March 12, 2019

Chris Jansing brought up something former CIA director John Brennan said yesterday.

"Tomorrow a U.S. district judge who has been entrenched in the Mueller case for more than a year is going to decide the fate of Paul Manafort," Jansing said.

"How long the former trump campaign chief will spend in prison? She could tack up to ten years on to the 47-month sentence that he got in a Virginia court last week, or could decide that he'll serve out both sentences at the same time. But former CIA director John Brennan is throwing another possibility into the equation."

BRENNAN: Firstly, I don't have any doubt that Mr. Trump is going to pardon Paul Manafort at some point. The question is when. But then if he is also convicted of state charges, Donald Trump is not going to be able to pardon him for that.

"Joining me now is former federal prosecutor Doug Burns, and you also represented three White House employees during Clinton scandals. Doug, what do you think? Do you think there is a chance that a pardon is on the table?" Jansing said.

"Well, I mean, that was an aggressive prediction," Burns said.

"'I have no doubt whatsoever he is going to pardon him.' I don't know where he is coming up with that. Number one, that will never happen unless and until the president is re-elected. Number two, he might commute the sentence faster than he would pardon him. That would enable him to say they treated him too harshly vis a vis the sentence, but the conviction for the wrongdoing stands. I completely part company with that prediction. I don't believe it's clear he will pardon him."

"If people, Jeff, are talking about the possibility of a pardon, can that legitimately factor into the judge's decision tomorrow?" Jansing asked attorney Jeff Jacobovitz.

"I don't think it will because I think the judge is sitting on two conspiracy counts, including tampering with a witness," Jacobovitz said.

"The judge is aware of the cooperation that Manafort was supposed to provide and did not. I think the sentence will be harsh and consecutive. It may not rise to the level of ten years, but it will be significant and more significant than the Virginia sentence. I think if the pardon occurs, it will facilitate immediate state attorney general investigations and possible indictments because that is not pardonable. The states have been also the victim of tax improprieties if the federal were -- excuse me, the federal government was."

Jansing rolled a clip of Sarah Sanders about the pardon from yesterday.

SANDERS: The president has made his position on that clear. He'll make a decision when he is ready_

Jansing said Sanders wasn't ruling it out. "You know, you could make the argument his base would support that."

"That's so politically toxic," Burns argued. "nobody is saying it's a good idea politically. Legally, there is no real reason to turn around and say, oh, today, Tuesday, I am, you know, he's not gonna commit to that."

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