Guiliani Says Russia Probe May Get ‘Cleaned Up’ with Pardons

The President's attorney continues to issue public statements that would seem injurious to his client.

NY Daily News (“Rudy Giuliani says Mueller probe ‘might get cleaned up’ with ‘presidential pardons’ in light of Paul Manafort going to jail“):

Rudy Giuliani wants to mop the floor with Robert Mueller.

In one of his most forceful attacks on the special counsel yet, Giuliani on Friday said the Russia investigation could get “cleaned up” with pardons from President Trump in light of Paul Manafort being sent to jail.

“When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons,” the former New York mayor told the Daily News.

Giuliani’s stunning remark came hours after a Washington, D.C., judge revoked Manafort’s bail and ordered him to remain behind bars while awaiting his September trial on charges relating to his shady pro-Russian business dealings in Ukraine. The ruling came after Mueller’s investigators alleged the ex-Trump campaign chairman had attempted to secure false testimony from potential witnesses in the Russia probe.

Giuliani, who worked as a federal prosecutor for nearly a decade, claimed he had seen no evidence to warrant locking up Manafort.

“I don’t understand the justification for putting him in jail,” Giuliani, 74, said. “You put a guy in jail if he’s trying to kill witnesses, not just talking to witnesses.”

Giuliani, who serves as Trump’s personal lawyer, doubled down on his previous call to end the Mueller investigation immediately.

“That kind of investigation should not go forward,” Giuliani said. “It’s time for Justice to investigate the investigators.”

I’m not steeped enough in criminal law to have a strong opinion to the claim that Manafort shouldn’t be in jail but I’m sympathetic to it. In my understanding, we typically allow bail unless someone is considered dangerous or an extreme flight risk. I don’t know that either is the case with Manafort. [UPDATE: I hadn’t followed this one closely enough to realize that Manafort had violated the terms of his bail by contacting witnesses and, allegedly, attempting to suborn perjury. That certainly makes revoking bail reasonable.]

More importantly, though, the threat of massive pardons is interesting. On the one level, it would seem to remove 5th Amendment protections, thus actually making it easier to compel testimony that would hurt President Trump. On another, though, self-serving pardons during an ongoing investigation of the person granting the pardons would seem to be classic obstruction of justice.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rudy continues to display on a daily basis that he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but Trump doesn’t care

    He wasn’t hired for his legal skills, he was hired to be the guy who goes on television, principally Fox News Channel, to push the propaganda line for the White House.

  2. becca says:

    Being credibly charged with witness tampering while free on bail sounds like a good reason to revoke said bail.

    What say you, James?

  3. @becca:

    Based on the order that Judge Berman wrote after yesterday’s hearing, I’d say that she had no choice but to revoke Manafort’s bail given his behavior.

  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    If you read the judge’s statement – which Maddow did live last night – it’s pretty clear that her honor had a good reason to lock Manafort up. He made it all but inevitable. You do not talk to witnesses when you’re out on bail. That’s poking the judge in the eye, you’re going to have your bail revoked.

    But Manafort is a privileged white guy so he can’t be expected to be as smart as the average stick-up artist or drug dealer. Or burglar. When I was released on bail the judge told me not to talk to any potential witnesses and you know what? I obeyed that order, because witness tampering makes the government’s case for them. Innocent people do not try to influence witnesses and all a jury has to hear is that you messed with a witness, and case closed, you’re done. And the way Manafort did it, with elaborate efforts to cover up his actions, that’s consciousness of guilt written out in big, bold letters.

    Put it this way: if Manafort had been innocent of the original charges then he really screwed himself because he just flat-out committed another series of felonies and left incriminating evidence everywhere.

  5. CSK says:

    Did Giuliani say this in order to muzzle Cohen–reassure him that yes, if he doesn’t talk, Trump will issue him an unconditional pardon? Because Giuliani’s statement comes right on the heels of the reports that Cohen is getting ready to flip. Of course, this would apply to Manafort, too, but he’s already in jail.

  6. Not the IT Dept says:

    We’d have a lot less crime in this country if older, white, suit-wearing crooks were treated immediately the way regular folk are when they break the law.

