In a move that could have dangerous ramifications for Trump et al., Politico just broke a story reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is teaming up with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in their mutual investigations of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
While Manafort has not been charged with any wrongdoing yet, the FBI conducted a pre-dawn raid on his home in July, under the orders of Mueller’s team. According to the Politico story, both teams have been talking and recently began sharing information on financial information regarding Manafort.
Trump’s pardon last Friday of former sheriff Joe Arpaio during the height of Hurricane Harvey was seen by many as a signal to those involved in his campaign and his administration that they did not have to worry about potential prosecution. They could count on a pardon from Trump if they refused to cooperate with Mueller or even if they were convicted of a crime.
But bringing in a state attorney general changes all the ground rules. Trump’s power to grant a presidential pardon is limited to federal crimes only. He does not have the authority or the power to grant a pardon for state crimes.
The following tweet sums it up best:
My theory: Last week, Trump signaled to Manafort when Trump pardoned Arpaio. This week, Mueller may be signaling to Manafort it won't help. https://t.co/Ah4Yr5ClhR
— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) August 31, 2017
The animosity between Trump and AG Schneiderman goes back a ways. While Trump has mocked him on social media, Schneiderman also won a $25 million dollar settlement last November from Trump regarding Trump University. While Trump claimed he settled the lawsuit to “put it behind him” following the election, this is the same Donald Trump famous for saying he never settles.
By teaming up with Schneiderman, Mueller has definitely upped the ante his high stakes investigation of Donald Trump and his cohorts.