President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager said Tuesday that he hoped any of Trump’s campaign staff who may be found to have improperly influenced the 2016 election “go to jail for the rest of their lives.”
Lewandowski made the comment at an event at George Washington University, the Washington Examiner reported.
“I think if anybody, and I’ve said this, if Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, or Rick Gates or Carter Page, or anybody else attempted to influence the outcome of the U.S. election through any means that’s inappropriate — through collusion, coordination, or cooperation — I hope they go to jail for the rest of their lives,” Lewandowsi said, as quoted by the Examiner.
Lewandowski is a well-known rival of Manafort’s, who replaced him at the top of Trump’s campaign with the title of chairman. Eventually, Manafort was himself replaced by Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon and pollster Kellyanne Conway, who would both go on to accompany Trump to the White House.
Manafort has drawn the attention of Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the U.S. election. Details of a July raid of Manafort’s Alexandria, Virginia home have emerged recently in multiple reports. Mueller’s team reportedly warned Manafort that it planned to indict him for possible tax and financial crimes.
Lewandowski, who remains an ally of Trump’s, also defended the President against allegations that he knew of Russian efforts to aid his campaign, saying he was with Trump “18 hours a day, seven days a week for 18 months,” and “never ever ever did I hear him say, utter, insinuate anything to do with Russia.”
Then again, Lewandowski also denied knowledge of the meeting between Donald Trump Jr., several top campaign officials and Russian figures promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton as part of a Kremlin effort to aid Trump’s campaign. Lewandowski was still campaign manager at the time of that meeting.
“The short answer is I knew nothing about the meeting. And the reason I knew nothing about the meeting was because there was nothing to the meeting,” he told “Fox & Friends” in July.