A new Politico report claims that White House Aides expect Donald Trump pardon Paul Manafort.
President Donald Trump’s lawyers and a cadre of informal White House advisers claim they’ve convinced him not to pardon Paul Manafort — but White House officials expect the president to do it anyway.
The president’s characterization of his former campaign chairman as a victim and “brave man” is being read by aides as a signal that Trump wants to use his unilateral authority to issue pardons to absolve Manafort, according to eight current and former administration officials and outside advisers.
“Trump is setting it up. He’s referring to the investigation as a ‘witch hunt’ and saying this never would have happened to an aide to Hillary Clinton,” said one former campaign official.
Three senior administration aides said the president has not expressed to them directly any immediate intention of pardoning Manafort, who was convicted earlier this week on eight counts of felony tax evasion and bank fraud. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, told The Washington Post on Thursday that the president had agreed not to pardon Manafort, who faces a second trial on lobbying violations in Washington next month, until after the midterms if at all. Giuliani did not return a call for comment.
Newt Gingrich also chimed in on the report
Members of the president’s informal group of outside advisers, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have stepped in over the past few weeks to caution the president against exonerating Manafort before the midterms.
“He certainly does not need to do it. The things Manafort has been convicted of have nothing to do with Trump,” Gingrich told POLITICO. “The president thinks Manafort’s biggest crime was running the Trump campaign. If he had run the Clinton campaign, then he would have gotten immunity and never would have had any problems.”
White House Counsel Don McGahn is also against the pardon of Paul Manafort although Trump and McGahn are yet to have discussed it.