I think Turley was suggesting is that according to the way NY law is generally managed NY should not change the way it handles cases. He suggests that if it had nothing to do with Trump this question would not arise.

          The tax question is completely different from a criminal case.

  3. Manafort’s a shady character, but since he was selectively prosecuted in order to induce him to offer perjured testimony injurious to the President, a radical commutation of his sentence is certainly in order.

  4. Manafort’s persecution is a “malicious prosecution” by Mueller. A pardon is a given. Additional prosecution at the state level would be precisely what the Founders legislated against: Double Jeopardy. Manafort will be in the audience at the trials of all the co-conspirators in the Obama Coup D’etat in America, the most egregious abuse of power and the most prodigious scandal in American political history. Those co-conspirators are: Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Comey, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell, Steele, Simpson, Joseph Mifsud, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Kerry, Hillary, Huma, Mills, Brennan, Clapper, Lerner, Farkas, Power, Lynch, Rice, Jarrett, Obama, Sessions et al.

    1. George, it is not possible for The State of New York to prosecute Manafort for Conspiracy Against The United States nor failure to register as a foreign agent, nor federal tax evasion, nor federal tax fraud, nor any other federal crime for which Manafort has already been prosecuted, or to which Manafort has already pled guilty. The State of New York can only prosecute Manafort for crimes against The State of New York.

      Trump can only pardon Manafort for crimes against The United States. Trump cannot pardon Manafort for crimes against The State of New York. A pardon from Trump will not get state charges against Manafort dismissed. And yet, if Manafort accepts a pardon from Trump for crimes against The United States, then Manafort admits his guilt all over again for those crimes against The United States for which he accepts a pardon from Trump. Such admissions of guilt from Manafort could, and probably would, be entered into evidence against Manafort on whatever state offenses The State of New York might someday charge against Manafort.

      That’s not double jeopardy, George.

      1. Even anti-American communists can read English, I presume.

        “…; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb;…”
        ____________________

        twice adverb
        \ ˈtwīs
        \
        Definition of twice

        1 : on two occasions twice absent
        2 : two times : in doubled quantity or degree
        ___________________________________

        5th Amendment

        No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

      2. State charges shall not be the same by another name and shall not have even the appearance of similarity to those of the United States, lest they constitute anti-American, unconstitutional “double jeopardy.”

        A skunk by any other name would smell as foul.
        _____________________________________

        ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
        Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
        What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
        Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
        Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
        What’s in a name?

        that which we call a rose
        By any other name would smell as sweet;

        So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
        Retain that dear perfection which he owes
        Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
        And for that name which is no part of thee
        Take all myself.

        – Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare, 1600

  5. Since the left has no understanding of and less than zero loyalty to Constitutional Law except as a tool to advance their own agenda … I see no problem in understanding their efforts in this or any other particular activity.

    Pelosi giving an Oath of Office ceremoney to the likes of A Ocassio-nally Castro and others is a classic example that goes back to 1909 if not further.

    They see it as damned if you do and damned if you don’t trap useful only in their continued march to replace Constitututional Law with the one party, one leader with manifestos

    But hard to understand? Not in the slightest.

    Hard to believe for honest citizens of Our Republic but not hard to understand.

  6. ODD THAT NEW YORK IS SO HOSTILE TO TRUMP

    Donald Trump is New York City’s best-known native son. For years Trump was seen as one of New York’s biggest promoters. Trump, in his prime, was synonymous with Manhattan glamor. Photos of Trump in formalwear were often superimposed over shots of the Midtown skyline.

    But since taking office Trump has rarely visited his hometown. I don’t know if Trump has even step foot in Trump Tower since becoming president. One would think he might get a homesick for his gold-veneered penthouse.

    There is something odd about a president who appears completely estranged from his hometown. Did Reagan ever have a falling-out with California? Of course not! Ron and Nancy spent as much time as possible at their Santa Barbara ranch. What’s more, the Reagan’s retired to Bel Air on L.A.’s very liberal westside.

    One has to be suspicious of any politician estranged from their hometown. Perhaps the natives know something about that politician that escapes more distant admirers.

