The Department of Justice slapped 18 charges against Manafort, and he was convicted of eight counts in 2018 stemming from Robert Mueller‘s investigation into alleged Russian collusion. The convictions included bank and tax fraud. Manafort was later pardoned by Trump in 2020.
Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file))
“Mueller and his team wanted Paul Manafort to die in jail,” said host Sean Hannity. “And they tried hard, and they also put him in solitary confinement for nearly a year. Why? To break him.”
Manafort alluded to details that will appear in his upcoming book, such as the possibility that his freedom was dangled in exchange for providing false breadcrumbs to tackle former President Donald Trump.
“There were moments that I will talk about this in the book when they were putting pressure on me to admit the facts that weren’t true, and I’ll talk about those facts and those expectations. The quid pro quo that was understood was that I would be treated in a very lenient way,” he said. “They didn’t understand that there was no way I was going to lie and there was no way that they could force me into giving up the president. I never felt uncomfortable talking to them because I knew that as long as I told the truth, I had nothing to fear, but I was wrong.”
When Hannity pressed him on why he did not give in to the pressure, Manafort said it was against his values.
“They wanted you dead in jail,” Hannity said. “So now you’re being basically offered your freedom if you say what they want. But you didn’t do it. Why?”
Manafort replied, “They wanted me to say something that wasn’t true, and I wasn’t going to do that. And you know … once you start walking down that slippery slope, who knows where you end up?”
“It was a weaponization of the law enforcement and national security operations,” Manafort continued. “It was targeted. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined this type of targeting, to undermine his presidency and to try and remove him from office. And there was no way I was going to ever be a participant in that.”
Paul Manafort poses for a mugshot. (Alexandria Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images)
Manafort claimed he was a means toward their goal of taking down Trump.
“There was no doubt in my mind from day one that I was a means to an end. And frankly, after they didn’t succeed with me, they used the same tactics against Roger Stone … Who they cared about was Donald Trump. And we were the way. Without us, they didn’t think they could get Trump.”
“They were trying to put me in jail forever. I mean … unless I would cooperate, that was what they were promising to do. And in fact … they argued for the maximum penalty for me because they didn’t want me to be free.”
Former President Donald Trump. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Manafort said his book, “Political Prisoner,” set to be released later in 2022, will clear the air of the corruption he witnessed.
“The people who are pushing the Jan. 6 allegations are the very ones who for four and a half years refused to recognize the results of the 2016 election. So this book that I’m writing is meant to … get out my side of the facts [and] to tell the truth about my career in politics and government.”