It isn’t going to take much to identify the Proud Boys and other people that invaded the US Capitol buildings yesterday. Few of them wore masks, there was plenty of camera footage and most of them probably put selfies on social media.
No, the question is not going to be who did it. The question is going to be whether Donald Trump pardons them on his way out the door. On the one hand, these folks are the ‘foot soldiers’ of his political movement. He pardoned the ‘generals’ – Roger Stone and Paul Manafort – so it would look bad if he abandoned his regular troops. Who would go into battle for him again?
On the other hand, Trump cannot pardon folks without knowing their names. So if law enforcement really wants to go after the invaders, they would be wise to keep their names secret until Jan 20 when Joe Biden takes over.
Unless, of course, Trump is impeached or relieved of his duties before then.
For a long time he was known as “the Donald” but lately he is looking more like “the Don”. Donald Trump has been channeling his inner Mafia chief, making it crystal clear that he will protect anyone who lies for him.
He did not say so explicitly, but he telegraphed pardons for Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and any other person who helps Trump fend off legal challenges. Perjury, obstruction of justice and other crimes committed will all be forgiven if these people help cripple investigations by Robert Mueller or Congress.
As for snitches, i.e., people like Michael Cohen who insist on telling the truth, they are ‘weak’ and should serve a ‘full and complete sentence’ in prison for their sins. The main sin of course being not falling on their swords for Trump.
The funny thing about pardons is that they only work for people convicted in federal courts. If Mueller shares evidence with state attorneys general and they use it to convict Manafort or Stone, Trump won’t be able to pardon them. That will make someone very upset, but you can bet it won’t be Trump.
It probably isn’t how Donald Trump intended to ‘drain the swamp’ but it appears to be working anyway. Six of Trump’s swampy supporters have been convicted of crimes and several others have been charged.
As one of the jurors in Paul Manafort’s recent trial told Fox News, “(Manafort) wouldn’t have gotten caught if they weren’t after President Trump.” She is probably right.
Which is the sad part about the whole thing. Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were cheating, crooked businessmen operating in full view of Washington for years and never charged with a crime. Why did it take an association with Trump to finally get the authorities to pay attention to their misdeeds?
We owe Donald Trump a big ‘Thank You’ and huzzah for flushing out his swamp dwelling supporters. I think the huzzah goes something like this: “Lock them up. Lock them up. Lock them up”
Businessmen Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. Very close to Donald Trump. And how did that work out? The law came after them for corruption and the law won.
Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins. Very close to Donald Trump – some of his earliest supporters. And how did that work out? The law came after them for corruption and is likely to win.
Cabinet members Tom Price and Scott Pruitt. Very close to Donald Trump. And how did that work out? The press came after them for corruption and the press won.
Anyone see a pattern here? You can be sure that people close to Trump do. If you are corrupt, being close to Trump puts an unwelcome spotlight on you. Even if you aren’t, you may not like being associated with all of the shady behavior around you. It’s getting increasingly dangerous to be part of the Trump universe.