I was on the Kennedy show on Fox News to discuss The Guardian’s report that Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, secretly met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London as well as The New York Times report that Manafort violated a plea agreement by repeatedly lying to federal prosecutors.
TROTTER: This story came out alleging that Paul Manafort had met with the Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Britain in 2013, 2015 and later. This is all based on the reporting by The Guardian but there’s no evidence of it yet. We don’t know if this is related to the special counsel investigation yet. It comes as other news has been released that the special counsel says that the plea deal with Paul Manafort is off. We don’t know yet whether those two things are related. Bob Mueller’s team, in their submission to the federal court, said they were going to give details about why the plea deal was off. In a filing that they will make related to the sentencing saying that they are petitioning the judge to go forward with instead of delaying further.
KENNEDY: The whole thing is really interesting because it’s hard to tell if the statement by special counsel stems from frustration or it’s one last attempt to squeeze Paul Manafort and get the desired information from him once and for all because he’s obviously a person who knows a lot. He was in room during these critical meetings and at points in the campaign that Mueller is most interested in. So what do you think is going on here between special counsel and Paul Manafort?
TROTTER: I think you’re right Kennedy, that we see this as an attempt by Bob Mueller to put the thumb screws into Paul Manafort perhaps. It also might show that there’s really nothing there because at this point in the investigation, if there was substantial evidence, you would think that Bob Mueller would be ready to release a full report. But we’re not seeing that right now. There’s a lot of questions about the timing of the report and if it’s going to be released anytime soon. Certainly there’s a play for a pardon in all of this–definitely President Trump has talked about how Paul Manafort is a brave man and had called into question this witch hunt, as President Trump refers to it, until we see the actual evidence that anything has been indicated with collusion in the 2016 election. We haven’t seen any evidence of that yet. Paul Manafort was convicted on charges of bank fraud and tax fraud–none of which are related to the 2016 presidential election. So Bob Mueller is going to have to come forward with better evidence if he expects us to go forward.
Paul Manafort was convicted on charges of bank fraud and tax fraud–none of which are related to the 2016 presidential election. So Bob Mueller is going to have to come forward with better evidence if he expects us to go forward.—Gayle Trotter
KENNEDY: Now you have pointed out that it’s very easy to lie to the DOJ. They set traps all over the place, you don’t know the information they have, you don’t know if you’re the one who’s been under surveillance. We don’t know the contents of these FISA applications; there are many of them. But Alan Dershowitz is saying that the Mueller report will not be without bias and it will be very damaging to the President. What do you think about Dershowitz’s comments?
TROTTER: Certainly there are indications that that is a reasonable conclusion to reach but we do not have the final report yet and I would trust that Bob Mueller, being a person who has a responsibility to the law and to the American people, will make sure that he upholds justice and decides to do the best job that he possibly can. But based on the reports that we have so far, we’re not seeing an indication of that–there’s a lot of sound and fury–but we’re not seeing really results on that.