Manafort: Trump was necessary to ‘end corruption’ in D.C.

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation) — Criticizing the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, Paul Manafort again stood by former President Donald Trump, saying he supported him six years ago because he was necessary to end corruption in Washington, D.C.

Speaking Thursday on “On Balance with Leland Vittert,” Manafort, discussing his loyalty to Trump, said he had no issue with the former president waiting two years to pardon him after he was convicted of financial crimes.

“As a political person I understand all the pressures a president deals with in something as intense as what I was involved in,” Manafort said. “At the end of the day he did the right thing, and I appreciate it.”

Manafort served as campaign manager to Trump during the 2016 election and later became a subject of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russians.

While Manafort was the first among Trump associates to be charged as part of Mueller’s investigation, the charges were unrelated to his work on the campaign or the focus of Mueller’s investigation. He was convicted on eight counts, with a jury deciding he hid from the IRS millions of dollars he earned from work in Ukraine.

“What I don’t appreciate is the way the special prosecutor came after me on issues that I had been cleared on, broke people down, squeezed people to lie and then convicted me in the court of public opinion,” Manafort said of the Mueller investigation. “I never had a fair trial.”

Manafort previously expressed his loyalty to Trump in a new interview with incoming NewsNation host Chris Cuomo on Tuesday, saying he believes the former president will run again for president in 2024.

Criticizing the multiple investigations of which Trump has been a subject, Manafort said he’s “never seen anything” that would warrant criminal charges against Trump.

“The secrets that I still hold, there was nothing illegal that was going on,” Manafort said. “There’s no behavior that is putting him in harm’s way. What puts him in harm’s way is his willingness to carry the torch and drain the swamp.”

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