    1. “ODD THAT NEW YORK IS SO HOSTILE TO TRUMP”

      It’s not odd at all. Trump is no longer a Democrat so he is considered the enemy no matter what he does. Democratic fascism causes their desire to destroy everyone that gets in their way.

      “I don’t know if Trump has even step foot in Trump Tower since becoming president.”

      He has, but you are ignorant of the fact. He also hasn’t gone to Mar a Lago as much as he had previously. He stayed in Washington a lot to work for our country’s benefit while Democrats during the shutdown were vacationing on the Beach. Right now he is in Vietnam meeting with Kim of North Korea. You are an ideological fool that has converted his ideology into a faith based religion.

  7. I have read only a few articles that touched on the variation of double jeopardy laws, re state prosecution for identical or similar crimes already prosecuted at the federal level.
    It looks like some states are restrictive in that application of double jeopardy protection, and some states give more leeway in allowing state prosecution for the same ( or very similar) offenses already prosecuted federally.
    That is the extent of my understanding; I would like to see a follow-up column with more detail/ clarification on the state/ federal double jeopardy issue.
    Particularly in the jurisdictions where it comes into play in the Manafort case.
    As the column points out, Manafort may be prosecuted seperately on New York State criminal offenses WITHOUT changing existing constitutional protection afforded by New York State.
    What is unclear from the column is the necessary measures, the mechanisms, by which New York or Virginia’s State Constitutions can be changed to alter existing state protections against double jeopardy.

  8. New York elected an obnoxious political sectary as it’s attorney-general last November. She wouldn’t be in that office if she couldn’t fund her campaign from the usual sources. You’re looking at what street-level Democrats will assent to and what their moneybags assent to. You won’t admit that constitutional government is endangered by the institutional culture of the Democratic Party, and the rot goes all the way down.

  9. ” To do so, they are willing to remove state constitutional protections for all New Yorkers. … Suddenly the double jeopardy clause was considered a “loophole” being used“

    That is how loud the ‘reverse the election’ has become and shows the liberal mind as a mind that cannot accept a democratically elected President.

  10. It’s no surprise when a member of the establishment defends a fellow member. The only surprise is when a 1%er wanders off the path.

  11. JT, if you are working with Dershowitz and Rudy G on the ” Rebuttal Report ” then you are doing a fine job. Your point of saying that Manafort is a crook of the highest order but he should be given a break because lawyers are picking on him is well, just pure BS.

  12. Finally the words we’ve been waiting for … “SELECTIVE prosecution”. Dems use power to harm political enemies (see Stalin, Chavez, Mao). It started with Obama enlisting Lois Lerner to selectively harass and punish conservative groups … and Hilary goes free after putting hundreds of classified documents on her basement server while Saucier was in prison for sending a selfie (thank goodness DJT pardoned him) … and Sessions recuses while Loretta meets with Bill on the tarmac … Hilary’s staff and bleach bit people get immunity but the Dems on the Mueller team try to impoverish and prosecute everyone who’s a Republican for absurd Mueller created crimes (ie: Papadapoulus, Carter Page, General Flynn) And of course, Manafort is prosecuted while Podesta is free. SELECTIVE, SELECTIVE, SELECTIVE = immoral and un AMerican!

  13. Turley has now become hopelessly obtuse. Mueller has successfully demonstrated that Manafort sold Tony Fabrizio’s $767,000 worth of detailed, sophisticated in-house Trump polling data to a Russian spy for $2.4 Million worth of personal financial gain for Manafort and that Russian spy, Konstantin “Kostya” Kilimnik–who, btw, Manafort had employed from 2005 through 2018, when Kostya finally fled home to his wife and child in Moscow, Mother Russia.

    The names Akhmetov and Lyovochkin are not the only names in Mueller’s court filings on Manafort’s conspiracies with Kilimnik. Instead, Akhmetov and Lyovochkin’s names were the only names that Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, chose to un-redact with his little “formatting error” parlor trick. There are at least two other names in the sections of Mueller’s court filings about people having received Fabrizio’s polling data from Manafort through Kilimnik that have not yet been un-redacted. Those names may very well be the names of Russians. Those Russians may very well have connections to the Russian government.

