By Jeremy Diamond, CNN
(CNN) — President Joe Biden’s campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez is standing by the campaign’s decision not to fundraise off of former President Donald Trump’s indictment and arrest.
In her first public comments on the matter, Chavez Rodriguez told CNN in an exclusive interview that the campaign’s decision not to fundraise off the indictment was aimed at ensuring there are no questions about the independence of the Justice Department.
“It’s so important that we restore the integrity of the Department of Justice and ensure that they are an independent entity and agency and that they continue to do their job in these most critical moments,” Chavez Rodriguez said when asked if she was confident not fundraising off the indictment was the right decision. “And so for us that separation, that independence is core and it’s not something that we will second guess or deliberate.”
Both the White House and the political entities controlled by Biden – his reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee – have maintained a “no comment” posture on the matter since Trump’s indictment last week. And CNN previously reported that the campaign and DNC would not fundraise off of the indictment.
While fundraising off of the indictment could boost fundraising ahead of the campaign’s critical first quarterly deadline, Biden’s advisers determined that the risks of fundraising off of the indictment outweigh the potential rewards.
Trump and his allies have baselessly claimed that the charges against him are politically motivated and Biden advisers fear fundraising off of those comments would only risk fueling that perception.
Biden has also told team members that Trump’s own interference in Justice Department matters is a reason he ran for president in the first place – and reestablishing the Justice Department’s independence has been a key aim of his since coming into office.
Close allies of the White House have adopted a similar stance, and Biden’s team has sent the implicit message that anyone associated with the president should avoid saying anything that might link him to the case, according to people familiar with the matter.
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