- President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said Friday that “things might get cleaned up” in the Russia investigation “with some presidential pardons.”
- Giuliani’s comments came after the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was jailed to await trial.
- Manafort’s chances of flipping went through the roof after he was jailed, experts say, but a possible pardon most likely stands in the way of Manafort’s striking a deal to cooperate with prosecutors.
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Hours after Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign, was sent to jail to await trial, Trump’s lawyer suggested the president could clean things up in the Russia investigation by issuing presidential pardons.
“When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons,” Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now on Trump’s defence team, told the New York Daily News.
He later told a Wall Street Journal reporter, however, that Trump “will not do it, based on my advice and all our team.”
Giuliani said he had not seen evidence warranting a federal judge’s decision Friday to revoke Manafort’s bail. US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson did so after prosecutors accused Manafort and his associate of attempting to tamper with potential witnesses in the investigation.
“I don’t understand the justification for putting him in jail,” Giuliani told the Daily News. “You put a guy in jail if he’s trying to kill witnesses, not just talking to witnesses.”
The prospect of going to jail means the chances that Manafort would flip on Trump have gone through the roof, legal experts said Friday.
“Manafort did this to himself,” said Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the Justice Department. “And now he’s caught between a rock and a hard place, because he’s going to be in jail for months.”
He added: “This is a 70-year-old guy who has never seen the inside of prison. It’s one thing to intellectually wrap your mind around going to jail for a decade. It’s another thing to stare that square in the eye, which is what Manafort’s doing tonight.”
Trump, meanwhile, has alternated between distancing himself from Manafort and sympathizing with him.
After saying Manafort worked on the campaign for only 49 days (Manafort was there from March to August 2016), Trump said that he felt bad for his former campaign chairman and that Manafort had been treated unfairly. Trump also refused to rule out pardoning Manafort and other associates.
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