    Side note: I think Trump has written Manafort off, and Manafort knows it. Manafort’s big problem is his international clients who are looking forward to sending flowers to his funeral.

  7. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Why am I in moderation?

  8. Mister Bluster says:

    “When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons,”
    “Guido” Giuliani

    Here we are. Protected. Free to make our profits…partnership with a friendly government…

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ghouliani is a clown, long past his law practice “sell by” date. Won’t surprise me in the least if he ends up on a criminal court docket himself before all this is over.

  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    As well he should. Giuliani is obstructing justice.

  11. MBunge says:

    Just to be clear in the wake of the IG report on the Clinton email investigation, we’re still operating on the assumption that Mueller is a straight-shootin’ man of honor whose integrity and judgment can’t be questioned…like Comey and company before him?


  12. MBunge says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    “Justice.” Yeah, that’s what concerns you.


  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    Oh, but justice is what concerns me. Also truth. There’s no one so fervent as a convert.

  14. drj says:

    Rudy Giuliani says Mueller probe ‘might get cleaned up’ with ‘presidential pardons’

    In other words, Guiliani admits a) that Manafort is, in fact, guilty; and b) that Manafort can implicate Trump.

    They’re not even pretending anymore.

    And what does the GOP do? Calling for an end to the Mueller investigation.

    The GOP is no longer a political party, it’s a crime cartel.

  15. NW Steve says:


    Just to be clear in the wake of the IG report on the Clinton email investigation, we’re still operating on the assumption that Mueller is a straight-shootin’ man of honor whose integrity and judgment can’t be questioned…like Comey and company before him?

    The IG report said literally not one word about Mueller and his investigation, since that wasn’t within its scope. So, maybe you could explain how it should affect our opinion in this matter. It clearly has affected yours, in some magical way.

  16. Deathcar2000 says:

    @MBunge: w”Well in that case let’s shut down all investigations and issue pardons to all people incarcerated by the FBI. Then as soon as we shutter the all The FBI offices everything should be back to normal. With the investigating arm of the Democratic Party no longer retaining any foot hold we let citizens and of course The Trump self regulate their behavior. Man we are living in the golden age!

    MBunge is ATIFA strong ✊! Right on man, down with the government.

  17. CSK says:

    FWIW, Manafort is incarcerated at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia. He is designated a VIP inmate.

    The Yelp reviews of this place are hilarious, particularly the one that claims NNRJ is better than some hotels in the Ukraine, but the reviewer is unhappy that his good friend Don can’t get through to him.

  18. HarvardLaw92 says:

    On the one level, it would seem to remove 5th Amendment protections, thus actually making it easier to compel testimony that would hurt President Trump.

    Without getting into the technicalities, it does …

    On another, though, self-serving pardons during an ongoing investigation of the person granting the pardons would seem to be classic obstruction of justice.

    It is …

  19. CSK says:


    This is what is known as being between a rock and a hard place. So…what will Trump do?

  20. @CSK:

    Yea I was somewhat surprised to learn that he was taken so far away from D.C. This is going to make it doubly difficult for his attorneys to prepare for trial.

  21. Timothy Watson says:

    @CSK: Northern Neck Regional Jail was where (one-time accused terrorist) Sami Al-Arian was held when he refused to comply with a court subpoena. Other terrorism suspects have also been held there.

  22. Mikey says:

    @NW Steve: Dear Leader Trump tweeted out that they had something to do with each other, so Bungle and the rest of the bootlickers are pushing that line.

  23. teve tory says:

    my bolding:

    Donald J. Trump

    Verified account

    Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump
    My supporters are the smartest, strongest, most hard working and most loyal that we have seen in our countries history. It is a beautiful thing to watch as we win elections and gather support from all over the country. As we get stronger, so does our country. Best numbers ever!

    6:12 AM – 16 Jun 2018

  24. Mikey says:

    @teve tory: He means “countries” as in “America and Russia.”

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    …man of honor whose integrity and judgment can’t be questioned.

    Unlike your boyfriend Pud who called for the assassination of his opponent in the US Presidential election.
    “I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. They should disarm. I think they should disarm immediately, what do you think, yes?,”
    “Take their guns away, let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away, okay. It will be very dangerous.”

