Trump doesn’t rule out pardoning Manafort, Cohen

(CNN) — President Donald Trump on Friday declined to rule out the possibility that he could pardon his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort or personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

The President also reiterated his belief that he has the power to pardon himself, though he again said he would not do so.

‪”I haven’t even thought about it,” Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn, referring to Manafort and Cohen. “I haven’t thought about any of it. It’s certainly far too early to be thinking about that.”

He added, “They haven’t been convicted of anything. There’s nothing to pardon.”

Manafort has been indicted in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and faces charges related to his failure to disclose his US lobbying work for a foreign government, bank fraud and other financial crimes. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Cohen is under criminal investigation in New York for his business dealings. His home, hotel and office were raided by the FBI in April.

Asked about whether he could pardon himself, Trump — who tweeted earlier this week he has the “absolute right” to do so — stood by his previous statement.

“No, I’m not above the law. I never want anybody to be above the law. But the pardons are a very positive thing for a president. I think you see the way I’m using them,” he said. “And yes, I do have an absolute right to pardon myself. But I’ll never have to do it because I didn’t do anything wrong.”

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