Recently, news broke that the FBI conducted a very early pre-dawn raid of former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort’s home, seizing materials and documents as part of the ongoing Russia investigation.
President Trump commented about the raid on Thursday and talked about Manafort in a way that made people think he was trying to distance himself from him, making it seem like he barely knew Manafort. Trump also stated he hadn’t talked to him in awhile.
“I know Mr. Manafort, but I haven’t spoken to him in awhile. He was with the campaign for a very short period of time, a relatively short period of time.”
— Rhonda Barket (@RhondaBarket) August 10, 2017
But, after the remarks, a video was released showing Fox News’ Sean Hannity having Manafort on as a guest speaker, where they discussed staying in touch both during and after the campaign.
Sean Hannity is perhaps closer to Trump than anyone else still working in the media. He frequently stands up for him on his show and regularly is granted interviews with the president.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) August 10, 2017
Manafort was also on Meet the Press and stated publicly that he “worked directly for Donald Trump” and not only that, but he’s “known Trump for 30 years.”
So, Manafort is clearly more involved in Trump’s inner circle than Trump would like people to believe. But, Trump is trying to do everything he can to distance himself from him.
Also – and this is a pretty big one – the day the FBI raided the house of Trump’s former campaign manager, Trump called for the firing of Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. Actually, it was just hours after the raid happened. Coincidence?
Here’s what Trump stated at the time:
“Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got…….big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!”
It’s possible Trump is fearful Manafort could turn against him and be “flipped” as a witness. If that happens, he could have incriminating evidence against Trump, which could ultimately lead to his impeachment. Trump has this same worry about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who has reportedly already flipped.
The raid is significant because it shows that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has enough evidence already to justify his pursuit for seeking more records.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
“Unlike subpoenas, which a grand jury can issue on its own, a warrant requires prosecutors to persuade a judge that probable cause exists to believe that a crime may have been committed.”
Here’s the other thing: Trump wants people to believe Manafort had only a minimal role in the campaign, but he was also present at the meeting set up at Trump Tower last summer that saw Donald Trump Jr. trying to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton through a Russian government agent.
Both Manafort and Trump Jr. are supposed to publicly testify before the Senate in regards to the meeting in the upcoming weeks.