— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) June 17, 2018
On Sunday, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was asked if President Donald Trump would pardon former campaign manager Paul Manafort. His answer: There won’t be clemency in the ongoing Mueller investigation because it would muddy things up, but “when its over,” it’s POTUS’ ability to do.
“Hey, he’s the president of the United States. He retains his pardon power,” Giuliani told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union. “Nobody is taking that away from him.”
Pardons have been a recurring theme in the Trump administration. Ever since the first clemency granted to former Maricopa County Sheriff JoeArpaio, critics and pundits suggested the president was flexing using his clemency power to protect political allies, and signal that he’s willing to shield subjects of the Mueller probe. Even ostensibly innocuous pardons, like that of former heavyweight champion boxer Jack Johnson, invited such analysis.
Manafort faces ongoing federal prosecution connected to his work for the Ukrainian government, and is scheduled for separate trials in D.C. (September), and Virginia (July). Charges include bank fraud, and money laundering. The case spun out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s probe into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, but none of the accusations against Manafort have anything to do with the campaign. The president and his allies have repeatedly called the probe a political “witch hunt” meant to undermine his authority. Giuliani on Sunday said the investigation was “unfair” and there was no criminality involved. Manafort’s bail was revoked on Friday after prosecutors convinced the judge in his D.C. case that he attempted witness tampering.
[Screengrab via CNN]