Trump Responds to Manafort Indictment: 'This Is Years Ago'

Susan Jones | October 30, 2017 | 11:04am EDT
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Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" on April 10, 2016. (Photo: Screen grab/NBC)

( - A few hours after Paul Manafort walked into a federal court in Washington on Monday, President Trump addressed the furor surrounding his former campaign manager, who is among the first people to face criminal charges stemming from the probe conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Shortly before 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Trump tweeted:

"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?????"

"....Also, there is NO COLLUSION!," the president tweeted moments later.

Manafort and his former business associate Richard W. Gates III acted as "unregistered agents of the government of Ukraine, the indictment says.

"In order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, Manafort and Gates laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts."

They're also accused of tax evasion and making "false and misleading statements" to federal investigators.

The financial crimes allegedly continued during the five months that Manafort was part of the Trump campaign, but the indictment, unsealed Monday morning, does not involve any allegations of Trump-Russia "collusion" or coordination.

Paul Manafort joined the Trump campaign on March 29, 2016 to ensure that Trump emerged as the Republian presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention. In May, he was named Trump's campaign manager, but he resigned in August

On May 19, 2016 Manafort was promoted to Trump campaign chairman, a job he held until August 19, 2016 when he resigned after press reports said investigators were looking into millions of dollars in undisclosed cash payments Manafort received from Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

In an April 10, 2016 interview, Chuck Todd, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," asked Manafort if he was running Trump's campaign.

"Donald Trump is running this campaign," Manafort said with a smile. He also said he's "known Trump for 30 years."

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