Report: Aides think Trump is signaling he wants to pardon Manafort

Politico reports that President Trump’s attorneys and advisers have suggested against pardoning his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort but aides “expect the president to do it anyway.”

“The president’s characterization of his former campaign chairman as a victim and ‘brave man’ is being read by aides as a signal that Trump wants to use his unilateral authority to issue pardons to absolve Manafort, according to eight current and former administration officials and outside advisers,” the outlet added.

However, Politico’s sources also said there’s no indication of an immediate pardon by Trump.

Trump on Wednesday expressed sympathy for Manafort, who was found guilty on eight counts in his financial fraud trial. 

Trump tweeted: “I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. ‘Justice’ took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ – make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’ Such respect for a brave man!” 

Days before the conviction, Trump simultaneously distanced himself from and voiced support for Manafort. 

“He worked for me for a very short period of time. But you know what? He happens to be a very good person. And I think it’s very sad what they’ve done to Paul Manafort,” he told reporters on August 17.

RELATED: Inside Manafort's trial 

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Paul Manafort's trial for bank and tax fraud charges
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Paul Manafort's trial for bank and tax fraud charges
After a guilty verdict on the first count, an unidentified man holds a sign outside the U.S. District Courthouse for the fourth day of jury deliberations in former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The 2012-issued passport of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, included in the government's exhibits admitted into evidence during Manafort's trial, is shown in this image released from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office in Washington, DC, U.S. on August 1, 2018. Image released August 1, 2018. Courtesy Special Counsel's Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: An activist holds a picture of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort during a protest outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse prior to the first day of the trial of Manafort July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Jackets included in the government's exhibits admitted into evidence, at the trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, are seen in this combination image of pictures released from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office in Washington, DC, U.S. on August 1, 2018. Courtesy Special Counsel� Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. UNPROCESSED VERSIONS HAVE BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: Activists hold signs during a protest outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse prior to the first day of the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 02: Kathleen Manafort (L), wife of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, arrives at the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse August 2, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Defense Attorney Kevin Downing arrives at U.S. District Court for the opening day of Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Protesters gather outside the US District Courthouse ahead of Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arriving for the opening day of his trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Defense Attorney Kevin Downing arrives at U.S. District Court for the opening day of Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Heather Washkuhn, manager of Paul Manafort's personal and business finances, left, walks toward District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018. Washkuhn told the jury that she had no knowledge of the offshore companies and bank accounts that prosecutors say helped former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort hide tens of millions in income from the U.S. government. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Defense Attorney Kevin Downing arrives at U.S. District Court for the opening day of Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
The U.S. District Courthouse is seen ahead of Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arriving for the opening day of his trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: Members of Manafort's legal team Jay Nanavati, (C), and Richard Westling, (R), wait to enter the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse to attend the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort who was arrested last year on financial fraud charges, on July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
The U.S. District Courthouse is seen ahead of Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arriving for the opening day of his trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Protesters gather outside the U.S. District Courthouse ahead of Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arriving for the opening day of his trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
UNITED STATES JULY 31: Media set up microphones in front of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Virginia where President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort stands trial July 31, 2018. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES JULY 31: A protester is seen outside of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Virginia where President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort stands trial July 31, 2018. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: An activist wears an 'It's Mueller Time' T-shirt as she hits a drum during a protest outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse prior to the first day of the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES JULY 31: A protester is seen outside of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Virginia where President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort stands trial July 31, 2018. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: An activist holds a puppet of U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse prior to the first day of the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: People wait in-line to enter the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse to hear the first day of the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Jay Nanavati, co-counsel for former Trump Campaign Manger Paul Manafort, left, and Richard Westling, co-counsel for former Trump Campaign Manger Paul Manafort, right, wait to enter District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. The 18-count Alexandria indictment includes five charges of filing false tax returns, five for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, four bank fraud counts and four counts of failing to file reports of his foreign bank and financial accounts with the U.S. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: Anti Trump and Manafort protesters gather in front of the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse where the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort starts today, on July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was arrested last year on financial fraud charges. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: A protester stands in front of the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse where the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort starts today, on July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was arrested last year on financial fraud charges. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Paul Manafort's lawyer Thomas Zehnle (C) is surrounded by media as he arrives at the Albert V. Bryan US Courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia on July 31, 20187, for the opening of the jury selection for the Paul Manafort trial. - Donald Trump's former campaign chief Paul Manafort on July 31, 2018 becomes the first member of the president's election team to face trial on charges stemming from the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 vote. Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud related to his lobbying activities on behalf of the former Russian-backed government of Ukraine. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: People wait in line to enter the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse to attend the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was arrested last year on financial fraud charges, on July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Kathleen Manafort departs from U.S. District Court following the opening day of Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Defense Attorney Kevin Downing departs from U.S. District Court following the opening day of Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller?s investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 02: Heather Washkuhn, managing director of the accounting firm Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno, arrives at the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse to testify in the Paul Manafort trial August 2, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 02: Jay Nanavati, attorney of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, arrives at the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse August 2, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 02: Kevin Downing, attorney of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse August 2, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 01: The statue of Justice outside the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse is reflected in a television news camera lens on the second day of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial August 1, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Accountant Cindy Laporta arrives to testify on day 5 of the trial against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on 18 charges stemming from bank and tax fraud at US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, on August 6, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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Also on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the possibility of a Manafort pardon at a press briefing.

“The Manafort case doesn’t have anything to do with the president, doesn’t have anything to do with his campaign, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the White House,” Sanders told reporters.

When asked if she’d rule it out, Sanders said, “I’m not aware of any conversations regarding that at all.”

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