On Friday, President Donald Trump called Paul Manafort a “very good person” and said the trial of his former campaign chairman was a “very sad day for our country.”

Manafort is facing bank and tax fraud charges, and his trial — in which jurors have not yet reached a verdict — entered its third day of deliberations on Monday. Rick Gates — a former Trump aide who also worked as Manafort’s business associate — has testified against Manafort, confessing the pair committed a series of financial crimes while working for pro-Russia political candidates and organizations in Ukraine.

There has been speculation that Trump could pardon Manafort for his crimes, although the president refused to answer questions from reporters about this subject on Friday.



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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Manafort’s trial should end before the topic of pardons is even discussed, while presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani stated in an interview this week that special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation must wrap up before Trump issues any kind of pardon.

“My position has been, ‘I don’t want to be part of the pardon process.’ But my advice is, ‘You shouldn’t pardon anyone during the investigation or else you create a confusing situation.’ He’s bought into that,” Giuliani told the Washington Post. 


Earlier this month, Trump praised Manafort and his credentials in a tweet and claimed that the government never told him his former campaign manager was under investigation:

This all comes amid Trump’s decision to revoke security clearances for many of his top critics, including former CIA Director John Brennan and other former Barack Obama administration officials.

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