President Trump claimed he let go of Paul Manafort as campaign chairman during the 2016 contest because his team became aware of Manafort's involvement with "certain nations."
Trump was asked about it during an interview on Sharyl Attkisson's show "Full Measure," which will air in full on Sunday. It follows a week in which Manafort was indicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
"I think we found out something about he may be involved with all — with certain nations and I don't even know exactly what it was in particular," Trump said. "But there was a point at which we just felt Paul would be better off -- because we don't want have any potential conflicts."
Trump hired Manafort originally as a senior adviser, and he later took over the reigns of the campaign from Corey Lewandowski when Lewandowski was let go in June 2016. Manafort submitted his letter of resignation in August amid reports of deteriorating relationship with Trump and controversy over his past business dealings with Russia-backed leaders in Ukraine around the time between 2006 and 2016.
That latter issue ultimately is what led to Manafort, along his former associate, Rick Gates, being indicted on 12 counts, including: "conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts."
"Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????" Trump tweeted Monday morning. "Also, there is NO COLLUSION!"
Trump's campaign is being investigated for possible ties to the Kremlin by Mueller's team as well as a handful of congressional panels.
Attkisson asked Trump who convinced him to hire Manafort in the first place.
Trump responded that Manafort was "A friend of mine" and was a "very successful businessman and a good person."