Trump: Manafort Pardon Is Not ‘Off The Table’

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

President Donald Trump is keeping the option available to pardon his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, as he told the New York Post in an exclusive interview.

“It was never discussed, but I wouldn’t take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table,” Trump told TheNYP, expressing his supreme dissatisfaction with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is shown in a court room sketch, during a testimony of a longtime business associate Rick Gates (not shown), on the fifth day of his trial, on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., August 6, 2018. Judge T.S. Ellis (rear C) looks on. REUTERS/Bill Hennessy

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is shown in a court room sketch, during a testimony of a longtime business associate Rick Gates (not shown), on the fifth day of his trial, on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., August 6, 2018. Judge T.S. Ellis (rear C) looks on. REUTERS/Bill Hennessy

“If you told the truth, you go to jail,” Trump said of the special counsel’s investigation. “You know, this ‘flipping’ stuff is terrible. You flip, and you lie, and you get — the prosecutors will tell you 99 percent of the time, they can get people to flip. It’s rare that they can’t.”

Trump’s comments come at a particularly fraught time for Manafort, who Mueller is accusing of lying to federal prosecutors, despite entering a plea deal with the government. Mueller’s team alleged that Manafort lied about  “a variety of subject matters” and that they were no obligation to honor the agreement struck with him.

Manafort’s lawyers conversely said their client had complied to the best of his ability with Mueller’s team and that the special counsel was not intentionally misled.

The president praised Manafort, conservative author Jerome Corsi and conservative operative Roger Stone for refusing to comply with Mueller’s team, saying, “I had three people: Manafort, Corsi – I don’t know Corsi, but he refuses to say what they demanded. It’s actually very brave.”

CHARLESTON, WV - AUGUST 21: President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Charleston Civic Center on August 21, 2018 in Charleston, West Virginia. Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for Trump and a longtime political operative, was found guilty in a Washington court today of not paying taxes on more than $16 million in income and lying to banks where he was seeking loans. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Charleston Civic Center on August 21, 2018 in Charleston, West Virginia. Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for Trump and a longtime political operative, was found guilty in a Washington court today of not paying taxes on more than $16 million in income and lying to banks where he was seeking loans. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Corsi is currently being targeted by Mueller’s team for allegedly lying to federal investigators. The conservative author, however, says he never intentionally misled anyone and was giving information to the best of his knowledge. Corsi has pledged he will not give in to pressures from Mueller.

Trump continued in an extended riff on Mueller’s tactics, accusing him of McCarthyism as he did earlier this morning on Twitter: “I’m telling you, this is McCarthyism. We are in the McCarthy era. This is no better than McCarthy. And that was a bad situation for the country. But this is where we are. And it’s a terrible thing.”

Tags : donald trump paul manafort robert mueller
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