Legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein thinks President Donald Trump‘s legal strategy for dealing with Michael Cohen is reminiscent of “The Godfather,” in the way that pardons were allegedly dangled to enforce loyalty.
Bernstein was discussing recent revelatory emails between Cohen and his former lawyer Robert Costello referencing a potential presidential pardon on CNN Newsroom Thursday morning.
Host Jim Sciutto first read the following lines from the Cohen-Costello correspondence: “I spoke with Rudy. Very Very Positive. You are ‘loved’. There was never a doubt and they are in our corner. Sleep well tonight, you have friends in high places.”
Sciutto then asked the widely-celebrated journo, “Do you see an attempt to tamper with witnesses? To dangle pardons? To therefore influence the investigation–obstruct the investigation?”
To which Bernstein replied:
What you reads sounds like a little bit of Shakespeare and a lot of Mario Puzo combined. Do I see this pattern? Of course, the pattern is there. The suggestion of pardons for many people involved in the Russia investigation is out there, there’s no question about it. There’s some ambiguity in the language, but any reasonable person, I think, would conclude that the president wants these people to be under the impression that he may pardon them so that they won’t talk.
“It is a horrible thing to watch the president of the United States act like this,” Bernstein continued. “Nixon didn’t talk like this in public, it’s extraordinary.”
Bernstein went on to explicitly reference “the Mario Puzo Godfather books” and suggested the activities of the mobsters described therein might constitute “a benchmark of what we are listening here to by the president of the United States–whether it constitutes impeachable offense–whether it is actually in fact, a criminal act, or taken together they are criminal acts, we’re going to have to wait and see.”
Bernstein ended his critique with the following:
There is a matrix of a cover up in front of our very eyes. I would like to ask [former Associate White House Counsel for the Trump administration] Jim Schultz, “Is that not a reasonable inference for lay people especially to draw given on what we have seen so far?”
[Image via CNN screengrab]