President Donald Trump on Thursday described the FBI’s raid last month on the home of his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, as "pretty tough stuff," but said he has not talked to the FBI or the attorney general about the matter.
Trump also said he was “very, very surprised to see” that the FBI conducted the raid.
“I thought it was a very, very strong signal, or whatever,” Trump said, according to a pool report.
Asked by reporters outside his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, if he had talked to the attorney general or FBI about it, Trump said he had not, “but to do that early in the morning, whether or not it was appropriate you’d have to ask them.”
“I’ve always found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man,” Trump said. “He’s like a lot of other people, probably makes consultant fees from all over the place, who knows, I don’t know, but I thought it was pretty tough stuff to wake him up, perhaps his family was there. I think that’s pretty tough stuff.”
Manafort is reportedly one of the figures under scrutiny by the Justice Department as it investigates whether any Trump campaign associates colluded in the Russian government’s suspected attempts to influence the presidential election last year. The team overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly also probing his finances.
Manafort and the White House have both denied any wrongdoing in the Russian interference case.
Trump, who recently publicly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter, also said his relationship with Sessions “is what it is.”
“It’s fine. He’s working hard on the border. I’m very proud of what we’ve done at the border," Trump said.