Trump says any Manafort misdeeds occurred 'years ago'
Quickly distancing himself and the White House from the indictment of his former campaign chairman and another aide, United States President Donald Trump yesterday said Paul Manafort's alleged misdeeds occurred "years ago".
Trump further insisted there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Responding to news that two former senior campaign aides were charged by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating interactions between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, the president tried to shift the focus elsewhere, asking on Twitter why Hillary Clinton and the Democrats aren't the focus of the probe.
Trump's tweet: "Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????"
He tacked on this addendum: "....Also, there is NO COLLUSION!"
Manafort and Rick Gates surrendered to federal authorities yesterday to face felony charges of conspiracy against the United States, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, and several other financial counts involving tens of millions of dollars routed through offshore accounts.
In addition, a former Trump campaign aide pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about the timing and detail of his attempts to line up meetings between Russian government officials and the Trump campaign. George Papadopolous pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian national during his time on the Trump campaign.
The indictment against Manafort and Gates alleges criminal activity through "at least 2016," when the presidential campaign was in full swing.
White House allies privately expressed relief that the charges against Manafort and Gates did not pertain to Russia or the Trump administration. The White House declined to comment on the Papadopolous plea deal.