    Turley is now giving Trump just about the worst legal advice that Turley possibly could give Trump; namely, to pardon Manafort. No! Bad! Wrong! The smart play for Trump is to stiff his contractor, Manafort, the same way Trump is stiffing his contractor, Cohen. Unless, of course, Trump needs to keep Manafort quiet about Manafort having handed off the Ukrainian Peace Proposal he got from Kilimnik to Cohen who handed it off to Flynn who got on the phone with Kislyak and said whatever it was that has not yet been publicly disclosed.

    But Trump pardoning Manafort to protect Trump would be the only way that Turley’s advice to Trump to pardon Manafort would make any sense at all. If Trump has nothing to fear from Manafort, then Trump ought not to pardon Manafort. If Trump does pardon Manafort, then Trump has something to fear from Manafort.

    1. Here’s a relevant passage from Judge Amy Berman Jackson rebutting Manafort’s attempt to dispute Kilimnik’s ties to Russian intelligence with respect to the intended recipients of the polling data:

      Also, the evidence indicates that it was understood that [redacted–poll data] would be [redacted] from Kilimnik [redacted] including [redacted], and [redacted]. Whether Kilimnik is tied to Russian intelligence or he’s not, I think the specific representation by the Office of Special Counsel was that he had been, quote, assessed by the FBI, quote, to have a relationship with Russian intelligence, close quote.

      [end excerpt]

      There are other examples besides the one above. But the example above strongly suggests at least four redacted names were involved in receiving the polling data, only two of which could be Akhmetov and Lyovochkin. The other two redacted names are likely to be Russians because, otherwise, there would be no need to mention any additional names involved in receiving the polling data in order to rebut Manafort’s dispute of Kilimnik’s ties to Russian intelligence.

      1. This just in over the transom: They forgot to redact the pagination on exhibit 233 in Manafort’s most recent court filing. Exhibit 233 has pages 4 through 79. Exhibit 233 is not just about Tony Fabrizio’s $767,000 worth of detailed, sophisticated in-house Trump polling data. Exhibit 233 IS all 75 pages of Tony Fabrizio’s detailed, sophisticated in-house Trump polling data. Manafort’s own lawyer, Westling, called it “gibberish” because it was so “detailed” and “focused” that Westling, himself, couldn’t understand any of it.

        BTW, Fabrizio’s polling data could not have been more than 15 days old at the time that Manafort and Gates briefed Kilimnik on it at The Grand Havana Room at 666 Fifth Avenue [Kushner’s deeply debt-ridden White Elephant property that was probably bailed out by “Corporation A”] on August 2nd, 2016. There were six follow up emails from Kilimnik to Manafort describing the people who had really received Fabrizio’s polling data, how they were accessing it and to what uses they were putting it. Akhmetov and Lyovochkin were merely the people who paid Manafort and Kilimnik for Fabrizio’s polling data. The data itself went to Russians whose names have not yet been un-redacted.

    2. “I have repeatedly said that a pardon for Manafort is inexcusable”.
      That is a direct quote from today’s column.
      Now we have the tranlation into Dianese, reliably performed by Lies4Breakfast, that “Turley is now giving Trump just about the worst legal advice that Turley can give
      Trump; namely, that Trump should pardon Manafort.
      There is a reason why I call people like Lies4Breakfast lying sacks of ****.
      It is because they repeatedly demonstrate that they are lying sacks of ****.
      It shows commitment to propagandize a cause, I suppose, when people like Troll4Breakfast pull this crap again and again.
      Now, for the troll groupies to rise up in arms in defense of their victimized propagandist.
      The other part that’s coming is that the LSOS will deny saying what she said; that ploy works gand-in-glove with lying about what others say.

      1. Tom, don’t you love how Diane doesn’t bother with what people say rather she creates comments never made and then discusses them. It is almost like she has never heard of “quotation marks” in order to get a comment straight. They apparently aren’t on her diet.

