WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he’s never discussed pardoning his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but says it’s “not off the table.”
In an interview with the New York Post on Wednesday, Trump asked rhetorically: “Why would I take it off the table?”
Prosecutors have accused Manafort of repeatedly lying to them and violating his agreement to tell all in return for a lighter sentence.
There also are new questions about what Manafort knows and what prosecutors say he might be attempting to conceal as they probe Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates in the campaign.
Meanwhile, Manafort’s lawyers have been briefing Trump’s attorneys on what their client has told investigators. The arrangement could give Trump ammunition in his fight against special counsel Robert Mueller.
The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee said a Manafort pardon would be a “blatant and unacceptable abuse of power.”
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia says in a tweet that the presidential pardon power is not a “personal tool” that the president can use to protect “himself and his friends.”