President Donald Trump broke his silence on the indictment of Paul Manafort at 10:25 a.m., asking why the focus of the investigation was on his campaign rather than that of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. He then made a second post claiming that there was no collusion, an accusation that had not been made on Monday.
Trump had been silent in the hour following Manafort’s indictment, presumably to meet with lawyers concerning the indictment. But just before 10:30, he was back on Twitter to give his thoughts.
Trump claimed that the indictment focused on Manafort’s past, before he was made the campaign chairman of Trump’s ultimately successful bid for the White House. While focusing on what Manafort did before he was officially hired, Trump did not address whether his team knew about Manafort’s issues before he was hired to assist with Trump’s delegate count at the Republican National Convention in 2016.
If he and his team did know about Manafort’s issues when he was hired, they did not show it. Upon hiring Manafort, Trump released a statement saying, “Paul is a great asset and an important addition as we consolidate the tremendous support we have received in the primaries and caucuses, garnering millions more votes than any other candidate. Paul Manafort, and the team I am building, bring the needed skill sets to ensure that the will of the Republican voters, not the Washington political establishment, determines who will be the nominee for the Republican Party. I look forward to winning the nomination, and ultimately the presidency in order to Make America Great Again.”
None of those thoughts were present Monday. Instead, Trump tried to shift the focus back to Clinton and her campaign. Trump had spent much of the previous week focusing on the Democratic National Committee’s connection to a dossier about him, attempting to connect his opponent to the dossier. Trump did not address Rick Gates in his Twitter statement.