        1. Allan says: February 25, 2019 at 11:10 AM

          “Tom, don’t you love how Diane doesn’t bother with what people say rather she creates comments never made and then discusses them. It is almost like she has never heard of “quotation marks” in order to get a comment straight. They apparently aren’t on her diet.”

          Turley wrote, “While it is difficult to prove selective prosecution, Manafort seems to be in a criminal class of his own. Not only are these public pledges to go after Manafort building a possible defense for him, they also may be building a case for a presidential pardon from Trump.”

          Turley floats a trial balloon known as “selective prosecution” as a way to “build a case for a presidential pardon [for Manafort] from Trump.” The fact that Turley scruples to disavow his own advocacy of a pardon for Manafort from Trump does not in anyway negate the prior fact that Turley is literally arguing that the supposedly selective prosecution of Manafort (that hasn’t actually happened yet and has nothing to do with Mueller’s prosecution of Manafort) might conceivably build a case for Trump granting a pardon to Manafort for crimes against the United States–not crimes against the State of New York.

          P. S. Don’t blame me for Turley’s Tartuffery. The State of New York can no more prosecute Manafort for crimes against the United States than Trump can pardon Manafort for crimes against the State of New York. You people have become as twisted beyond all recognition as Turley has. The whole lot of you are naught but FUBAR.

          1. “Turley floats a trial balloon known as “selective prosecution” ”

            Turley isn’t floating any trial balloons. He is stating facts and circumstances.

            What my comment has to do about her comment was left unsaid by Diane. Her predictions fail, her facts fall and she is unable to connect various statements to one another.

      2. The Irritable Male Syndrome Patient said, “The other part that’s coming is that the LSOS will deny saying what she said; that ploy works gand-in-glove with lying about what others say.”

        Nope. I said it. And it’s demonstrably true. You engaged in “quote mining.” And that is also demonstrably true.

        Turley wrote, “I have repeatedly said that a pardon for Manafort would be inexcusable. He has more than earned any sentence that a court chooses to give him and the New York effort should not change that. However, if the Democrats tailor their constitutional protections to get Manafort, they are giving Trump the ability to say that he is responding to selective targeting of Manafort to guarantee that he is not punished twice for the same underlying conduct. More importantly, New York should not sacrifice its commendable protection against double jeopardy to get Manafort. He is not worth it.”

        Repeated for emphasis: “they [New York Democrats] are giving Trump the ability to say that he is responding to selective targeting of Manafort to guarantee that he is not punished twice for the same underlying conduct.”

        I stand by my statement: Turley is giving the worst possible advice to Trump; namely, to pardon Manafort.

        BTW, Turley’s argument about selective prosecution makes no sense. He’s accusing The State of New York of a selective prosecution of Manafort that hasn’t happened yet, in order to provide Trump with an excuse to allege selective prosecution of Manafort against Mueller for the sake of rationalizing a pardon for Manafort. Turley would be better off cherry-picking Mueller’s prosecution and declination decisions from Mueller’s supposedly upcoming confidential report to AG Barr to make a case for pardoning Manafort based upon Mueller’s supposedly selective prosecution of Manafort. However, since the chances of getting Mueller’s report to make the case for pardoning Manafort are effectively zero, Turley goes far afield to allege selective prosecution of Manafort against The State of New York, instead.

        Whatever The State of New York does or doesn’t do is utterly irrelevant to Mueller’s prosecution of Manafort. And Turley knows it. Here’s something else that Turley knows, The State of New York is not going to change its double jeopardy protections unless and until Trump pardons Manafort. And that’s the whole and sole unreason that Turley is egging Trump on to pardon Manafort. Turley is playing the role of mischievous little imp on this question. It is bad advice for Trump to take.

        1. I’m not sure who is now representing Manafort, but his lawyers will undoubtably discard the “bad advice” from Turley and be guided by the the True Expert on Constitutional ( and criminal) Law who writes her daily columns here.😒

          1. I think Manafort would be better off consulting Mespo, who’s a working lawyer. Turley assmbles appellate briefs now and again, but I don’t think he’s a professor-lawyer in the sense Dershowitz is.

