Paul Manafort was recently convicted on eight criminal counts, including tax evasion. He avoided another 10 charges and a mistrial was declared for those. Manafort’s convictions were a huge win for special counsel Robert Mueller, who is currently investigating the Trump campaign for their potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 General Election.
Manafort may or may not face conviction for the remaining 10 charges against him, but regardless of how many convictions he ends up facing, it is within Trump’s power to make those convictions ostensibly go away.
As of this time, Trump has made no statement indicating he is considering a pardon for Manafort.
However, Politico is now reporting that Trump is expected to go “rogue” in the near future to offer a full pardon to his ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
It was stated in the report that eight sources, who are all current or were former administration officials, say that Trump’s usage of the word “brave” to describe Paul Manafort indicate a forthcoming pardon from the president.
One former campaign official characterized the president’s language as being glaringly preemptive.
“Trump is setting it up. He’s referring to the investigation as a ‘witch hunt’ and saying this never would have happened to an aide to Hillary Clinton.”
While the accuracy of the report from Politico remains to be seen, it should be noted that Donald Trump has already handed out a number of pardons for extremely controversial convicts. In particular, the former Sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, Joe Arpaio, was pardoned by Donald Trump exactly one year ago today.
Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court after it was discovered he wrongfully imprisoned people in the Maricopa County jail who had no charges filed against him.
At this time, the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, has stated he doesn’t believe Trump will pardon Manafort. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also recently stated that plans to pardon Paul Manafort had not been discussed “inside the White House.”
In all, Robert Mueller has charged four Trump campaign and administration officials in his ongoing investigation.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor; Rick Gates, a former campaign adviser; Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s previous attorney; and Paul Manafort, Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman, have all felt the wrath of Mueller’s relentless probe into 2016 election meddling by Russia.
All those charged, with the exception of Manafort, went on to plead guilty to the charges filed against them. Paul Manafort is thus far the only person charged by Mueller in this investigation who went to trial.
Trump’s decision to pardon or not pardon Manafort comes less than three months before the midterm elections. Many Republicans believe Trump pardoning Manafort before such a crucial election would have devastating effects on the GOP’s current majority in the United States House of Representatives, as well as the U.S. Senate.