Report: Mueller Trying to Pardon-Proof His Investigation

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Just like the rest of us, special prosecutor Robert Mueller is apparently concerned that Trump may pardon his closest associates or even himself and, to that end, Mueller has hired one of the most qualified people in the country to pardon-proof his investigation.

via Bloomberg:

He’s Michael Dreeben, a bookish career government lawyer with more than 100 Supreme Court appearances under his belt.

Acting as Mueller’s top legal counsel, Dreeben has been researching past pardons and determining what, if any, limits exist, according to a person familiar with the matter. Dreeben’s broader brief is to make sure the special counsel’s prosecutorial moves are legally airtight. That could include anything from strategizing on novel interpretations of criminal law to making sure the recent search warrant on ex-campaign adviser Paul Manafort’s home would stand up to an appeal.

It seems reasonable to infer that Mueller would not be this concerned about Trump's pardon power unless he expects to issue indictments. It appears to be a matter of when, not if.

It's been reported in the past that Mueller is working closely with state attorneys general, including New York AG Eric Schneiderman, to determine if any state laws have been broken. Trump can't pardon his friends for breaking state laws, only federal laws.

  • Karl Milhon

    Watch the dominoes fall. Here is how it would work. First this question was asked during the constitutional convention in 1787. “George Mason argued that the President might use his pardoning power to “pardon crimes which were advised by himself” or, before indictment or conviction, “to stop inquiry and prevent detection.” James Madison responded: “[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds to believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty….” So, if Trump were to pardon in this case, he would or should automatically trigger impeachment. This would be the ultimate test of house Republicans would be my guess. Then, once impeached and removed by the Senate, States could then prosecute him and if convicted, he would go to prison.

    That is how it would work and I’m thinking exactly as Mueller expects. IF, Mueller goes after Trump’s people including relatives by marriage, Trump will then be caught in a trap. If he pardons, he triggers impeachment and the dominoes begin to fall. If he doesn’t, he will be a President without power, humiliated, castrated and irrelevent and unelectable in 2020. The election last year was close and Trump won in the electoral college. Next time, even if he were to garner 40 plus percent, he would lose. AND, there is a chance the Republicans could lose the house or the Senate here next year. This is going to be a bumpy ride…

  • Draxiar

    This helps put my mind at ease. I hope not a single person gets pardoned. Ford pardoned Nixon to help the country heal. Trump and his band of miscreants should not be pardoned to help the country heal.

  • Aynwrong
  • ninjaf

    I am heartened by his thoroughness.