            1. Absurd/DSS,
              -I don’t know if Trump will pardon Manafort or
              not.
              If I had to bet on it, I’d say it’s more likely than not that Trump will pardon Manafort.
              Or maybe commute his sentence.
              I don’t see a political cost to Trump in pardoning Manafort; I think Trump, would use the “Clinton/ Marc Rich” timing and do it on the way out the door.
              It would get more interesting if Trump is re-elected, because then he’d either wait 4 more years to pardon Manafort, or bite the bullet and cause a firestorm by pardoning Rich while he still has years left in a second term.
              Trump isn’t exactly predictable, so he might grant a pardon long before he’s packing up to leave the White House.
              ( I’m anticipating what the comments would be here in that case; readers like Natacha, who is just starting to accept and embrace a Trump presidency, “might then” 😉turn against Trump).
              What I take away from the column is that this discussion involving a change in state constitutional protections against double jeopardy are changed, as a backup to target one individual, it would used by Trump to say, “See what I mean, they’re going to these extremes for a pound of flesh, and I’m putting a stop to this vindictive persecution”.
              I don’t know how well that would play out, but the optics of states’ maneuvering to go after Manafort could tempt Trump to use that script in defense of his pardon.
              Whatever happens, it’ll be interesting. This is as much of a political issue as it is a legal issue, and if Trump feels that the states actions in tampering with double jeopardy protections give him some political cover, he may risk granting a pardon well before he leaves the White House.

              1. Tom, I think Manafort remains in jail until Trump’s second term. After that IMO it is a crap shoot as to what is going to happen. The reason some criminals are let go is to prevent the prosecutors from using their power to such a degree that an example has to be made.

                This entire abomination from the FBI to the special prosecutor is wrong and must be changed to permit our Republic to survive as was intended.

  14. So Turley feels Trump has grounds to pardon Manafort because of “selective prosecution” while Trump himself is the one person in the country that supposedly can’t be indicted while in office? Somebody tell me why Manafort shouldn’t go to jail. When Don Jr gets indicted, for what legitimate reason would he be pardoned? Turley himself has spent the last two years saying how evil Manafort is yet he tries to clear the path fo Trump obstruction which would be the only reason for a pardon. One Manafort counted on while lying his ass off AFTER making a deal.

      1. Don. Jr. looks good for Lying to Congress, at a minimum, or for starters, as the case may be. But Don Jr. is unlikely to be indicted before Andrew Miller loses his appeal to Mueller’s subpoena for Miller’s grand jury testimony against Roger Stone, nor before Corporation A loses its appeal to SCOTUS to quash Mueller’s subpoena for bank records about . . . (“?”).

        The theory holds that Mueller has to indict the entire remainder of the Trump campaign’s Conspiracy to Defraud the United States all at once in order to avoid triggering Trump’s “Doomsday Device.”

      2. Jack Sime,…
        The resident seer, Late4Dinner, stated in October 2018 that Trump Jr. would be indicted sometime in the Nov.-Dec.-Jan. 2019 time frame.
        She stated that as if it were fact. I won’t bother reposting her prophecy again, but it’s in the Oct. 2018 archives, around mid-October, I think.
        Enigma recently made another prediction re the timing of an indictment of Trump Jr.
        He isn’t as heavily involved in the seer activity as the Senior Seer L4B, but I think Enigma’s prediction was for Trump Jr. to be indicted in late Feb. or early March.
        These predictions are common as dirt and about as valuable. Just by the odds, if enough of these psychics here make enough predictions about what will happen and when, some will probably turn out to be right.
        I gave up on false prophets after the 2012? prediction that the world would end on Dec.14, 2012 ( or thereabouts….don’t remember the exact mid-December date).
        I was writing a check at my insurance agents office around Dec. 2, and the secretary said “just 12 more days” after confirming the date I asked for.
        It took me a few seconds to realize she was referring to the Mayan Calender prophesy of the end of the world, not Christmas.
        My girlfriend at the time was born on Dec. 24, and there was always the additional pressure or getting both the birthday gift and a seperate Christmas present.
        I’m not that stingy, I just hate the shoping part of it.
        I mentioned this to the secretary and noted, cheerfully, that “this year I may get out of having to shop”.
        And that I was putting it off to see how things turned out.
        Of course, it was just another one of those “the world will end” ripoffs, and I got stuck having to do the shopping after all.
        That “disappointment”😉 was the final straw as far as I was concerned with these phony prophesies, and that skepticism is advisable when considering the multiple predictions here.

