- President Trump’s pardons leave some of their subjects open to additional prosecution, experts say.
- His former campaign chair Paul Manafort could still be prosecuted for specific crimes he wasn’t pardoned for.
- Even Michael Flynn, who received a wider-ranging pardon, could still have it tested by courts.
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On his way out of office, President Donald Trump issued more than 100 pardons, mostly to his personal friends and political allies.
A number of those pardons were for people convicted of federal crimes linked to the Mueller investigation — including his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and advisors Roger Stone and George Papadopoulos.
Trump was sure to malign Mueller’s investigation in his pardon notices. The press release for Manafort’s pardon, for example, said he was “prosecuted in the course of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, which was premised on the Russian collusion hoax.”
Though the president’s pardon powers are broad, a number of prosecutors and experts on clemency laws don’t believe those people are off the hook just yet.
Trump pardoned Manafort for his specific convictions. It’s much more narrowly tailored than the pardon Trump gave to Flynn, for “any and all offenses arising out of the facts and circumstances” brought by Robert Mueller’s office.
It’s also narrower than the pardon President Gerald Ford gave to former President Richard Nixon, which covered a broad timeframe.
“It says ‘for his conviction’ and that’s it. It’s just for the crimes for which he was convicted,” Kimberly Wehle, a University of Baltimore law professor, told Insider. “That is a different wording than Richard Nixon received under his pardon, which is for ‘all conceivable crimes.'”
Wehle, who worked under Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr in the Justice Department, said presidents must specify the specific crimes being pardoned.
Beyond that, prosecutors can always try to bring different charges using the same set of underlying facts, she said.
The same point was brought up by Andrew Weissman, Mueller’s second-in-command, in an article for the blog Just Security on Wednesday. Weissman argued that while Flynn’s pardon left “no room for now holding Flynn to account for his past felonious conduct,” the pardon for Manafort was full of holes.
“Specifically, the pardon is solely for the crimes of conviction … That leaves numerous crimes as to which Manafort can still be prosecuted, as in Virginia there were 10 hung counts,” Weissman wrote. “In Washington, the situation is even more wide open. In that district, Manafort pleaded to a superseding information containing two conspiracy…
Go to the news source: Trump pardons could still leave people granted clemency on the hook