As the first sentencing in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation is set to be handed down Tuesday — involving a lawyer with ties to former Trump campaign official Paul Manafort — South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott is expressing his desire that the president refrain from pardoning Mr. Manafort, an action Trump has alluded he might take.
According to the New York Daily News, Alexander van der Zwaan is a 33-year-old London-based lawyer who worked with President Trump’s campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates in Ukraine. He was accused of lying to investigators of communication he had with Gates and an employee of Manafort, Konstantin Kilimnik.
Kiliminik is former GRU Russian military and reportedly still had ties to that agency when he was contacting Gates, while the latter was working for the Trump campaign. He is also involved with the money-laundering scheme both Gates and Manafort are implicated in.
Sunday, while appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Senator Scott said he would be disappointed if Trump were to pardon Manafort, something the New York Times reported there were rumblings about last week.
“Keeping the pardon off the table is a necessary part of the process,” Scott said Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “I would be disappointed if President Trump were to pardon either one of these individuals.”
Scott said he’s glad that Mueller’s work continues and that the public will have “as much information as necessary to draw clear conclusions.” He said he’d rather see an expedient conclusion of the investigation, but the most important thing is that it be thorough.
There is “not a single senator” who would support stopping the investigation prematurely, Scott said, and he doesn’t think Mueller’s investigation needs to be protected by specific legislation.
There has been much discussion in the media that Trump may “fire” Mueller or end the investigation before it’s finished its work, stemming from several tweets the president has sent indicating he believes the Russian investigation is misguided and never should have started.
I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
Figures implicated in the Mueller investigation — Flynn, Gates and campaign adviser George Papadopoulos — have all indicated a willingness to help Mueller in his investigation as it continues through sentencing and identifying other bad actors.