During a press briefing today, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked by media about a possible presidential pardon for Paul Manafort.
Everyone wants to know.
So far, President Trump has remained tight lipped so the questions fell to Sarah Sanders.
CNBC.com had more on the questions and Sanders’ answer:
President Donald Trump will “make his decision” on whether to pardon his former campaign chief Paul Manafort “when he’s ready,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday.
The comments from Sanders, delivered at the first official White House press briefing in six weeks, appear to signal a development in the president’s thinking on the issue of pardoning Manafort.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to clarify the president’s views on pardoning figures related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Trump has previously floated the possibility of issuing presidential pardons to Manafort and other associates. But just days earlier, the president told reporters outside the White House that he had not discussed pardoning Manafort, who was convicted last year on tax and bank fraud charges lodged by Mueller and is set to receive his final prison sentence this week.
“I don’t even discuss it. The only one discussing it is you,” Trump said Friday.
Trump has often criticized Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling and possible Trump-campaign collusion in the 2016 election, calling it “illegal” and a “witch hunt.”
In November, Trump said in a New York Post interview that a pardon for Manafort “was never discussed,” but added that he “wouldn’t take it off the table.”
When pressed as to why there was no statement forthcoming from Trump as to whether a pardon for Manafort has or has not been ruled out, Sanders answered:
“The president has made his position on that clear and he’ll make a decision when he’s ready.”
— The Hill (@thehill) March 13, 2019
The NY Times also weighed in on the possibility of a pardon:
Paul J. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, has been charged in New York with mortgage fraud and more than a dozen other state felonies, the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said Wednesday, an effort to ensure he will still face prison time if Mr. Trump pardons him for his federal crimes.
News of the indictment came shortly after Mr. Manafort was sentenced to his second federal prison term in two weeks; he now faces a combined sentence of more than seven years for tax and bank fraud and conspiracy in two related cases brought by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
The president has broad power to issue pardons for federal crimes, but has no such authority in state cases.
While Mr. Trump has not said he intends to pardon his former campaign chairman, he has often spoken of his power to pardon and has defended Mr. Manafort on a number of occasions, calling him a “brave man.”
Later on Wednesday, President Trump stated that although he felt bad for Paul Manafort’s situation, he had truly not thought about a pardon at this time.
Take a look:
Reporter: Will you pardon Paul Manafort?
Trump: I have not even given it a thought as of this moment. It's not something that's right now on my mind. I do feel badly for Manafort — that I can tell you https://t.co/uFfnRdJV52 pic.twitter.com/uZELbsvclh
— POLITICO (@politico) March 13, 2019
Lindsey Graham has reportedly cautioned the President against a pardon: