WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A judge on Friday sent longtime Republican political operator and businessman Paul Manafort to jail pending trial after a charge of witness tampering, the latest episode in a slow fall from grace of a man who was President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016.
Manafort, a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election, has been indicted on mostly financial-related charges, including conspiring to launder money and defraud the United States. He has pleaded not guilty.
In one of his most forceful attacks on the special counsel yet, Rudy Giuliani on Friday said the Russia investigation could get “cleaned up” with pardons from President Trump in light of Paul Manafort being sent to jail.
“When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons,” the former New York mayor told the Daily News.
Giuliani’s stunning remark came hours after a Washington, D.C., judge revoked Manafort’s bail and ordered him to remain behind bars while awaiting his September trial on charges relating to his shady pro-Russian business dealings in Ukraine. The ruling came after Robert Mueller’s investigators alleged the ex-Trump campaign chairman had attempted to secure false testimony from potential witnesses in the Russia probe.
Giuliani, who worked as a federal prosecutor for nearly a decade, claimed he had seen no evidence to warrant locking up Manafort.
President Trump broke his silence on the scathing inspector general’s report with a vengeance Friday, first tweeting that the FBI boss he fired was the “worst” in the bureau’s history, then crashing “Fox & Friends” for an impromptu interview where he ripped the “scum on top” of the Obama-era bureau and said the IG “blew it.”
The president’s comments came a day after the release of the report, which was the result of an 18-month-long investigation by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Trump said the report, which found ex-FBI Director James Comey was insubordinate, showed Trump was justified in firing him.
“The IG Report is a total disaster for Comey, his minions and sadly, the FBI,” Trump tweeted early Friday. “Comey will now officially go down as the worst leader, by far, in the history of the FBI. I did a great service to the people in firing him. Good Instincts. Christopher Wray will bring it proudly back!”
The IG Report is a total disaster for Comey, his minions and sadly, the FBI. Comey will now officially go down as the worst leader, by far, in the history of the FBI. I did a great service to the people in firing him. Good Instincts. Christopher Wray will bring it proudly back!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2018