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Trump Lawyer Denies Russia Probe Pardons Being Discussed

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One of President Trump's attorneys is denying a Washington Post report that Mr. Trump's legal team has been "discussing the president's authority to grant pardons" with respect to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Jay Sekulow tells CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett, "Pardons are not being discussed and are not on the table."

The Post says Mr. Trump "asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump's lawyers have been discussing the president's pardoning powers among themselves."

The newspaper notes, "One adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller's investigation."

Garrett also reported late Thursday that Mr. Trump's legal team has been shuffled.

Marc Kasowitz is out as the president's personal attorney and Kasowitz's spokesman, Mark Corallo, has resigned, Garrett says.

The reasons for the moves were not immediately known.

Kasowitz has represented Mr. Trump since the early 2000s, and led his defense in the Trump University fraud case.

Kasowitz recently made headlines when he sent threatening emails to a retired public relations professional who had said Kasowitz should resign. In his first response, Kasowitz wrote "F*** you," according to ProPublica. Kasowitz wrote a number of emails after that, including one that said, "And you don't know me, but I will know you How dare you send me an email like that I'm on you now You are f****** with me now Let's see who you are Watch your back, b****." Kasowitz later apologized.

Garrett has confirmed reports that Trump attorneys have been seeking ways to push back against Mueller looking into Mr. Trump's finances and those of his family, and trying to keep Mueller's team focused on the Russia allegations.  

Muller investigators are already examining the financial dealings of Mr. Trump and his associates, not limiting themselves to possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump's business ties to Russians go back decades.

CBS News has also confirmed Mueller is checking into the business dealings of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, an investigation initiated by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

Manafort was as much as $17 million in debt to pro-Russia interests before joining the Trump campaign, records obtained and reported by The New York Times show.  

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