There’s No Point in Pardoning Paul Manafort

Everyone is talking about whether Donald Trump will pardon Paul Manafort. Today, for example, the New York Times reports that Trump has discussed the idea with his lawyers:

Mr. Giuliani had said in an interview on Wednesday that he and Mr. Trump had discussed the political fallout should the president grant a pardon to Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman who was convicted of financial fraud this week, adding that one was not under consideration. Mr. Giuliani told The Washington Post earlier on Thursday that the president had asked his lawyers for their advice on pardoning Mr. Manafort, though Mr. Giuliani characterized the discussions to The New York Times as instigated by the lawyers, not the president.

I don’t get this.  My understanding is that if Manafort is pardoned, he no longer has a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. After all, he can’t be convicted of anything no matter what he says. This means he can be questioned under oath and he has to answer.

Isn’t this the worst possible position for Trump to be in? Either Manafort sings like a canary or else he risks lying, in which case he gets a brand new indictment for making false statements—which isn’t covered by the pardon. In one case, Trump is toast, and in the other the pardon did no good.

What am I getting wrong here?


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