Seth Abramson: Trump Is 'Dangling' Pardon in Front of Paul Manafort, Risking Obstruction

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December 3, 2018
Updated 8d ago

By Christian Smith

President Trump is opening himself up to allegations of obstruction by publicly dangling a pardon in front of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, "Proof of Collusion" author Seth Abramson told Cheddar on Monday.

Prosecutors last week accused Manafort of violating his plea deal, claiming he lied to investigators during their investigation about the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Manafort had already guilty to bank and tax fraud in order to avoid convictions on other charges as part of the agreement. The charge that he broke that deal by lying puts him in an "enormous amount of legal danger," said Abramson, a former criminal defense attorney.

President Trump said last week that he had not discussed a pardon for Manafort, but that he would not "take it off the table."

"It's not just that President Trump is refusing to rule out a pardon, he really has many times over the past few months publically dangled a pardon in front of Paul Manafort. And just today, we saw him tweet about Roger Stone and seem to be encouraging Roger Stone not to cooperate with federal investigators," Abramson said. "So there's a real concern here about both obstruction and witness tampering."

Stone, Trump's former campaign advisor, is expected to be interviewed by the special counsel about his contact with WikiLeaks during the campaign. On ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Stone said he would not testify against the president.

In a Monday tweet, Trump approvingly quoted Stone as saying "I will never testify against Trump." He added: "Nice to know that some people still have 'guts!'"

Abramson said he expects Trump's legal jeopardy to only increase.

"I think what we should expect is that things will continue to get worse and worse," Abramson said. "This will get closer to the president. It will go into his family and his top aides, and I think that with every day that he tweets he creates the risk of additional charges of obstruction and witness tampering."

For full interview click here.