Bernstein: Trump ‘Signaling’ Manafort Pardon Could Be ‘Obstruction in Itself’

PAM KEY

Wednesday on “CNN Newsroom,” veteran journalist Carl Bernstein said President Donald Trump “signaling” a possible pardon for Paul Manafort with his tweets “might well be a real part of a pattern of obstruction as well as an obstruction in itself.”

Bernstein said, “Well, certainly the Republicans on Capitol Hill have been craven and have enabled Trump’s coverup. They have enabled his continuing lie without calling him in to account and they may or may not pay dearly in terms of their political lives, but this is a moment of truth for the Republican party. They do not have to condemn or come to the aid of Donald Trump, but people on Capitol Hill in the Republican party need to say we are for the rule of law and this president has shown, in the last week particularly, his utter contempt for the rule of law.”

He continued, “It is important to this country and its future that the Mueller investigation, which is a by-the-book, non-leaking, credible law-abiding operation, be permitted to finish its work. And then the American people can know much more about the underlying facts, but what we are seeing now is a kind of sewage seeping up from the White House swamp, particularly in what we are watching from Donald Trump—holding out, dangling a pardon possibility in front of Paul Manafort. It is unspeakable to watch this…His words about brave Paul Manafort and the offense that has been committed against Paul Manafort and his fine family and all the rest, is extraordinary and I don’t think any serious person and certainly no serious lawyer or Justice Department official that I know of thinks it is anything but an attempt to dangle a pardon. A speaker on our air a few minutes ago said he doubted it was part of obstruction of justice. I’m not sure that I would agree with that. That the act of offering and signaling a pardon at this moment, he has every right to pardon any person he wants to, but the act of signaling it at this point might well be a real part of a pattern of obstruction as well as an obstruction in itself.”

He added, “I’ve come to expect nothing but evasion and untruth from the president of the United States, the assertion he continually makes, no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. There seems to be considerable evidence of collusion—perhaps by his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, perhaps by his son in the Trump Tower meeting, which was an invitation to collusion extended to his son and accepted with relish by Donald Trump Jr. The question is, does collusion envelope, Donald Trump, himself or just members of his circle and campaign? And again, we have a long way to go here in terms of knowing the facts. Let’s wait for Mr. Mueller to give us the facts. But it is very important to realize that those of us that are reporters talking to people in the White House know that right now, Donald Trump is raging, that people around him regard his rages as bizarre at this point, and also that he is determined that the Mueller investigation in some way be shut down so that there can be no chance that his presidency is shut down.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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