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
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President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE on Friday said he feels “very badly” for Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortLobbyist Tony Podesta returns to work for Huawei Former bank CEO convicted of bribery in scheme to land Trump admin job Trial begins for Chicago banker who exchanged loans with Manafort for Trump job MORE, who was sentenced to four years in prison for financial crimes unearthed by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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.

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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.