WASHINGTON – Donald Trump’s lawyer on Sunday wouldn’t rule out that the president could pardon key figures in the Russian investigation – including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and others.
“He can pardon individuals, of course, that’s because the founders of our country put that in the United States Constitution, the power to pardon,” lawyer Jay Sekulow told ABC’s “This Week.” “But I have not had those conversations, so I couldn’t speculate on that.”
Asked whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe is a witch hunt, Sekulow didn’t hesitate: “Yeah.”
FBI nominee contradicts Trump: Russia probe not a 'witch hunt'
Mueller to probe Trump Jr.'s emails about Russia meeting
He said that’s because the Mueller investigation was sparked by former FBI Director James Comey leaking his memos about his private conversations with Trump – which now reportedly will be part of Comey book deal.
“The special counsel then is based on evidence that was illegally leaked. And that to me raises questions about the whole spectra of what’s going on here,” Sekulow said.
Sekulow said Team Trump did nothing illegal by taking a meeting with a Russian lawyer for the purpose of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton and the backlash against the family is unfair.
He categorized the meeting as “opposition research” that is part of the “nature of politics.”
“I don’t think that’s fair to Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner or Paul Manafort,” Sekulow added on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Still, Sekulow said Trump would appear before Mueller under oath if needed.
“Look, the president was very clear that if it came to that, and I don’t think it will, but if it came to that, he would do that,” Sekulow told ABC’s “This Week.”
As Trump associates are shaking up their legal teams, Sekulow said it’s not “unusual” for Trump’s reelection campaign contributions to be used to pay for the family’s legal bills.
CNN reported the Trump campaign paid $50,000 to the law firm representing Donald Trump Jr.
Sekulow said he’s unclear of the payment arrangement for Trump and his family, but said using campaign funds to help junior is “not an unusual scenario.”
Sekulow also appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and CBS’ “Face the Nation” where he reiterated the president knew nothing of his son’s meeting with Russians and has received no formal notification that he’s personally under investigation.
“He said he has had no meetings, was aware of no meetings with Russians, was not aware of this one until really right before it all broke,” Sekulow told CBS.