        1. The resident seer, Late4Dinner, stated in October 2018 that Trump Jr. would be indicted sometime in the Nov.-Dec.-Jan. 2019 time frame.

          Thanks for cataloguing her red herrings for future reference. You’re doing that work allows the rest of us to scroll past her posts without reading them. The late Dean Barnett used to read Daily Kos every day for the benefit of is readers. “I wade through this filth so you don’t have to”.

          1. Absurd/DSS,…
            -I have to admit that due to the sheer volume of junk to shift through, I have a hired staff that monitors, translates, and condenses her predictions, her reviews of the columns, and her versions of what others “really said” or “really meant” in their comments.
            I enjoy a long breakfast and sometimes even brunch while she comments, and my hired help is assigned the unpleasant task of reading those comments.

          2. “Corporation A” (most likely the Qatar Investment Authority) will lose its expedited appeal to SCOTUS to quash Mueller’s subpoena for bank records (most likely related to QIA’s bailout of Kushner’s debt-ridden 666 Fifth Avenue property) under the Foreign Sovereignty Immunities Act of 1976. “Corporation A” has fantastically argued that, because Trump could punish them with sanctions, therefore they don’t have to respond to a grand jury subpoena for bank records about probable crimes against the United States committed by U.S. citizens in the United States. If “Corporation A” does not lose their expedited appeal to SCOTUS, then any foreign owned bank can extend its own immunity to grand jury subpoenas to cover up the criminal conduct of U.S. citizens committing crimes against the United States in the United States. Under those circumstances, the sovereignty of the United States forfeits its power to enforce whatever sanctions the United States imposes on any foreign-owned bank or any foreign government.

            You, too, will have to wade through that filfth, even if you still refuse to read it.

            1. And for another thing: The simple fact that both The United States and The State of New York have overlapping jurisdictions on the banks in New York City in no way whatsoever entails that bank fraud against The State of New York is somehow the same crime as bank fraud against The United States. That is necessarily thus and so because tax fraud against The United States is not the same crime as tax fraud against the State of New York. Because the State of New York can only levy taxes on people who own property or who earn income in New York. They don’t call it federalism for no reason at all.

              Trump cannot pardon Manafort for bank fraud and tax fraud against the State of New York. Trump can only pardon Manafort for crimes against the United States. The Fifth Amendment protection against being twice tried for the same crime does not make state offenses federal offenses nor vice-versa.

              1. “Manafort can be prosecuted for any evasion of state tax law”.
                This is in the column; I don’t know why there was a two paragraph comment to “condense”😊😂 what JT wrote in one sentence.

              2. it depends on the elements of the alleged crime. sometimes state and federal crimes can overlap and come under the double jeopardy bar. other times not. the point that turley made was that New York State has a strong protection for its citizens under the state constitution with respect to this question. and that it would be sad if they throw that overboard for one guy.

      3. Because others that have lied to the FBI about these matters. Because I’m convinced he has lied to Congress (also a crime) which people have been indicted before. I believe that because members of Congress who he testified before, said he lied and provided copies of his testimony to the Special Counsel.
        Donald Jr himself is telling friends he thinks he’ll be indicted. He would know best whether he committed the crime? Even though his father dictated lies on his behalf, the ones he told himself will cause him to get indicted.

        This of course has nothing to do with the crimes being investigated by the SDNY and the State of New York related to the running of The Trump Organization. Those charges will come later, likely not first.

