Andrew Weissmann, the lead prosecutor for former special counsel Robert Mueller, said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” that President Donald Trump’s pardons of Paul Manafort and Roger Stone mean they can be forced to testify against him.
Maddow said, “The Fifth Amendment issue — that the pardon removes the stain of a conviction, but a pardoned person — once a person has been pardoned for specific crimes, they can’t escape having to testify about anything that comes within the scope of their pardon in the future.”
Weissmann said, “Absolutely. So you know, this is the kind of thing, when I hear this news, I put on my sort of former Brooklyn prosecutor hat of, ‘okay, what can we do?’ And there are actually two things that the next attorney general can do with respect to the president because the president has a very, very broad power to pardon, but he cannot pardon in exchange for something. In other words, there can not be a bribe or a quid pro quo.”
He continued, “The president faces criminal exposure for obstruction of the Mueller investigation. And what we’re seeing in the last few days is, basically, a confession. You know, this is such strong evidence of obstruction. He’s carrying out the dangled pardons that you referred to he is now carrying out in real-time. And one of the things you can do as a federal prosecutor is you can put Paul Manafort and Roger Stone into the grand jury and ask them questions. Obviously, you would wait until January 20 so that the president can’t interfere with this. And you can ask them questions about, what were your communications with the White House? Why did you lie for the president? A whole series of questions.”
He added, “Now, if Paul Manafort or Roger Stone were to assert the Fifth Amendment at that point, and they may have an argument for it, you can immunize them and force them to testify. You’ll be no worse off than you are now.”
He concluded, “Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, and a number of other people can be put in the grand jury and asked about the president to beef-up a future case against the president.”
Story cited here.