Trump says, “Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?”. Trump is already crafting a defense against what he knows it coming.
Trump doubled down on his defense just recently saying: “Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren’t they the subject of the investigation? Why didn’t Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren’t Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Sessions!”
It’s important to go ahead and start talking about Paul Manafort even though he’s only loosely in the news right now. Why? Because Rick Gates is going to testify against him, which will almost certainly lead to Manafort giving up the bigger fish in the scandal.
Former campaign chair for popular vote loser Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, wasn’t just colluding with any ol’ Russian operatives – his ties to the Kremlin are far deeper and more significant than most may realize at this point.
According to The Washington Post, over the five months that Manafort was Trump’s campaign chair, he offered a Kremlin-linked Russian oligarch “private briefings” on the status of the Trump’s presidential election.
Less than two weeks before Trump clinched the GOP nomination, Manafort sent an email to Russian operative Oleg Deripaska to ask if the Basic Element founder would like to be regularly updated on the progress of the campaign.
“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Paul Manafort wrote on July 7, 2016.
Just over a year later, Manafort’s Virginia home was raided by the FBI in the early morning hours. CNN reported that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) wiretap on Manafort’s phone was in place during and after the election.
Trump responded by saying:
What most people seem to be missing about the significance of the offer Manafort made to the Russian operative about “private briefings” is that Oleg Deripaska is among the 2-3 oligarchs Russian President Vladimir Putin turns to on a regular basis.
Journalist/lawyer/professor Seth Abramson took to Twitter to explain just how big of a deal this was, but no one took it seriously, until now.
Now, about the Manafort surveillance…
CBS News Reports, According to a former U.S. official, the intercepts picked up conversations between Manafort and Russian individuals about the campaign. The intercepts potentially include conversations between Manafort and President Trump.
The recordings are now part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which appears to be intensely focused on Manafort.
It’s still unclear as to what what Paul Manafort discussed with the Russians exactly, but it’s collusion none the less. The details of the conversations are in the hands of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as he already has the tapes of the conversations acquired through wiretaps.
It’s also safe to assume that Mueller knows exactly what Manafort relayed back to Trump about these Russian conversations, as Manafort’s wiretaps were in place during time periods Manafort would have been talking to Trump, which has already been confirmed to have continued to occur even after Manafort left the Trump campaign.
This doesn’t look good for Trump. You can bet as soon as Rick Gate flips on Paul Manafort, Trump will start into his denial and deflection again, just like he did the first time around when Robert Mueller dropped the hammer on Paul Manafort.