WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump publicly floated the possibility that he’d pardon former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in connection with the special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller.
Trump, in an interview with the New York Post, made the dubious claim that he’d never discussed pardoning Manafort, but said he wouldn’t “take it off the table.”
Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s lawyers, previously told HuffPost that he discussed pardoning Manafort over the summer. “We both agreed that it made sense not to pardon anybody during the pendency of the investigation,” Giuliani said.
Manafort, who has been in custody since June, pleaded guilty to two charges as part of a plea agreement in September that required him to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation. Earlier this week, Mueller’s team accused Manafort of lying to investigators even after his plea deal, and asked a judge to set a sentencing date.
Manafort’s attorney, under a joint defense agreement with Trump, had been keeping Trump’s team informed about what Manafort told Mueller’s team.
Just before a jury convicted Manafort on eight tax and bank fraud charges in August, Trump hinted that he could pardon his former campaign adviser. “He happens to be a very good person,” Trump said. “And I think it’s very sad what they’ve done to Paul Manafort.”
Trump has previously tweeted that the charges against Manafort “have nothing to do” with collusion, suggested he was treated worse than Al Capone, said that the FBI was “doing a number on him,” and said that he felt “very badly” for Manafort and his family.