White House: No talk of pardons in Russia probe ‘at this time’

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The White House on Wednesday refused to rule out the possibility that President Trump would issue pardons to former senior aides facing charges from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read a statement from lawyer Ty Cobb saying that there has been no discussion or consideration of pardons “at this time.”

“There’s no discussion or consideration of that at this time,” Sanders told reporters. “The president has the authority to pardon individuals, but you’re asking me about a specific case in which it hasn’t been discussed.”

Sanders was responding to a New York Times report that Trump’s former lead attorney, John Dowd, floated the possibility of pardons for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn in conversations last year with their lawyers.

Dowd left the president’s personal legal team earlier this month.

Cobb is the lead attorney dealing with the Mueller probe inside the White House and said in a statement that potential pardons had not been discussed.

“I have only been asked about pardons by the press and have routinely responded on the record that no pardons are under discussion or under consideration at the White House,” Cobb said.

Jay Sekulow, another personal attorney for Trump who had been on the same team as Dowd, similarly disputed the report.

“Never during the course of my representation of the president have I had any discussions of pardons of any individual involved in this inquiry,” Sekulow told the Times.

Manafort faces a litany of financial charges pertaining to his work as a foreign lobbyist.

He maintains his innocence, but his associate, Richard Gates, pleaded guilty to some charges and is working with the special counsel.

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and is also working with the special counsel.

“As we have said pretty much every day since we’ve got here, because you guys continue to ask about this topic every single day, there was no collusion and we’re very confident in that and look forward to this process wrapping up,” Sanders said.

Updated at 3:06 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Paul Manafort Robert Mueller

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