- Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s lead defence attorney in the Russia investigation, said on Friday night that Trump would not pardon anyone involved in the probe while it is ongoing.
- Hours earlier, following news that a federal judge sent Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort to jail, Giuliani hinted that “things might get cleaned up” in the Russia investigation “with some presidential pardons.”
- Trump has thrown the weight of his pardon power around in recent weeks, but has not yet moved to offer clemency to anyone criminally charged in the Russia probe.
Rudy Giuliani insists that President Donald Trump would not pardon anyone in the Russia investigation while it is ongoing.
Giuliani, who works as Trump’s lead defence attorney in the probe, made that assertion during a CNN interview with Chris Cuomo on Friday night. It was an apparent shift from his comments just hours earlier, in which he said things “might get cleaned up” in the Russia probe “with some presidential pardons.”
Asked why he brought up pardons earlier in the day, Giuliani said, “because I was asked a question.”
Trump has thrown the weight of his pardon power around in recent weeks, granting clemency to a handful of people and insisting that he can pardon himself. Trump is a subject in the obstruction of justice portion of the Russia probe that the special counsel Robert Mueller is overseeing, but he has not been charged with a crime.
The president has not yet taken action on behalf of anyone criminally charged in the Russia probe.
“Let me make it clear right now, he’s not going to pardon anybody in this investigation, but he is not, obviously, going to give up his right to pardon if a miscarriage of justice is presented to him after the investigation,” Giuliani said on CNN.
Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey confirmed Giuliani’s comments on Friday night, and reported that Giuliani said he advised Trump against issuing pardons right now.
During his CNN interview, the president’s lawyer then went a step further, suggesting how necessary it is for Trump to avoid openly talking about pardons related to the Russia matter: “He might as well give up being president if he says that,” Giuliani said.
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