President Donald Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani have talked about the potential political repercussions of pardoning former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Giuliani told the Times that pardoning Manafort, who on Tuesday was found guilty on eight of 18 financial crimes, was not something the President was considering.
However, the paper reported that Giuliani said in an interview that Trump thought Manafort had not been treated well.
“Yesterday’s plea and Manafort’s conviction, none of it had to do with collusion, none of it has to do with obstruction,” Giuliani said, according to The New York Times. “He really thinks Manafort has been horribly treated.”
Manafort, facing up to 80 years in prison, was found guilty on five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud.
When asked by Fox News Wednesday about whether he was considering pardoning Manafort, Trump skirted the question.
“I have great respect for what he’s done in terms of what he’s gone through,” he said, before going on to mention other Republicans Manafort had worked for.
He added that he believes Manafort is being unfairly punished for what he thinks are common activities.
“And I would say what he did, some of the charges they threw against him, every consultant, every lobbyist in Washington probably does,” Trump said. “If you look at Hillary Clinton’s person, you take a look at the people that worked for Hillary Clinton, I mean look at the crimes that Clinton did, with the emails and she deletes 33,000 emails after she gets a subpoena from Congress and this Justice Department does nothing about it? And all of the other crimes that they’ve done.”
The trial was the first major test in court for special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Mueller is leading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election and whether there was any collusion with Trump’s campaign. However, the initial charges against Manafort were unrelated to the campaign. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion.
Manafort has been in jail since June, and faces additional criminal charges in federal court in Washington. Those charges pertain to alleged failure to register his foreign lobbying as well as an alleged money laundering conspiracy related to his Ukrainian political work.