Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano claimed President Donald Trump’s pardon power is absolute, but said it won’t matter in the case of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort.
“The Democrats’ theory, by the president saying that he’s manipulating Manafort’s communications with Mueller … I think that’s a real serious stretch,” Napolitano said on “Fox & Friends” Thursday. (RELATED: CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin Says Manafort Is Lying Because He’s ‘Stupid, Arrogant’ Or ‘Shopping For A Pardon’)
“First of all, the president’s pardon power is absolute,” he continued. “And he can decide to pardon anybody. But, just for federal crimes.”
Napolitano said since Manafort is still eligible to be tried in state court, a federal pardon from the president won’t do him much good.
“I reread the 175-page plea agreement he entered into with Bob Mueller and approved by a federal judge back in September. At the same time he pleaded guilty to the federal crimes for which Mueller’s grand juries had indicted him, he also pleaded guilty to as yet uncharged state crimes in New Jersey, New York and California,” he said.
“And the president can’t pardon for that. This was from Mueller’s perspective, a brilliant move.”
Napolitano said Manafort has not been officially tried, but would likely be dragged into state court immediately if he were pardoned by the president.
“He hasn’t been charged but I think he would be charged immediately … would be indicted immediately by a grand jury sitting in those states,” he said. “Because the guilty plea in federal court in September was an admission to the commission of these federal crimes, which are in the field of bank fraud.”
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