The Possibilities of Trump's Pardons

Legal question: In a future scenario, if Trump were to pardon Manafort, would it be possible for prosecutors to charge Manafort with foreign lobbying and money laundering–the two charges they dropped as part of Manafort’s plea deal in Washington D.C.? Presumably, they have evidence of these crimes and simply agreed not to prosecute them as part of a deal, but could they prosecute them in a post-pardon scenario?

Same question in the Virginia trial. Remember those 3 felony charges on which the jury couldn’t reach a verdict? Prosecution so far has chosen not to re-try those, but could they drag a pardoned Manafort back to court on those charges?

Wondering just how magical a Trump pardon would be for Manafort in the end. And whether holding back on prosecuting certain crimes is a valid strategy in cases (Manafort, Stone) where Trump might be expected to issue pardons.


For federal charges, the vulnerability to other crimes would depend on how the pardon was phrased. From the Wikipedia article “Pardon of Richard Nixon”:

The pardon of Richard Nixon (Proclamation 4311 [Wikisource has information on “Proclamation 4311”]) on September 8, 1974, by President Gerald Ford granted Nixon, Ford’s predecessor as president, a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he might have committed against the United States while president.

If the Special Counsel collected sufficient evidence to justify state-level criminal charges in New York, Virginia, or other places where illegal actions were taken, a blanket federal pardon would not prevent a state’s Attorney General from pursuing charges, whether already referred or taken up after the pardon. These Manafort charges not previously convicted would face an easier path, since they wouldn’t have the “double jeopardy” issue litigated.

Great question @madison - got to dust off my law degree :exploding_head:

He can issue a blanket pardon, which covers all felonies prior to the pardon. Liberals have however weaponized several state prosecutor offices as well, so they’d likely find a state crime to hang on him in retaliation.

My understanding is, Presidential pardons don’t have to be detailed or explicit. Some post-Civil War pardons were so general they didn’t even name individuals. Ford pardoned Nixon for any and all crimes he might have committed any time during his Presidency. Trump could simply pardon Manafort for all crimes, and that would be that…

…on a FEDERAL level. Now, if state prosecutors want to try Manafort on racketeering charges, well, that’s a different thing. And it’s probably why Cohen refused to sign a witness agreement – if he did, he’d have had to confess to all wrongdoing to get any kind of deal, and some of that wrongdoing would have opened him up to state charges. And probably would have implicated his father in law, too.


Good one. We have more comedians joining every day.

The President cannot pardon anyone for a state-level crime, only for a federal one.

Now that you got a needless personal attack out of the way, explain where I went wrong in my post.

Interestingly libs always mention New York in terms of going after Trump associates for state crimes if he pardons them federally but apparently, they can’t do that.


What impact does a pardon have on state crimes?

A president can’t pardon state crimes directly, but some states would observe the effect of pardon on a state crime where there is both state and federal jurisdiction.

New York is one of those states. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has asked the state legislature to change that provision, to allow the state to prosecute someone for a state crime even if Trump granted a pardon for a federal crime.

“Closing the loophole would ensure that individuals who broke New York law could not evade accountability for any state crimes as a result of a strategically-timed pardon by the president,” she said.

The states should have the option to charge for crimes involving there state, right? If you are for law and order, then you should hope NY closes loopholes so that ANY can be charged for a state crime, even if the feds don’t or pardon.

Cant change it to go after Trump pardons sorry. See bill of attainder and ex post facto

Would ex post facto even be applicable here? That law claims you can’t make something a crime, that wasn’t a crime and prosecute for it retroactively.

If a person commutes a crime that was both state and federal, ex post facto would not apply. It was already a crime when the person committed it.


Ex post facto is most typically used to refer to a criminal statute that punishes actions retroactively, thereby criminalizing conduct that was legal when originally performed. Two clauses in the United States Constitution prohibit ex post facto laws:

  1. Art 1, § 9
  2. This prohibits Congress from passing any laws which apply ex post facto .
  3. Art. 1 § 10.
  4. This prohibits the states from passing any laws which apply ex post facto .


This is not limited to substantive changes in the content and criteria of legal rules. Restrictions on the extent of favorable discretion that a court can exercise are within the ex post facto prohibition, too.

Obviously the President isn’t the court, but I think it could be applicable. Especially when we look at the intent of the constitutional provision.


The Constitution protects individuals by denying to the Congress or state legislatures the power to punish people by passing ex post facto laws.

Be pretty hard to argue that changing it to explicitly allow punishment against certain individuals after the fact wouldn’t fit that definition pretty closely.

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Yes Mueller would work with NY as the left uses the 9th circuit.

Justice certainly isn’t blind and it certainly biased in NY and California.

Why did the leftists recently file a lawsuit against Trump in the 9th circuit?

  1. They are likely to get an injection to temporarily halt.
  2. They are likely to win. Temporarily.
  3. The judges sitting on the 9th circuit is biased.

And why is it that after 2 years of investigations, thy have found squat, nothing , nada linking Trump to anything. Yet here we are advocating for more money wasted.

And of course they will attempt to prevent Trump from issuing pardons by handing off low level crimes to the state level.

Buckle up. the leftists have fired the first shots and it will be returned when the next idiot from the left that promises the most freebies without a clue as to how to pay for it takes office.

Paybacks are hell, but it’s how the left prefers to do business.