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Joel Cohen Joel Cohen

The Paul Manafort case and the pardon granted him by President Donald Trump before leaving the White House raised valid and important questions. Principal among them: Was there a deal? That is, was Manafort promised a pardon so long as he didn’t “give up” the president in a bad way?

If that occurred—a quid pro quo in exchange for effective silence or even false testimony—it would have been a crime. Even though the pardon power is unrestricted in the Constitution, a president simply can’t promise a pardon in exchange for silence or false testimony.

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