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White House: Manafort case "doesn't have anything to do with the president"

Will Trump pardon Paul Manafort?

Following Tuesday's verdict that found former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty on eight counts, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended that Manafort's case "doesn't have anything to do with the president."

Manafort was found guilty on five charges for tax fraud, two for bank fraud, and one count of failing to disclose a foreign bank account. The jury was unable to reach a consensus on the 10 remaining counts Manafort was tried for.

"The Manafort case doesn't have anything to do with the president, doesn't have anything to do with his campaign, it doesn't have anything to do with the White House," Sanders said in Wednesday's White House press briefing, which happened to be her 100th briefing.

As for a potential presidential pardon for Manafort, which Mr. Trump would not address when asked on the White House South Lawn last week, Sanders said that she is "not aware of any conversations regarding that at all."

"There have been no discussions at the white house on that matter," she said.

Sanders would not elaborate further on Mr. Trump's Twitter comments that he "feels badly" for Manafort.

Sanders later said that Mr. Trump plans to remain uninvolved with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and that she is not aware of any plans for Mr. Trump to take action against Mueller.

Within minutes of the Manafort verdict, Mr. Trump's former personal lawyer pleaded guilty to eight counts, including two campaign finance violations relating to hush money paid out to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Wednesday, Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis said that Mr. Trump "should be indicted" and that "If he were not president, he clearly would be indicted and jailed for that crime."

Sanders applied the same logic, that Mr. Trump is not implicated in these cases despite his former association with both Manafort and Cohen.

"What I can tell you is what the president has stated a number of times: he did nothing wrong, there are no charges against him," she said. "Just because Michael Cohen has made a deal doesn't mean anything with regards to the president."

After the news of Manafort and Cohen, Mr. Trump held a campaign-style rally in West Virginia Tuesday night in which he failed to mention either of his former associates.

"Where is the collusion?" the president asked his audience instead.

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