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Giuliani: Trump not to pardon targets in Russia probe while investigation is taking place

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 6/17/2018 Kevin Johnson
a man drinking from a glass: Rudy Giuliani attends the Conference on Iran on May 5, 2018 in Washington, D.C. © Tasos Katopodis, Getty Images Rudy Giuliani attends the Conference on Iran on May 5, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON – President Trump's lead attorney Sunday walked back earlier suggestions that targets in the ongoing investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election could be pardoned by the president.

"The president is not going to issue a pardon in this investigation," Rudy Giuliani said. "I want that to come out loud and clear."

But Giuliani, in an appearance on CNN's State of the Union, did leave open the possibility that the president could take action when the Russia inquiry was concluded if he determined that people had been "treated unfairly."

"You are not going to get a pardon just because you are involved in this investigation," the outspoken former New York mayor said, before quickly adding that those targets "certainly won't be excluded."

Giuliani raised the prospect that the president was considering pardons late last week, after former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was jailed for violating terms of his bail in Washington. He is awaiting a September trial on money laundering and fraud charges. He also faces a July trial in Alexandria, Va., where he is charged with bank and tax fraud.

A federal judge revoked Manafort's $10 million bond Friday after he was charged with obstruction for allegedly tampering with witnesses in the pending criminal cases against him.

"When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons," Giuliani told the New York Daily News. "You put a guy in jail if he’s trying to kill witnesses, not just talking to witnesses." 

Giuliani also renewed his attacks on the legitimacy of the Russia inquiry headed by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

Citing findings in last week's Justice Department inspector general's report related to the conduct of two senior FBI agents, the former mayor called for a review of the origins of the Russia investigation.

The inspector general, during an 18-month review of the handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, unearthed text messages exchanged by the agents in which they disparaged Trump. Both of the agents held top positions in both the FBI's Clinton and Trump investigations.

In one of the messages, FBI counter-intelligence official Peter Strzok suggested that he might take action to "stop" Trump's candidacy.

"We want the Mueller probe to be investigated," Giuliani said Sunday.



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