Once again, The New York Times appears to have been caught flatfooted by their own “report first, confirm later” style of journalism. After endless promises to “do better,” the Times is still so busy trying to get THE SCOOP that will bring down the Trump presidency that they can’t even bother to do some basic fact checking.
This time around, the Times wanted readers to believe that Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort have been offered pardons by the president in exchange for them keeping their silence. Flynn and Manafort, both of whom face charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, were supposedly the subject of discussions where Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, raised the issue of a potential pardon with their attorneys.
But Dowd says it didn’t happen. “There were no discussions,” he told the paper. “Period.”
And Trump attorney Ty Cobb says it didn’t happen. “I have only been asked about pardons by the press and have routinely responded on the record that no pardons are under discussion or under consideration at the White House.”
The White House says it didn’t happen.
Who DOES say that it happened? Well, no one. No one on the record, anyway. Just the Times and their usual cadre of anonymous sources. It’s worth noting that even there, the paper admitted that it had no idea if Trump himself had offered the pardons or if his attorneys were simply batting the idea around in a meeting. The best they can say is that sometime last year, President Trump asked about the extent of his pardoning power. We’re not sure, but maybe it’s a good thing for a president to understand the responsibilities, limits, and duties of the executive branch? No, no, everything about Trump is nefarious and treacherous and RUSSIAN!
To be fair, we wouldn’t mind it one bit if Trump pardoned both Flynn and Manafort at the end of the day. We would actually find it quite gratifying. Flynn, according to several FBI sources (including James Comey himself), was not in the least deceptive with FBI agents when it came to his conversations with Russian officials vis a vis sanctions. So why, exactly, is he being charged with that deception? As for Manafort, his crimes appear real enough, but what the hell do they have to do with the Trump campaign? If Trump were to pardon him as a middle finger to Mueller and the Democrats, well, we’d just laugh.