While President Trump claims that there has never been a discussion about pardoning Paul Manafort in the past, yesterday he said that the idea is “not off the table” during an Oval Office interview.
“It was never discussed, but I wouldn’t take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table?”
He then went on to discuss special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, suggesting that Manafort, along with his former political adviser Roger Stone, and Jerome Corsi – Stone’s former associate, were all asked to tell lies.
Trump also criticized the idea of “flipping” witnesses, which is the practice of getting an individual to admit guilt and cooperate with investigators in exchange for leniency.
“If you told the truth, you go to jail,” Trump said. “You know this flipping stuff is terrible. You flip and you lie. You get… the prosecutors will tell you 99 percent of the time they can get people to flip. It’s rare that they can’t.”
Trump then continued, saying “But I had three people… Manafort, Corsi — I don’t know Corsi, but he refuses to say what they demanded. Manafort, Corsi and Roger Stone.”
“It’s actually very brave,” he said of the trio. “And I’m telling you, this is McCarthyism. We are in the McCarthy era. This is no better than McCarthy, and that was a bad situation for the country. But this is where we are, and it’s a terrible thing,”
This is based on the fact that Mueller’s team has repeatedly accused Manafort of lying to them “on a variety of subject matters.” It has now been reported that Manafort continued to brief the President’s legal team about evidence that Trump’s former campaign chairman was providing to Mueller.
Trump apparently hasn’t been very satisfied with the entire Mueller investigation, as he has repeatedly asked for the investigation to come to a close – but during the Oval Office interview, he suggested that it “can go on for the rest of [Mueller’s] life.
Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, seems to share Trump’s initial sentiment. In a text message to NBC News, Giuliani said that Mueller was treating “Manafort like he’s a terrorist, incarcerating him before trial, solitary incarceration and repeated questioning.”