    And your boyfriends new special guy who has the blood of North Korean Citizens on his hands.
    North Korea executions under Kim Jong Un

    You can be proud Bungles. You support a sexual pervert and a murderer!

  26. CSK says:


    Really? I thought he meant America and North Korea.

  27. CSK says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    I notice they have a contract to take federal prisoners.

  28. teve tory says:

    @Mikey: 😛

  29. teve tory says:

    ‘Crimea is ours, Trump is ours!’ Russian state TV celebrates president standing up for Putin at G7

    A news program on Russia’s state television network celebrated this week after seeing a report about President Donald Trump standing up for Russian interests at last week’s G7 meeting in Quebec.

    Julia Davis, who runs the Russian Media Monitor website, reports via Twitter that Russian TV show host Olga Skabeeva and her colleagues this week were very happy to see a report from BuzzFeed News about President Donald Trump telling G7 leaders that Russia should be allowed to annex Crimea on the basis that the majority of people in that province speak Russian.

    The argument that Crimea should belong to Russia because most of its citizens speak Russian is an argument that has been frequently used by Putin as a justification for its annexation.

    What’s more, Trump reportedly asked the G7 leaders why they were so insistent on standing up for Ukraine, which he described as “one of the most corrupt countries in the world.”

    Skabeeva and co-host Evgeny Popov relayed this news excitedly to their audience, and they clearly approved of Trump’s actions.

    “Krym nash, Trump nash!” Skabeeva says jubilantly at the end of the show, which in English translates to “Crimea is ours, Trump is ours!”

  30. gVOR08 says:

    IIRC along with the Comey IG report, there was mention of a separate, parallel investigation into leaks from the FBI. The serious leaking seemed to be from agents in NY to Giuliani. Some of his buddies, if not Giuliani himself, may be headed for trouble.

  31. HarvardLaw92 says:


    My take is that it depends on the timing. If he’s inclined to issue pardons – and I maintain that he’s an abject fool if he does – he’d likely wait until after the midterms to do so to try to minimize the political impact on Republican reelection campaigns. Doing it before then puts congressional Republicans into a can’t win scenario – they either denounce him and piss off his base, or they look the other way and piss off everybody else. The attack ads write themselves …

    But he runs the very real risk of being too late if he waits. To be honest, they’ve been late from the start, and with Moron Giuliani now involved, it’s going to go downhill fast(er). This was always a no win scenario for Trump – as I said on a different thread, the dumbest thing he ever did was run for the presidency. A house of cards set of business arrangements like he has wouldn’t survive the level of scrutiny a president is subjected to if the Luccheses were organizing it, and they’re smart as hell.

    With the Trump shitshow running it, a 1L and a couple of retired cops could make the case. He’s either toast politically or he’s toast legally.

    Probably both …

  32. CSK says:


    Thanks. I agree. But if we work from the premise that he never expected to win the election, that it was just an attempt to improve his brand, a la Herman Cain, then running for the presidency does make sense from his standpoint. If he’d lost–as he expected–none of this would have transpired.

  33. An Interested Party says:

    The desperation is really starting to show…the question is, what will Republicans do once all the dirty laundry is revealed? Will they continue to stand by someone who has probably committed treason? Some of their ideological ancestors did commit treason for “state’s rights”…but treason to help Russia? A little different there…

  34. CSK says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    According to an article at the CNN website, the D.C. lock-up was considered too dangerous.

  35. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08: Read this whole thread. It expands a great deal on what you heard.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: If it’s too dangerous, maybe they should just shut it down? Or is it only too dangerous for rich pampered white people who are used to getting away with all kinds of illegal activity?

  37. CSK says:


    I think it may just possibly be the latter. Alhough, according to the WaPo, he’s staying in the same section of the prison that Chris Brown and Michael Vick did while awaiting their trials. So perhaps it’s fame and money.

  38. de stijl says:

    Have Rudy’s skills and expertise degraded this badly since he was a US Attorney, or was he then coasting on competent and professional staff in his office?

  39. teve tory says:

    Seen on twitter: “MAGA: Manafort’s Ass Got Arrested.”