Democratic members of Congress are warning President Donald Trump against the possibility that he might pardon his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was sentenced for numerous federal crimes.
Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) said it would be a “gross abuse of power” that would precipitate “immediate action” by Congress, but he didn’t say what that action might be.
“Mr. Manafort is going to prison because he committed serious crimes at home while advancing the interests of Russia and other foreign countries abroad,” tweeted Warner.
“Any attempt to pardon him would be a gross abuse of power requiring immediate action by Congress,” he added.
Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) predicted that Congress would “erupt” if Manafort was pardoned.
“Congress would erupt if the president tries to use his pardon power to let Manafort off,” he said. “And it will be viewed as evidence of a very guilty conscience. That’s the way it will be viewed. The president should be very wary of that.”
Senator Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.) agreed in a statement on MSNBC.
“I think that pardoning Paul Manafort would, in effect, send a message you can break the law, defy the justice system,” said Blumenthal, “and then be rewarded by the president of the United States.”
However, the president has it in his power to pardon federal crimes, whereas Manafort has been convicted of state crimes as well, and cannot be pardoned by Trump for those transgressions.
Trump has said he feels sorry for Manafort, and that he was unfairly targeted, but when asked if he was considering pardoning him he responded, “I have not even given it a thought as of this moment.”
Here’s a report on Manafort trials and tribulations:
Trump on Manafort pardon: “I have not even given it a thought”