Trump refuses to rule out Manafort pardon

Trump refuses to rule out Manafort pardon
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' MORE on Wednesday did not rule out the possibility of pardoning former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump turns to immigration; primary day delays expected GOP votes to give Graham broad subpoena power in Obama-era probe Will the 'law and order' president pardon Roger Stone? MORE, who was convicted in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's Russia probe.

“It was never discussed, but I wouldn’t take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table?” Trump said during an interview with the New York Post.

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The New York Times reported in March that former Trump lawyer John Dowd discussed the possibility of a pardon with Manafort's legal team. Dowd denied the report.

Trump also intensified attacks on Mueller after the special counsel accused Manafort of lying to investigators after agreeing to cooperate with authorities.

The president suggested Mueller's team was attempting to induce Manafort, as well as his onetime adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneDOJ: Tuesday prison start date for Stone 'reasonable' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump takes on CDC over schools Hillicon Valley: Facebook civil rights audit finds 'serious setbacks' | Facebook takes down Roger Stone-affiliated accounts, pages | State and local officials beg Congress for more elections funds MORE and associate Jerome Corsi, to lie to incriminate him or others.

“You know, this flipping stuff is terrible. You flip and you lie and 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 said, adding “if you told the truth, you go to jail.

Trump again praised Manafort as “brave,” a label he first used to describe his former campaign boss in August after his conviction on bank and tax fraud charges.

The president also likened the Russia investigation to Sen. Joseph McCarthy's infamous probe of Communist influence in the 1950s.

“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,” Trump added.

Critics suggested Manafort was feeding false information to Mueller in order to get back in the president's good graces and angle for a pardon.

Manafort is in a joint defense agreement with Trump and his legal team was reportedly in communication with the president's lawyers during the period of his cooperation.