Trump on Manafort pardon: ‘I wouldn’t take it off the table’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s comment that a pardon for Paul Manafort is “not off the table” has drawn swift rebuke from critics who fear the president will use his executive power to protect friends and supporters caught up in the Russia probe.

The comment in an interview Wednesday with the New York Post came days after special counsel Robert Mueller said Manafort had breached his plea deal by lying to investigators. The former Trump campaign chairman denies that he lied.

When asked about a pardon, Trump told the newspaper: “It was never discussed, but I wouldn’t take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table?”

The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee said a pardon by Trump would be a “blatant and unacceptable abuse of power.”