Paul Manafort covertly advised Trump in 2020 -- and kept it secret in the hopes he'd get pardoned
Paul Manafort (Photo: Screen capture)

Paul Manafort, the scandal-plagued convicted felon who spent several months running Donald Trump's first presidential campaign in 2016, has written a new memoir in which he claims he informally advised Trump's campaign.

However, Manafort says he made sure to keep it a secret because revelations about his role in the campaign would surely cause a scandal and potentially jeopardize his chances of being pardoned if Trump lost in 2020.

"I didn’t want anything to get in the way of the president’s re-election or, importantly, a potential pardon," Manafort writes, according to a report by The Guardian, which has obtained a copy of the book. "When the re-election campaign started kicking off, I was interacting, unofficially, with friends of mine who were very involved. It was killing me not to be there, but I was advising indirectly from my condo."

In another passage, Manafort again emphasizes the need to secrecy in order to secure his pardon.

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“I still had no promise of a pardon, but I had an expectation," he writes. "My fear was that if I got in the way of the campaign and Trump lost, he might blame me, and I did not want that to happen.”

Manafort was convicted in 2018 of a wide variety of crimes, including filing false tax returns, bank fraud, and failing to disclose a foreign bank account.

According to special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference with the 2020 election, Manafort attended a meeting with a Russian operative who promised the Trump campaign dirt on then-rival Hillary Clinton, and also leaked internal campaign polling data to a Kremlin-connected oligarch.

Manafort was freed early from prison after receiving a pardon for former President Donald Trump in December 2020.