Speaking to reporters in the White House briefing room Monday afternoon, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the news about former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort being indicted on 12-felony counts is irrelevant to the administration.
"Today's announcement has nothing to do with the President, has nothing to do with the President's campaign or campaign activity. The real collusion scandal, as we've said several times before, has everything to do with the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS, and Russia," Sanders said. "There's clear evidence of the Clinton campaign colluding with Russian intelligence to spread disinformation and smear the President to influence the election. We've been saying from day one there has been no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and nothing in the indictment today changes that at all."
She also reiterated that President Trump has no plans to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
"The President said last week, I believe it was last week, and I've said it several times before, there is no intention or plan to make any changes in regards to the special counsel," Sanders said.
The 31-page Manafort indictment unsealed Monday morning does not reference his work a chairman of the Trump campaign. Instead, it focuses on his business dealings.
Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos plead guilty in October for lying to federal agents about his contact with Russian citizens and officials during the presidential election. Sanders also commented on his case.
Q But the George Papadopoulos agreement is about the campaign. It is specifically about the campaign --
MS. SANDERS: It has nothing to do with the activities of the campaign. It has to do with his failure to tell the truth. That doesn't have anything to do with the campaign or the campaign's activities.
Q But it is the clearest evidence yet of ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials so --
MS. SANDERS: Again, there are no activities or official capacity in which the Trump Campaign was engaged in any of these activities. Most of them took place well before the campaign ever even existed.
Q Sarah can you just explain what George Papadopoulos' role with the campaign was?
MS. SANDERS: It was extremely limited; it was a volunteer position. And again, no activity was ever done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign in that regard.
President Trump responded to the indictment earlier today on Twitter.
Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2017
....Also, there is NO COLLUSION!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2017