    1. I remember when Democrats used to be civil liberterians! wow not any more. LOL

      Double jeopardy is why. look it up. it’s a constitutional civil liberty.
      one that people accused with crimes worry about every day.

      throw it out for manafort, you may throw it out for all who come after. be careful what you wish for.

      now here is the why, which turley said, in the essay, which you may not have read:

      “The problem could be the bar on double jeopardy, the guarantee that people are not punished twice for the same conduct. Such guarantees originated in ancient Rome and were made part of our Constitution under the Fifth Amendment unless, it now seems, you are Paul Manafort. While civil libertarians have long warned of the erosion of this guarantee, New York has been the gold standard on this with a more protective provision barring redundant or related state prosecutions after federal convictions.”

      now when it comes to the overlap between fed and state crimes of similar elements, it gets complicated,. but that’s where the refernce to new york being “gold standard” comes in. turley is not elaborating on all the complicated doctrines and so forth but I get and you may wish to educate yourself on “double jeopardy” some before you throw too many stones at turley

      1. I’m quite familiar with double jeopardy thank you. In Manafort’s case, I’m more concerned about no jeopardy, as a reward for protecting Trump, Russia, or both. Manafort is guilty of so much, he can be tried on state charges different than the ones he has been convicted of already. My question you didn’t address, is who thinks he should be pardoned at all? Why is this criminal, or any criminal, like Arpaio who never served any portion his sentence, deserving of a pardon for being loyal to Trump?

        1. it’s up to trump to pardon whom he chooses, just like every other president

          a lot of people thought nixon should not have pardoned jimmy hoffa; i think that was fine
          but it didnt help hoffa for long

          marc rich, now that was a spectacularly bad choice for a pardon by bill clinton, but marc rich was one hell of a donor! yes one of those businessmen buying politicians you lament

          https://www.npr.org/2016/11/01/500297580/more-surprises-fbi-releases-files-on-bill-clintons-pardon-of-marc-rich

          read that, funny thing, Comey prosecuted Rich … small world. lol

          1. The pardon power is not a free kick. If Trump abuses the pardon power for a corrupt purpose such as witness tampering, then Trump can be impeached for abuse of power related to obstruction of justice. Manafort told at least two lies to the grand jury and possibly more than two. Manafort’s strategy all along has been to render himself useless as cooperating witness against Trump. Manafort has succeeded at accomplishing that objective. If Trump pardons Manafort, then Congress will quickly compel Manafort’s testimony. If Manafort repeats any or all of the lies that Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Manafort had told, then Manafort could, and probably would, be charged with lying to Congress. Try to picture that in your imagination. Trump not merely rewarding Manafort with a pardon for his past lies, but Trump abusing the pardon power for the express purpose of criminally facilitating Manafort’s future lies to Congress.

            Given that Trump’s legal jeopardy would have been greatly reduced without Manafort’s conspiracy with the Russian spy, Konstantin Kilimnik, Trump would still be far better off refusing to grant Manafort a pardon. There will be nothing in Mueller’s confidential report to AG Barr to bolster a case for pardoning Manafort due to Mueller’s supposedly selective prosecution of Manafort. There’s already a great deal of damning evidence against Manafort’s conspiracy with the Russian spy, Konstantin Kilimnik, in Mueller’s court filings. Turley’s argument about The State of New York’s selective prosecution of Manafort that hasn’t happened yet and wouldn’t happen unless and until Trump pardoned Manafort is one of the most fabulously contorted instances of pretzel logic yet devised by the mind of The Professor’s ongoing tartuffery.

            1. You ever take calculus? You’re going on a deriavative of the deriavative of the deriavative here with that “abuse of the pardon power” charges notion. really. snowball’s chance in hell. be careful about calling others Tartuffe. You’ must have not seen the play because you rather than the professor exemplified it.

          2. Joseph Sobran remarked at the time that with Clinton, you’re safest choosing the crudest option in searching for a motive, and that would be Denise Rich’s ample bosom.

  15. Was he put on Earth to “man” a “fort” or to man a fart? New Yorkies cannot speak correctly. For example: the streets 33rd Street and 3rd Avenue are referred to by Yorkes as “turdy turd and a turd”. I think that when the Manafart family came in to Ellis Island that the clerk there changed the name to protect what he thought were the innocent. After he filled out the papers and sent them on their way into America he noticed the fart smell.

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