ABC Twists Trump Lawyer’s Words, Claim Pardons Are ‘Not off the Table’

On Sunday, Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for President Trump, appeared on ABC’s This Week to discuss the latest developments in the Russia story, particularly those involving the President’s son and son-in-law. Towards the end of the interview, Jon Karl pressed Sekulow about the concerns of presidential pardons, citing the worries of Senate Democrat Mark Warner. But no matter how many times Sekulow explained that he didn’t know the President’s position on the question, Karl kept insisting he was saying Trump was seriously thinking about it.

One last question. Senator Warner says he is concern that the President will issue pardons to the key figures in this investigation,” Karl said, prefacing his concern. “Will the President rule out giving pardons to people like Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, any others that are in this investigation?

Sekulow clearly explained that he had “not had the conversation with the President about any of that.” “But I have not had that conversation with the President on that or what he could or would not do,” he continued, also noting that it was a power granted to the presidency. “But I have not had those conversations, so I couldn’t speculate on that.

Despite the fact that Sekulow stated three times that he didn’t know where the President stood on the matter of pardons, Karl persisted. “So, pardoning the key figures in this investigation is not off the table? It's something he might do,” he continued to assert.

A frustrated Sekulow again attempted to set the record straight:

I just told you, no-- I can’t say that. The President told me, in conversations that I have had with him about a variety of issues. But we have not talked about pardoning individuals in this at all. You're asking me to speculate on something I cannot speculate on.

After Sekulow’s statement there, Karl then ended the interview and brought on Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, one of the people investigating the President. With Schiff on set with Karl, the first topic the ABC host wanted to talk about was his twisting of the words of Trump’s lawyer.

Congressman Schiff, you’ve just heard the issue of pardons—he is not ruling out that the President could issue pardons to the key figures in this investigation,” he declared. Would that put an end to this, if they President suddenly issued blanket pardons to the key figures?” Schiff was more than happy to play along with Karl’s inaccurate assertions.

What made Karl’s actions here even more disturbing was the fact that he was recently elected to be the president of the White House Correspondents Association. So, if his interview with Jay Sekulow is any indication of how he’s going to run the WHCA: it doesn’t bode well.

In addition to Karl’s manipulation of Sekulow’s words, on Sunday’s Good Morning America, the network touted their work in manipulating the public’s interpretation of the Russia investigation. They hyped a recently released poll that noted 67 percent of people thought “members of [Trump’s] campaign intentionally helped” the Russians meddle in the 2016 presidential election. The poll itself was heavily weighted with Democrats, 35 versus 23 percent Republican. The rest were independents.

Transcript below:

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ABC
This Week
July 16, 2017
9:09:11 AM Eastern

(…)

JON KARL: One last question. Senator Warner says he is concern that the President will issue pardons to the key figures in this investigation. Will the President rule out giving pardons to people like Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, any others that are in this investigation?

JAY SEKULOW: I have not had the conversation with the President about any of that. And I wouldn't share it if I did because of the attorney-client privilege. But I have not had that conversation with the President on that or what he could or would not do. He can pardon, individuals, because the founders of our country put that in the United States Constitution: the power to pardon. But I have not had those conversations, so I couldn’t speculate on that.

KARL: So, pardoning the key figures in this investigation is not off the table? It's something he might do?

SEKULOW: I just told you, no-- I can’t say that. The President told me, in conversations that I have had with him about a variety of issues. But we have not talked about pardoning individuals in this at all. You're asking me to speculate on something I cannot speculate on.

KARL: All right, Jay Sekulow of the President's legal team, thank you for joining us.

SEKULOW: Thanks for having me, Jon.

KARL: I'm joined now by Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman Schiff, you’ve just heard the issue of pardons—he is not ruling out that the President could issue pardons to the key figures in this investigation. Would that put an end to this, if they President suddenly issued blanket pardons to the key figures?

ADAM SCHIFF: It wouldn't put an end to it. Obviously, it would be deeply disturbing. And I think the impressions the country, certainly, would get from that is the President was trying to shield people from liability for telling the truth about what happened in the Russia investigation or Russian contacts.

(…)

CyberAlerts Foreign Policy Russia Conspiracy Theories Political Scandals ABC This Week Fake News Video Jon Karl Adam Schiff Donald Trump Jay Sekulow