The former campaign manager for President Trump is a central figure in Robert Mueller's investigation over claims that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election. Trump described Manafort as having been with his campaign "for a very short period of time - for a relatively short period of time, but I've always known him to be a good man".
"I haven't given it any thought", he said, when asked whether he might fire Mueller.
Last month, Trump repeatedly excoriated Sessions for his decision to step aside from supervising the Russian Federation investigation, making it clear that he blamed the attorney general for the fact that he was facing the investigation by Mueller and his team. "I've been reading about it from you people. No, I'm not dismissing anybody", he told the media on Thursday. Mr Comey testified to a Senate committee that he believes he was sacked because of the way he had been handling the Russian Federation inquiry. Politico reports, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter, that Manafort will be represented by Miller & Chevalier's Kevin Downing, who has previously served as senior litigation counsel in the criminal enforcement section of the Department of Justice's tax division.
It was already known that Mr Manafort was under investigation for his business dealings with his son-in-law; his role in a meeting on June 9 previous year between Trump campaign officials and Russians; and whether his work for the Ukrainian government violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller in May and supervises his investigation, said that Mueller was operating within his mandate.
Seva Gunitsky, a University of Toronto professor who has researched Trump's Russian business interests, said the president's financial connections to Russia run deeper than he has admitted. "He's working hard on the border", Trump said.
"I think that's pretty tough stuff", the President added. Trump has also accused Sessions of not aggressively pursuing allegations of leaks by government officials.
Lindsey Graham recently said, "Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, unless Mueller did something wrong", and, "Right now, I have no reason to believe Mueller is compromised".