Manafort par­don not off the ta­ble, says pres­i­dent

The Gulf Today - - AMERICAS -

WASH­ING­TON: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said on Wed­nes­day he had not ruled out grant­ing a par­don to­h­is­former­cam­paign­chair­man­paul Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to a range of fed­eral charges from money laun­der­ing to un­reg­is­tered lob­by­ing.

“It was never dis­cussed, but I wouldn’t take it off the ta­ble. Why would I take it off the ta­ble?” the pres­i­dent told the New York Post dur­ing an Oval Ofice in­ter­view.

Pros­e­cu­tors for the spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­gat­ing Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion said in a court il­ing on Mon­day that Manafort had lied to them, breach­ing a plea agree­ment.

“Manafort com­mit­ted fed­eral crimes by ly­ing to the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (FBI) and the Spe­cial Coun­sel’s Ofice on a va­ri­ety of sub­ject mat­ters,” Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller said in the il­ing. The il­ing did not give de­tails but promised more as part of a pre-sen­tenc­ing re­port.

The Wall Street Jour­nal, cit­ing peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter, said Manafort’s al­leged false state­ments in­cluded com­ments about his busi­ness deal­ings and con­tacts with a for­mer as­so­ciate in Ukraine.

Those state­ments did not ap­pear to be cen­tral to the al­le­ga­tions Mueller is in­ves­ti­gat­ing of pos­si­ble col­lu­sion be­tween the Trump cam­paign and Rus­sia, but it is un­clear if pros­e­cu­tors plan to ac­cuse Manafort of ad­di­tional lies, the Jour­nal re­ported.

Moscow de­nies med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion and Trump has de­nied any col­lu­sion oc­curred. Spokes­men for Manafort and Mueller both de­clined to com­ment on the Jour­nal story.

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