Paul Manafort, a GOP operative and former campaign manager for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, has broken his silence regarding the investigation of him by former special counsel Robert Mueller.
Specifically, Manafort said that from the outset, Mueller and his team tried to get him to say things about the then-president that were not true.
“From day one I felt they were targeting me and a few others to get at the then-president,” he told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday.
“There were moments they were putting pressure on me to talk about facts that were not true,” he continued.
Paul Manafort describes why he didn't lie about Trump in exchange for his freedom. pic.twitter.com/eLX8iRTe24
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) January 13, 2022
“The quid-pro-quo that was understood was that I was to be treated in a lenient way,” the former campaign manager said.
“I wasn’t going to lie. There was no way they could force me to give up the president,” he said.
“I felt that as long as I told the truth I had nothing to fear, but I was wrong,” he said.
Manafort would guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States in federal court and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with a witness.
“I felt like I was in the middle of a tsunami and there was no way my voice was going to be heard amid all of this onslaught of this misinformation,” he said.
He said that he believed the entire investigation was designed to get Trump and getting him and Roger Stone was a means to an end.
“’There was no doubt in my mind from day one that I was a means to an end,” he said.
“After they didn’t succeed with me, they did the same with Roger Stone. They put the gag order on Roger, they indicted him too,” the 72-year-old said.
“Who they cared about was Donald Trump. And without us they didn’t think they could get to him,” he argued.
He recalled that he and his attorneys laughed at media reports claiming he was about to ‘turn’ on Trump.
“They wanted me to say something that wasn’t true and I wasn’t going to do that,” he said. “Once you start going down the slippery slope, who knows where you’re going to end up.
“On the Russian collusion – I knew it was phony,” he added. “It was the weaponization of the national security system.”
“In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined this,” he said, noting that he has a tell-all book set to hit store shelves in August.