A former FBI agent said President Donald Trump may be obstructing justice, on CNN’s “New Day” Thursday, by “dangling a pardon” in front of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
“What is notable is that he is saying this out loud. And from a legal perspective, this is problematic for him,” Asha Rangappa said. (RELATED: Trump Says Manafort Pardon Is Not ‘Off The Table’)
Rangappa said Trump has broad authority to pardon people but if he used the pardon as motivation to influence someone, it would be considered a crime.
“Yes, the president has very broad pardon power, he could pardon Manafort,” she continued. “But dangling a pardon is something different. It is offering to use your presidential power in order to encourage or entice or influence somebody’s behavior. That is a separate act. And that can also be evidence of obstruction.”
Rangappa claimed Trump is “going nuts” and is being told by his legal team to back off the Manafort case. She also said it’s possible Trump’s attorneys may have mentioned the possibility of a pardon to Manafort’s lawyers, which would land Trump in “hot water.”
“So he’s going nuts, because I can tell you his lawyers are telling him, ‘Shut up. Stop talking about pardons. If you’re going to do it, just wait,'” she added. “They also had a joint defense agreement where these lawyers were in contact. And what I want to know is and what I’m sure [special counsel Robert] Mueller wants to know is, did [a pardon] come up in those conversations? Because if it did then he’s in a lot of hot water.”
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