Last night it was revealed that federal investigators have had a secret FISA wiretap warrant on former Donald Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort before and after the election. This means Trump was almost certainly caught on the Manafort wiretap at one point or another. Now one legal expert believes Trump and Manafort may both be “going down” for it.
Norm Eisen, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a CNN Commentator, put it this way: “Hoo boy. Let’s be very clear here: if Manafort told Trump of Russian interference and Trump approved, they are both going down” (link). It’s long been known that even after Trump fired Manafort as his campaign chair and campaign manager, he and Manafort still spoke to each other regularly in the late stages of the campaign. At this point Manafort had been exposed as having been on the take from a Kremlin-connected oligarch to the tune of millions of dollars, and he’s suspected of having colluded with Russia to rig the election in Trump’s favor.
By Eisen’s legal logic, if Manafort knew Russia was rigging the election for Trump, and if he made Trump aware of it, then it means Trump was in on the conspiracy to collude with a foreign government to rig the election. Because these phone conversations between Manafort and Trump were apparently recorded, it would mean that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has a smoking gun in which Trump acknowledges his guilt via his own words.
Donald Trump and Paul Manafort are also known to have continued communicating by phone after Trump became president and Manafort was known to be under investigation. Based on the timing of the FISA warrants, it appears these phone calls were also intercepted. If the two were discussing how to make the probe go away, that would be a smoking gun nailing Trump for crimes of a different kind.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report