WASHINGTON – Intensifying its attacks on the special council's investigation, President Trump said on Wednesday that a presidential pardon granted to his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was "not withdrawn", the plaintiff as well as D & B Other subjects of the investigation as victims of abuse by prosecutor.
Although Mr. Trump did not discuss Mr. Manafort's rehabilitation, "I will not remove him from the table," he said in an interview with the New York Post by Oval Office. "Why should I remove it from the table?"
He added that prosecutors of the special council, Robert S. Mueller III, had improperly treated Mr. Manafort, who had been convicted of eight crimes this summer and pleaded guilty to two others.
Although Mr. Trump had indulged in broken promises, the suggestion of forgiveness was nonetheless remarkable. His rhetorical attacks on Mr. Mueller became more and more provocative – the President tweeted on wednesday that prosecutors "fiercely told witnesses to lie about facts and they would get compensation" and, as great Republican senators, again thwarted an effort to prevent Mr. Mueller's dismissal.
The president's statement also ended the turn of events for Mr. Manafort, a witness to Mr. Mueller's case, until prosecutors said this week that he had lied to them, in violation of his agreement advocacy. They would have been frustrated in part because one of his lawyers informed Mr. Trump's legal team of the case.
By leaving open the possibility of pardoning a former collaborator whose lawyer was a source of privileged information about an investigation into Mr Trump himself, the President has manifested a new willingness to report publicly that he will intervene to protect the people at the center of the special council. Hair.
And although the president's advisers have already considered the possibility of forgiveness before targets of the special council's investigation, granting Mr Manafort a pardon could be politically risky for Mr Trump. Before pleading guilty to two charges of conspiracy in September, Mr. Manafort was found guilty of financial fraud after a lengthy jury trial. He is now facing at least 10 years in prison.
Although prosecutors claimed that Mr. Manafort had lied to them, Mr. Trump claimed that Mr. Manafort had instead refused to make false statements that would advance the Special Council's investigation. He added that Jerome Corsi, a conservative author, had also been pressured to lie and defended Roger Stone Jr., a former Trump campaign advisor and long-time friend of the president on whom the special council was investigating.
"It's really brave," said Trump. "I tell you it's McCarthyism. We are in the McCarthy era. This is not better than McCarthy. "
Mr. Corsi, whom Mr. Trump distinguished in his interview with The Post, said he hoped to be indicted for lying to federal prosecutors, but still faces no one. Federal prosecutors have not yet questioned Mr. Stone, despite Trump's claims that they told him to lie to help them.
The president's latest criticism of the special council has prompted some senators to redouble their efforts to impose a vote on a measure that would protect Mr. Mueller and future special advisers from removal for political reasons. Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, said that given the president's almost daily attacks on Mueller, "being as optimistic about the chances of him being fired is a fool for us."
But for the second time in two weeks, a prominent Republican blocked the measure on Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said it was useless. "The president is not going to fire Robert Mueller," he said. "I do not think either that he should do it."
The President's view of the Special Council's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 elections and the fact that Trump's associates are conspiring is partly determined by what his lawyers heard from defense lawyers representing subjects or witnesses in contact with prosecutors.
His lawyers were particularly alarmed by events suggesting that investigators were trying to determine whether people linked to the Trump campaign had interacted with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to people close to the situation. Russian agents have hacked Democratic computers and sent WikiLeaks tens of thousands of e-mails and other documents to distribute in order to undermine Hillary Clinton's campaign.
A mention of the president in a criminal complaint against Mr. Corsi, the conservative author and ally of Mr. Stone, was particularly worrying for the president's legal team. She would have lied to the investigators. The draft complaint, which was passed on to Mr. Trump's team, indicated that Mr. Corsi knew that Mr. Stone was in contact with Mr. Trump and the main members of the Trump campaign when he had told him asked to go to Assange. "In the summer of 2016.
This coincided with the revelation that Mr. Assange had been secretly indicted by the Ministry of Justice for indictment charges still under seal. Fearing that prosecutors would create some sort of trap for the president, Mr. Trump's lawyers refused to hand in written answers to questions after negotiating these issues with the special advocate for nearly a year. Only when the members of Mr. Mueller's team provided new assurances of their intentions did they hand them over last week.
After handing over the president's answers, members of his entourage seemed to want to prove that Mr. Trump's answers made it clear. Wednesday, CNN reported that the president told the special advocate that he was not discussing WikiLeaks with Mr. Stone. For his part, Mr. Stone said it was a means of transmitting information from the organization to no part of the campaign. As he did publicly, the president said that he knew nothing about the Trump Tower meeting that would have taken place in June 2016 and that would have reunited Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer supposed to provide damaging information about Mrs. Clinton, reported the network.
After languishing for more than a year, the Senate bill to protect Mr. Mueller took a new impetus when Mr. Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, transferring the oversight of the investigation. on Mueller to Acting Attorney General, Matthew G. Whitaker, one of his most vocal critics.
Proponents of the measure said they plan to continue to press for a vote by ballot during the remainder of the congressional session, which will adjourn next month.
Democrats are trying, for example, to add the bill to the government's end-of-year spending bill, which must be passed, but it is not certain that such a proposal can survive the negotiations. with the Republicans.
Flake pledged to vote against any candidate from the Trump administration until the bill gets a vote. Signs have recently shown that his tactics could work.
Senator John Cornyn of Texas, second Republican in the Senate, alluded to Flake's promise on Tuesday as his office assessed his support for the bill.
"If we can have a relatively fast vote up or down – and my preference is that it fails – but at least he will have had a chance," said Cornyn on the conservative commentator's radio show. Hugh Hewitt. "And I hope that he will then agree to let us confirm the judges on the calendar," he said, referring to Mr Flake.
The purpose of the bill is to ensure that special advocates such as Mr. Mueller can only be dismissed by the Department of Justice for just cause. In particular, it would create a ten-day window in which a special council could ask a group of federal judges to determine whether a dismissal was warranted. If the committee decided that this was not the case, the lawyer would be reinstated as soon as possible.
The law would also ensure that the special advocate's staff and investigative materials are preserved during the examination.
Senators from both parties introduced similar bills in the summer of 2017 and the Senate Judiciary Committee adopted a measure with bipartisan support in April. But McConnell or other influential Republicans blocked the vote.
Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee, who put an end to supporters' efforts to move the measure on Wednesday, said special councils would be so powerful that they would be "a fourth de facto governing body."