BREAKING: Rudy Giuliani says that Trump asked him about potentially pardoning Paul Manafort weeks ago.— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) August 23, 2018
Manafort was convicted by 12 unbiased American jurors of committing 8 crimes. Why the HELL would anyone pardon this man?
Manafort pardon = Mass protest!
President Donald Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has made a habit of contradicting the usual line taken by the Trump administration over key controversies.
And he has done it again — this time over the much discussed possible pardon of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had just insisted there was “no discussion” on pardoning Manafort, when, around the same time, Giuliani stated the opposite.
The former New York mayor, who is on a golfing vacation in Scotland, said after Trump pardoned Scooter Libby, Dinesh D’Souza, and Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence was fought against by Kim Kardashian, he decided to get an answer on whether the POTUS was willing to do the same for his cronies embroiled in the Russian investigation, headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. (Trump’s disdain for the investigation is hidden from no one.)
According to Giuliani, the two discussed the matter in early June.
“I decided: Let’s go get an answer,” Giuliani said in a phone interview with Huff Post.
“Paul Manafort is a good man. ... It doesn’t involve me, but I still feel - you know, it’s a very sad thing that happened,” Trump said. “This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This started as Russian collusion; this has absolutely nothing to do - this is a witch hunt and it’s a disgrace.”
Giuliani, in an interview with the New York Daily News, said he held the same sympathies for Manafort as Trump.
“It's a white collar crime, who the heck is in jeopardy, the American public? I have as much sympathy for Manafort as the President does,” he said.
“He has the power to do it. (Manafort) is hardly a menace to society.”
When Giuliani asked Trump of the Manafort Pardon — he was not convicted at the time — the same questions were being asked about the POTUS pardoning former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Other Trump allies that have pleaded guilty in the Russian investigation are former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and Trump campaign aide Rick Gates.
Giuliani claimed it was a “general meeting” in which discussed Manafort’s trial but not exclusively.
Giuliani, according to The Washington Post, acknowledged pardoning anyone who is a witness to the Mueller probe would not be wise because Mueller is also looking into Trump’s own candor and obstruction of justice charges with regards to the Russian investigation.
“We sat him down and said you’re not considering these other pardons with anybody involved in the investigation. He said yes, absolutely, I understand,” Giuliani said. “The real concern is whether Mueller would turn any pardon into an obstruction charge.”
After Giuliani’s comments Sanders also changed tune on her previous statement, claiming she meant the pardon was not under discussion “in the White House.”
“This pardon is not something being discussed in the White House and the president has not made a decision on pardoning Paul Manafort or anyone else,” she said in a statement.
While Trump can legally pardon his former campaign chair, his administration officials have reportedly strongly opposed the idea including Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, White House counsel Donald F. McGahn and attorney Emmet T. Flood.
“What does it accomplish? You pardon him, it doesn’t get rid of the Mueller probe, it causes you more headaches, he still has another trial, you have more Republicans coming after you,” said one senior White House official.
The West Wing is reportedly growing increasingly wary of Giuliani.
However, Trump has lambasted Manafort’s apparent “mistreatment” and publicly praised him for not breaking like Cohen, who recently released a surreptitiously recorded tape of Trump an him discussing paying hush money to former playboy model Karen McDougal.
I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” - make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
Giuliani also echoed Trump’s “concern.”
“He feels Manafort has been mistreated. Nobody in a case like this gets raided in the middle of the night, put in solitary confinement,” Giuliani said. “They tried to crack him and it didn’t work. Over the last two to three weeks, he’s expressed anger and frustration about how he’s been treated.”
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque