Trump: ‘Podesta was supposed to be Manafort on steroids’
President Trump said his former campaign manager Paul Manafort was targeted by the Justice Department instead of more deserving Democrats.
During an interview on “Fox and Friends,” aired Thursday morning, the president compared Mr. Manafort to Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman John Podesta.
“Podesta was supposed to be Manafort on steroids,” Mr. Trump said. “He was supposed to be indicted. Never happened. Instead, they went after Manafort.”
Mr. Podesta was never charged with a crime, but his firm was closed after becoming involved with the Mueller investigation. In 2012, Mr. Manafort and his associate Rick Gates worked with the Podesta Group on a campaign called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.
The president said there’s a double standard within the Justice Department when it comes to pursuing Democrats because they’re “strong” with the DOJ.
Mr. Trump was asked directly if he would pardon Mr. Manafort but avoided giving a clear answer.
“I have great respect for what he’s done, in terms of what he’s gone through,” Mr. Trump said.
On Tuesday, a jury in Alexandria, Virginia, found Mr. Manafort guilty of eight counts of bank and tax fraud. Mr. Trump said the charges were “totally unrelated” to his work with the campaign, and shouldn’t have amounted to prosecution.
“I would say what he did, some of the charges against him, every consultant every lobbyist in Washington probably does,” Mr. Trump said.