U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he is not worried about what his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort might tell FBI investigators, reported Reuters.
Manafort decided to cooperate with the U.S. special counsel’s probe into interference in the 2016 national election by the Russian government after he was found guilty on multiple financial fraud charges, and then pled guilty to charges relating to Robert Mueller’s investigation in August.
When asked at the White House if he was worried what Manafort might say, he responded that he was not, so long as Manafort tells the truth.
“As long as he tells the truth, it’s 100 percent,” Trump said. “If he tells the truth, no problem.” The president’s statement came just moments before he left Washington, D.C., to head to North and South Carolina to survey the damage done by Hurricane Florence. He refused to answer any questions regarding whether or not he is considering pardoning Manafort.
Trump has repeatedly denied that he was involved in any collusion with Russia during his election campaign and during the election, but Manafort pled guilty to “possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.” Russia has also denied all allegations that they got involved in the U.S. election.
— Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) September 20, 2018
Manafort has been on Mueller’s radar for almost a year already and decided it was in his best interest to plead guilty to the second round of charges rather than fight any further. The charges were “conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice,” per Vox. Part of his plea deal included his agreement to cooperate with Mueller on the investigation into Trump.
That agreement requires him to “offer interviews and briefings to the special counsel’s office, hand over documents, and testify in other court proceedings.”
As reported by ABC News, questions posed to Manafort will almost certainly include his “account of a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer that was attended by Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law, Jared Kushner.” There is scrutiny surrounding that meeting because it was “described to Trump Jr. in emails as part of a Russian government effort to help the campaign.” As far as Trump Jr. was aware, the lawyer was supposed to have damaging information regarding his father’s rival, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Manafort was in charge of the Trump campaign for several months during the election, making him extremely knowledgeable about the goings on inside the future administration.
Legal experts have explained that if there is any incriminating evidence, Manafort agreeing to cooperate with the investigation can only mean bad news for Trump.