Trump’s pardon power

President Donald Trump has pardons on his mind – at least when Sylvester Stallone calls.

What more he might ponder in this area may rank among the most consequential decisions of this phase of his presidency.

Trump has already used his two highest-profile pardons– of Joe Arpaio, and then of Scooter Libby – to send signals about loyalty, and about special counsel probes that stray from their original purpose.

He’s using tweets now to convey loyalty to Michael Cohen in a matter that grew out of – and appears far away from – the special counsel investigation that haunts his presidency.

Whether Trump fires Rod Rosenstein and whether he talks to Robert Mueller’s team are very big deals, of course. But bigger still could be whether the likes of Cohen and Paul Manafortthink they might have reasons to expect presidential forgiveness in their futures.

“It’s hard to win elections when you have interference in elections,” Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos yesterday.

But it may also be hard to win elections, if you’re focused on interference.

Ideally, governments, not parties after all, protect the integrity of campaigns and voting booths.

Over the weekend, Democratic lawmakers and activists seemed split about their party’s lawsuit against the Trump campaign and Russian government over the hack of DNC computer systems in 2016.

Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party wrote to ABC News applauding the decision, “Our base and independents all want to see fairness in our elections and accountability.”

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