Nets Push Trump Family Pardon Speculation, Ignored Obama Helping Terrorist

For two evenings now, all three of the broadcast networks have peddled unsubstantiated claims from anonymous sources claiming President Trump talking about issuing pardons to himself and his adult children. Both ABC and CBS made sure to make comparisons to President Richard Nixon, with the former straight-up lying about the source of the speculation and claiming it came from the President himself.

Meanwhile, none of these networks cared when President Obama commuted the sentence of unrepentant, Puerto Rican terrorist Oscar Lopez-Rivera. They also praised the commutation of Chelsea Manning, who leaked sensitive U.S. intelligence that ended up in the hands of Osama bin Laden.

Suggestions that the President was looking to pardon his adult children and himself stemmed from a Tuesday New York Times report. In the first paragraph, the paper admits the claims came from “two people briefed on the matter,” which was code for ‘anonymous sources.’

But on ABC’s World News Tonight Wednesday, chief White House correspondent Jon Karl lied to viewers and claimed Trump was the source of the reporting:

The President also suggested he’s concerned he may be prosecuted after leaving office. Just as his allies are talking about preemptive pardons for members of the Trump family and even Trump himself. It’s unclear if he could pardon himself, but in the past, he has said he has the power to do it.

Of course, he also had to compare Trump’s supposed contemplation of a “preemptive pardon” on his family to Nixon. “Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while he was president, even though Nixon hadn’t been charged with anything,” he said.

It was a mixed bag over on CBS Evening News in terms of admitting where the sourcing came from. In the opening tease, anchor Norah O’Donnell claimed, without evidence, “Pardoning the President’s kids? Why President Trump and his top allies believe Ivanka, Jared, Don Jr., and Eric, could need what’s being called a preemptive pardon.”

In the report by White House correspondent Ben Tracy however, CBS then noted “the White House is also dodging questions about reports that President Trump is considering preemptive pardons…”

After claiming Trump was being “egged on by his Fox News supporters,” Tracy accused Trump’s family of crimes:

But none of his children has been charged with any crime, so it’s not clear why Ivanka Trump would need a pardon. Donald Trump Jr. was investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for contact with Russians during the 2016 campaign. And Kushner provided false information while applying for his security clearance. But granting preemptive pardons is very rare.

Don Jr. was investigated during the highly corrupt Russia probe and was not charged with any crime. And Kushner had long ago cleared up the issues with his security clearance.

Over on NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Kristen Welker was more honest about where the “reports” came from. “Multiple sources familiar with the matter say the President has discussed possible pre-emptive pardons, which are legal, for some of his adult children and other close associates, like Rudy Giuliani, who has denied having such discussions,” she said.

She also brought up a recently unsealed and heavily redacted court filing against an unknown person who allegedly tried to get a pardon by bribing the White House with a political donation.

While all three of the networks pounced on the case Tuesday evening, it was only Welker who included an update on Wednesday:

And while it is not clear who is involved, since those documents are heavily redacted, the Justice Department saying the probe has never involved any government officials. The president has called the whole thing fake news.

Again, these were the same networks who didn’t bat an eye at Obama commuting the sentence of an unrepentant terrorist. But they were aghast at unsubstantiated claims of pardons being discussed.

The transcripts are below, click “expand” to read:

ABC’s World News Tonight
December 2, 2020
6:42:36 p.m. Eastern

(…)

JON KARL: The President also suggested he’s concerned he may be prosecuted after leaving office. Just as his allies are talking about preemptive pardons for members of the Trump family and even Trump himself. It’s unclear if he could pardon himself, but in the past, he has said he has the power to do it.

(…)

[Cuts back to live]

DAVID MUIR: And Jon, so much talk about this, about whether the President will pardon his own children or himself and can he actually issue a preemptive pardon?

KARL: Well, the short answer is yes, in fact, David, it has been done before. Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while he was president, even though Nixon hadn’t been charged with anything.

But remember, a presidential pardon only applies to federal crimes. It does not protect someone from state or local prosecutions. And as for whether or not the President can pardon himself, that is very much undetermined. Unclear if he can do that.

(…)

CBS Evening News
December 2, 2020
6:30:47 p.m. Eastern [Opening tease]

NORAH O’DONNELL: Pardoning the President’s kids? Why President Trump and his top allies believe Ivanka, Jared, Don Jr., and Eric, could need what’s being called a preemptive pardon.

(…)

6:39:43 p.m. Eastern

BEN TRACY: And the White House is also dodging questions about reports that President Trump is considering preemptive pardons for three of his adult children and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, egged on by his Fox News supporters.

SEAN HANNITY: Why wouldn’t he just pardon himself and his family on the way out the door?

TRACY: But none of his children has been charged with any crime, so it’s not clear why Ivanka Trump would need a pardon. Donald Trump Jr. was investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for contact with Russians during the 2016 campaign. And Kushner provided false information while applying for his security clearance. But granting preemptive pardons is very rare.

JEFF CROUCH (asst. professor, American University): But legally, there’s no problem with granting a preemptive pardon. The famous Nixon pardon was a preemptive pardon. Nixon had not been formally charged with any crimes yet.

(…)

NBC Nightly News
December 2, 2020
7:11:46 p.m. Eastern

(…)

KRISTEN WELKER: The White House is also downplaying reports the President is increasingly focused on pardons. Multiple sources familiar with the matter say the President has discussed possible pre-emptive pardons, which are legal, for some of his adult children and other close associates, like Rudy Giuliani, who has denied having such discussions.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY: I’ve heard no mention of any pardons and any conversations I’ve had in the White House.

WELKER: Also looming large, court documents showing federal investigators are looking into whether someone offered a political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon.

And while it is not clear who is involved, since those documents are heavily redacted, the Justice Department saying the probe has never involved any government officials. The president has called the whole thing fake news.

(…)

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