If Steve Bannon doesn’t want to exchange life on a $28 million yacht for a jail cell, that probably comes down to two possibilities: Either he rolls over or Trump steps in to rescue his latest criminal crony.
Even Fox News acknowledges that Bannon is in a heap of legal trouble after he was yanked off a Chinese billionaire’s superyacht and arrested for allegedly defrauding donors to “We Build The Wall” (that Mexico was supposed to pay for) and lining his pockets to the tune of $1 million.
Despite Donald Trump's efforts to distance himself from Bannon, his former campaign manager and adviser, Trump, his family and his pals look very much enmeshed.
On AM Joy this morning, former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne weighed in on the future prospects of this latest addition to Trump’s circle of criminality.
He loves the yachting life and he ripped off the very people he claimed he was representing because corruption and his money mattered more to him than any ideology. And I would agree with Barbara [McQuade, former federal prosecutor], we're going to end up seeing pleas in this case and people are going to roll. Guys like Steve Bannon, they like the yachting life. They don't want to go to jail. And he’s gonna have to go to jail if he doesn’t roll.
But Trump may pardon Bannon before it gets to that. Despite some bad blood between them, McQuade thought it likely Bannon would get a pardon, probably at the “absolute last minute,” if Trump thinks it necessary to protect himself.
Alksne pointed out that Trump could pardon Bannon at any point, even before he is found guilty. But if that happens, Bannon would lose his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions to a grand jury. So Trump might choose to commute sentences, like he did with Roger Stone, so that Bannon et al. will remain silent, Alksne added.
Whatever happens, the optics of this will probably be terrible for Trump, Or worse.