Liberals are spinning Trump's latest pardons as a scheme to signal his lawyers and former campaign staffers the message that they should stay loyal during the Mueller probe and he may pardon them. On his 11th Hour show on MSNBC on Thursday night, disgraced NBC anchor Brian Williams suggested Donald Trump's pardons had a "mob movie" feel. Imagine Brian saying that about Bill Clinton's pardons, or Barack Obama's.
WILLIAMS: And, Ken, this may be the stuff of a mob movie, but if you're Cohen, if you're Manafort, how were you watching this unfold on T.V. today?
VOGEL: I mean, certainly the message is being received, and we don't even have to speculate because Roger Stone actually gave an interview to, I think, Sam Stein, who was on your last segment, saying that the way he interpreted the pardon is that the President is going to take care of people who take care of him, even if they are in the crosshairs, and that`s certainly the situation for Roger Stone potentially. I mean he's speculated that he could be indicted, and you have people who have been indicted who are probably looking at that.
And there has been open speculation among people close to Paul Manafort, for instance, that he could be in for a pardon as long as he held strong, and so far he is. You see the pressure on him to flip. You see his longtime deputy Rick Gates flipping. You have to wonder. Manafort is racking up these huge legal bills, if this isn`t part of his thinking that if he doesn`t flip, there could be some relief at the end.
Could comparing the president to a mob boss in the movies be a positive thing? Last year, by the way, MSNBC touted liberal law professor Paul Butler hailing Mueller's pre-dawn raid on Robert Manafort's home as a "gangster move."
Speaking of metaphors, liberal PBS NewsHour analyst Mark Shields uncorked his take on the pardons and the Mueller probe: "Judy, this is not a dog whistle. This is a canine symphony!"