Donald Trump Says ‘I Think the Whole Manafort Trial Is Very Sad’

As a federal jury decides the fate of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump on Friday praised his former campaign chairman and again protested Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia election interference.

“It’s very sad what they’ve done to Paul Manafort,” Trump told reporters at the White House, and he refused to say whether or not he would pardon Manafort should he be convicted.

“He happens to be a very good person,” Trump said.

Trump’s comments about Manafort since he became president last year have ranged from claiming that he had limited contact with the man who chaired his 2016 presidential campaign to full-throated support of the prosecution target.

In June, Trump said: “Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign. I’ll tell you, I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago? You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time…. He worked for me, what, for 49 days or something? A very short period of time.”

In August 2017, Trump said that was with his campaign “for a very short period of time.”

As for Mueller, Trump again said Friday that the special counsel is “highly conflicted” as he and his staff investigate possible links between the president’s campaign team and Russians who sought to influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.

In calling for Mueller to end the probe, Trump said “let him write his report.”

Mueller’s team has spent this month trying Manafort on bank and tax fraud charges related to his work for pro-Russian political forces in Ukraine; a jury in Alexandria, Va., resumed its deliberations as Trump spoke from the White House.

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Source: USA Today