Trump says he hasn't discussed Manafort pardon, feels 'very badly' for him

Trump says he hasn't discussed Manafort pardon, feels 'very badly' for him
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE on Friday said he feels “very badly” for Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortWebb: Questions for Robert Mueller Top Mueller prosecutor Zainab Ahmad joins law firm Gibson Dunn Russian oligarch's story could spell trouble for Team Mueller MORE, who was sentenced to four years in prison for financial crimes unearthed by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE, but added he has not discussed a pardon for his former campaign chairman.

“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort. I think it’s a very, very tough time for him,” he told reporters at the White House.

ADVERTISEMENT

Asked about a possible pardon, Trump said, “I haven’t discussed it,” and added the only people floating clemency for Manafort are members of the news media.

The president said he was “honored” by remarks from the “highly respected” judge at Manafort’s sentencing that “there was no collusion with Russia.”

“It has nothing to do with collusion. There was no collusion. It’s a collusion hoax,” Trump said.

The president was echoing comments he made in a tweet earlier Friday morning.

Trump, however, misrepresented comments made by Judge T.S. Ellis III in court.

Ellis said Manafort was “not before the court for anything having to do with colluding with the Russian government to influence the election” but did not clear the Trump campaign of collusion or other wrongdoing.

Manafort was sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted on charges of bank and tax fraud, a punishment that was well below sentencing guidelines. He still faces sentencing in a Washington, D.C., court for convictions related to the Mueller investigation.

The charges stemmed from Manafort’s lobbying for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine and not from Mueller’s core focus on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.