In a sit-down interview with journalist Sharyl Attkisson, President Trump explained what led to his decision to accept Paul Manafort’s resignation from his presidential campaign.
‘Well, I think we found out something about he may be involved with all – with certain nations, and I don’t even know exactly what it was in particular,’ Trump said on Attkisson’s Full Measure program. ‘But there was a point at which we just felt Paul would be better off – because we don’t want to have many potential conflicts.’
Manafort quit the Trump campaign on August 19, 2016, after a number of reports questioned his business dealings, including work he did for a Russia-aligned political party in Ukraine.
In a new interview, President Trump explained why Paul Manafort was pushed to resign from his campaign, noting there were concerns he had ‘conflicts’ with ‘certain nations’
Before leaving for Asia, President Trump (left) sat down with journalist Sharyl Attkisson (right) and talked about his relationship with Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort was indicted on Monday having received tens of millions of dollars for his lobbying work and keeping the cash in offshore accounts
President Trump (left) noted numerous times to Sharyl Attkisson (right) that Paul Manafort only worked for him for a short time. Manafort did work for the Trump campaign for a little under five months
That work was front and center in the 31-page, 12-count indictment unsealed last Monday, which alleged that Manafort and his deputy, Richard Gates, received tens of millions of dollars for this work and funneled it through offshore accounts, to finance a lavish lifestyle.
Talking to Attkisson at the White House last week, before departing on his Asia trip, the president explained how Manafort came on board his presidential campaign.
‘Well, it was a friend of mine who was a businessman – a very successful businessman and a good person, and you know, Paul was not there very long,’ Trump explained.
When asked if he wanted to identify the person, the president declined.
‘Well, I don’t want to get him involved, he’s a private person,’ Trump explained.
Politico, however, identified the individual as Tom Barrack, in an article written in May.
Barrack, a real estate investor, is a longtime friend of Trump’s who was chairman of the President Inaugural Committee.
Through Barrack, Manafort reached out to the Trump campaign in February of 2016 and by March was hired to do unpaid work.
Manafort was promoted in May to campaign chairman, with the expectation that he would help Trump win the delegate fight at the forthcoming Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
He had absorbed much of the campaign manager’s work by June when Trump decided to fire Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski, though found himself out of a job two months later.
‘What people don’t mention Paul was not there for a very long period of time,’ Trump argued about the just under five months Manafort worked for the campaign.
Mentioning again that he was concerned about Manafort’s conflicts, Trump added, ‘I could have kept him longer. I don’t think anybody would have complained.’
Trump also pointed to Manafort’s previous political work when explaining why he hired him.
‘Look, look people don’t realize Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan,’ Trump said. ‘He worked for Bob Dole, I think the firm was involved with many people, I don’t have to mention names, but I heard they were involved with John McCain, he’s an honorable guy, they were involved with many people, many, many people.’
‘This was a firm that was well known in Washington for years,’ the president continued. ‘And represented many, many big people, politically-speaking, and Ronald Reagan being No. 1, so the reputation I always felt was very good and I had him for a short period of time, he was only there for a very finite period of time.’
Trump then added that he thought the whole thing was a shame.
‘But, you know, I feel badly for him because I always found him to be really a very nice person,’ the president said.