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 John TrumpDems want tougher language on election security in defense bill Five aides to Van Drew resign ahead of his formal switch to GOP The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE on Friday said he feels “very badly” for Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTrump rails against Fox News for planning interviews with Schiff, Comey How to shut down fake Republican outrage over 'spying' on Trump DOJ backs ex-Trump campaign aide Richard Gates's probation request MORE, who was sentenced to four years in prison for financial crimes unearthed by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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.