As the second day of the Paul Manafort trial gets underway, President Donald Trump threw his old pal a bone — then quickly snatched it back.
Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion – a Hoax!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
After bolstering Manafort’s credentials, Trump quickly washed his hands of his former campaign chairman. He also threw in that the Manafort case is completely divorced from the Russia-Trump collusion investigation, seeking to distance himself from Manafort’s legal troubles.
Though the trial will center on Manafort’s alleged bank and tax fraud among other things, he was still charged as part of Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s probe in a move many saw as an attempt to get Manafort to flip on others connected to the Trump campaign.
However, Trump’s attempt to minimize Manafort’s closeness to him has been a frequent team Trump tactic, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway becoming the most recent aide to emphasize their separation.