Ever since the investigation of President Trump’s possible connections to Russia began in the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, one question has repeatedly been raised: Will Trump pardon any associates who may be charged with collusion during the 2016 campaign? And if so, how might that impact the case Mueller and his team are building?
Apparently that very question has also been on Mueller’s mind. But he may be on the verge of finding a way around Trump’s potential attempts to assure that no one testifies against him.
According to Bloomberg, Mueller recently hired Michael Dreeben, a career government attorney who has argued before the Supreme Court more than 100 times. Dreeben, according to Bloomberg:
“Has been researching past pardons and determining what, if any, limits exist, according to a person familiar with the matter. Dreeben’s broader brief is to make sure the special counsel’s prosecutorial moves are legally airtight. That could include anything from strategizing on novel interpretations of criminal law to making sure the recent search warrant on ex-campaign adviser Paul Manafort’s home would stand up to an appeal.”
In other words, Dreeben is making sure every I is dotted and every T crossed. He’s what can best be called a detail man, and his efforts could forestall Trump’s plans to pardon others who may have critical information Mueller’s team plans to use as the basis of their case.
While it has long been established that a president can indeed issue pardons, the legal landscape is unclear on whether or not a sitting head of state can preemptively pardon campaign workers, family, or even, in desperation, himself. Such a case might have to be heard before the Supreme Court for clarification, and that’s where Dreeben, with his experience as deputy solicitor general, comes into play.
Dreeben also comes highly recommended by others in the legal profession. Kathryn Ruemmler of Latham & Watkins LLP, commented:
“He’s seen every criminal case of any consequence in the last 20 years. If you wanted to do a no-knock warrant, he’d be a great guy to consult with to determine if you were exposing yourself.”
And if you wanted to make sure a president didn’t try to derail your investigation as it starts to gain steam, Dreeben and Mueller might just be able to make both legal and American history as they find a way to assure that Trump isn’t able to pardon his way out of the corner he’s painted himself into.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org