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Response to eleny (Reply #4)

Sat Jun 22, 2019, 08:21 AM

6. Jonathan Chait on that central issue...

Manafort Promised Sean Hannity He Wouldn’t Flip on Trump

Robert Mueller was famously unable to establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Possibly this was because no such conspiracy took place, but it is also very possible that Mueller was thwarted by the refusal of the two campaign aides most closely involved with Russia’s election operation, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, to cooperate with his probe. Mueller found that Manafort passed 75 pages of polling data to a suspected Russian intelligence agent during the campaign, but couldn’t figure out what the data was used for.

Newly-released text messages between Manafort and Fox News host Sean Hannity in 2017 and 2018 give more insight into Manafort’s relationship with Trump, and why he may have withheld cooperation. In the texts, Manafort repeatedly lavishes superlative praise on Hannity, who in addition to hosting slavish pro-Trump propaganda, also gives the president private advice frequently. “You are so important to saving our country,” Manafort says, at one point complaining that in a fair world, Hannity would get a Pulitzer prize.

Manafort repeatedly assures Hannity (and, therefore, Trump) that he won’t flip on the president. “I won’t give in,” he insists. At one point, Hannity asks why Manafort does not “get a sweetheart deal like [Rick] Gates?,” his former partner who cooperated with Mueller in exchange for a dramatically reduced prison sentence. Manafort replies, “They would want me to give up dt [President Trump] or family, especially jk [Jared Kushner]. I would never do that.” Hannity tells Manafort to “stay strong.”



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