The White House on Wednesday did not reject the option that President Donald Trump might issue pardons to his former senior aides that are facing charges from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders relayed a statement from Trump’s lawyer Ty Cobb who said that there has been no discussion or consideration of pardons “at this time.”
“There’s no discussion or consideration of that at this time,” Sanders told reporters. “The President has the authority to pardon individuals, but you’re asking me about a specific case in which it hasn’t been discussed.”
Sanders’s response is the result of a New York Times report which said that Trump’s former lead attorney, John Dowd was discussing the possibility of pardons for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Dowd left the President’s personal legal team earlier this month.
Cobb, who is the lead attorney dealing with the Mueller probe inside the White House, said in a statement that potential pardons had not been discussed.
“I have only been asked about pardons by the press and have routinely responded on the record that no pardons are under discussion or under consideration at the White House,” Cobb said.
Jay Sekulow, who is also part of Trump’s personal legal team, also disputed the report.
“Never during the course of my representation of the President have I had any discussions of pardons of any individual involved in this inquiry,” Sekulow told the Times.
Meanwhile, Manafort faces a series of financial charges connected to his work as a foreign lobbyist.
Although Manafort still claims that he is innocent, his associate, Richard Gates, pleaded guilty to some charges and is working with the special counsel.
Flynn also pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his connections with the Russian ambassador and is now also working with the special counsel.
“As we have said pretty much every day since we’ve got here because you guys continue to ask about this topic every single day, there was no collusion and we’re very confident in that and look forward to this process wrapping up,” Sanders said.