- President Donald Trump spoke out on Monday after his former campaign chairman was indicted on 12 counts by a grand jury.
- Trump said the charges against Manafort referred to activity that happened “years ago,” before Manafort joined the campaign.
- Trump has railed against the Russia probe in recent days.
President Donald Trump spoke out Monday morning following news that his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, had been indicted by a grand jury as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Manafort was indicted on 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money; unregistered agent of a foreign principal; false and misleading Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) statements; false statements; and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign,” Trump tweeted, referring to the charges leveled against Manafort. “But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????”
“Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” concluded Trump.
Several observers pointed out that the charges against Manafort are not related the Trump campaign or prove collusion with Russia. But former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti noted that Monday’s indictment does not mean the special counsel won’t bring more charges later on.
“He can do that — it’s called ‘superseding,'” Mariotti wrote.
Trump has railed against the Russia investigation in recent days, whose focus includes examining whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his favour. He has also repeatedly questioned why investigators aren’t focusing on Hillary Clinton, the former Democratic nominee and Trump’s 2016 rival.
“Never seen such Republican ANGER & UNITY as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton made Fake Dossier (now $US12,000,000?) … the Uranium to Russia deal, the 33,000 plus deleted Emails, the Comey fix and so much more,” Trump said in a pair of tweets on Sunday.
Though Trump’s allies have pointed at the Uranium One deal as damning evidence against Clinton, extensive reporting and fact-checking found no signs of wrongdoing when the Obama administration allowed Rosatom, a Russian nuclear energy firm, to acquire Canada-based Uranium One, which had significant mining stakes in the US.
Trump went on to tweet on Sunday that instead of looking into Clinton’s alleged culpability, “they look at phony Trump/Russia … ‘collusion,’ which doesn’t exist. The Dems are using this terrible (and bad for our country) Witch Hunt for evil politics, but the R’s … are now fighting back like never before.”
“There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out,” he added. “DO SOMETHING!”
Trump, as well as several of his close associates, are subjects in Mueller’s investigation.
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