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CNN Panel: Trump Waving 'Get Out of Jail Free Card' at Mueller Targets

CNN Panel: Trump Waving 'Get Out of Jail Free Card' at Mueller Targets

By    |   Friday, 01 June 2018 12:56 PM

A CNN political analyst says President Donald Trump’s pardon of Dinesh D’Souza is a blatant signal to targets of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe that the commander in chief will wield a "Get Out of Jail Free Card" for his friends.

"It’s a dangerous precedent," John Avlon, who also is editor of The Daily Beast, said Friday morning on CNN’s "New Day," a day after Trump announced a full pardon for D’Souza, a conservative commentator and filmmaker sentenced in 2014 to five years of probation for federal campaign law violations.

"Presidents have pardoning power. We’ve seen bad pardons before – favors to donors and things that are shady, pursuing political agendas. This is something different. This is about part of being president is a get out of jail free card for your friends."

"They’re a big neon sign," added John Berman, co-anchor of the program. "One of the president’s big political advisers Roger Stone says, yes, it’s a signal and we’re getting it."

Berman was referring to Roger Stone’s comment to the Washington Post that the pardoning of D’Souza should send a powerful message to special counsel Mueller and the former Trump associates he’s charged with wrongdoing.

"It has to be a signal to Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort and even Robert S. Mueller III: Indict people for crimes that don’t pertain to Russian collusion and this is what could happen," Stone, a longtime Trump associate and his onetime political strategist said.

Stone, who has come under scrutiny in Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russia interference with the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign was involved, added: "The special counsel has awesome powers, as you know, but the president has even more awesome powers."

Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, faces two criminal cases brought by the Mueller probe which include charges of bank fraud and money laundering, all of which he has pleaded not guilty to. Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor has pled guilty to "willfully and knowingly" making "false, fictitious and fraudulent statements" to the FBI and is cooperating with Mueller’s probe.

After he announced the pardon of D’Souza, the commander in chief also said he may commute the sentence of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D-Ill., who is serving 14 years in prison on corruption convictions. And Trump said he’s mulling a pardon of homemaking diva Martha Stewart -- convicted in 2004 of obstructing justice and lying to the government in a stock trading case -- who starred in a short-lived spinoff of Trump’s reality show "The Apprentice."

"If you look at what these people have been charged with, it is resonant to some of the problem the President and his larger party may be facing," Avlon said.

"Obstruction of justice, perjury, lying to federal officials, corruption, fraud, extortion, campaign finance violations. I mean, this is the kitchen sink, to redefine the new normal ... This is the criminalization of politics …”

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A CNN political analyst says President Donald Trump’s pardon of Dinesh D’Souza is a blatant signal to targets of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe that the commander in chief will wield a "Get Out of Jail Free Card" for his friends.
trump pardons, john avlon, cnn panel, get out of jail free card, new day, donald trump
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2018-56-01
Friday, 01 June 2018 12:56 PM
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