White House aides think Trump will pardon Manafort: report

White House aides think Trump will pardon Manafort: report

Lawyers for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ MORE and White House advisers reportedly think Trump will pardon his former campaign chairman, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTrump has publicly criticized Russia probe more than 1,100 times: NY Times Judge orders Stone to appear in court after he shared photo of her with crosshairs Roger Stone shares, quickly deletes Instagram photo of federal judge on his case MORE, despite being given repeated warnings not to do so. 

Politico reported on Friday that eight current and former administration officials and outside advisers believe Trump's defense of Manafort this week as a "brave man" suggests that the president plans to absolve Manafort.

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Manafort was convicted on eight charges of bank and tax fraud on Tuesday. 

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

"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 ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders campaign reports raising M in less than a day The Memo: Bernie Sanders’s WH launch sharpens ‘socialist’ question Roger Stone invokes gag order in new fundraiser MORE,” one former campaign official told the news outlet. 

The report comes amid increasing speculation over whether the president would pardon his former campaign chairman.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said the president had asked for advice on whether to pardon Manafort while his trial was ongoing. Giuliani clarified hours later in a statement that his "only conversation about a pardon was a generic one that occurred" in early or mid-June. 

"The conversation came about because there had been several pardons and the press kept asking about pardons and I wanted to give one answer,” Giuliani maintained.

Asked on Wednesday if Trump was considering a pardon for Manafort, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president “hadn’t been thinking about that at all.”

Numerous lawmakers have speculated that a potential pardon of Manafort could pose serious risks to Trump.

“It would be an enormous mistake and misuse of his power to pardon,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said earlier this week.

The second-ranking Senate GOP leader, Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) echoed Collins, saying that pardoning Manafort “would be a mistake.”