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On Fox News, John Kelly downplays Trump campaign indictments, talks up 'honorable' Robert E. Lee

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was the first guest on Laura Ingraham's new Fox News show, The Ingraham Angle, and Ingraham started off by asking Kelly about the White House reaction to the indictments and guilty plea unsealed Monday for members of President Trump's 2016 campaign, including campaign chairman Paul Manafort. "All of the activities, as I understand it, that they were indicted for were long before they met Donald Trump or had any association with the campaign," Kelly said. Manafort was charged with 12 counts, including conspiring to defraud the United States "between 2006 and 2017," mostly involving alleged financial crimes.

"I think the staff is very comfortable with simply serving the nation," Kelly said, when Ingraham asked how the White House staff is holding up. "The vast majority of the staff would have nothing to do with this kind of thing."

Kelly, a retired Marine general, stood up for Confederate monuments, arguing that tearing them down for not meeting modern standards of right and wrong is "just very, very dangerous" and shows "a lack of appreciation of history, and what history is." He specifically mentioned the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, who opposed erecting Confederate monuments himself. "I will tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man" who "gave up his country for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country," Kelly said. "The lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stands where their conscience had them make their stand."

Kelly also said he won't apologize to Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) for his misleading attack on her following her criticism of Trump's call to a Gold Star widow.