Conservative political commentator Pat Buchanan said Monday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that the charges leveled against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe are “going to be something of a letdown” to Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans.
Buchanan, former communications director to President Ronald Reagan and two-time presidential candidate, noted that the charges President Donald Trump’s two former campaign officials fielded don’t provide the “smoking gun” evidence tying Trump’s campaign to Russia’s 2016 U.S. election interference for which many anti-Trump Americans had hoped.
"I thought the investigation was supposed to be about collusion between Trump and [Russian President] Putin. And what they have done is they have taken a campaign manager who was with Trump for three months and apparently gone back all the way to 2012 or 2010, 2011 and indicted him for income tax evasion and things like that," Buchanan said.
"So what it tells me is that after a year of investigation, or more than that by the FBI, and many, many months by Mr. Mueller, they haven't got it. They have not found the smoking gun ... on the collusion between Trump and Vladimir Putin," he added. "And so I think that, you know, I think this is going to be something of a letdown to these folks.”
While the country responds to Mueller's first charges in the Russia probe, Buchanan also urged the U.S. to pay attention to the revelations that have been pouring in over the past couple of weeks tying the Democratic National Committee and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign to the discredited dossier on Trump and Russia.
Buchanan told LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham that the news revealing the Clinton campaign and the DNC helped fund the research that went into compiling the salacious allegations in the dossier should warrant significant attention from anyone who claims to be interested in and focused on Russia's election interference.
"There are big questions on this, Laura, and I hope they're going to get into them," he said. "Was the dossier and the dirt this fellow got from the Russians, was that sent to the FBI, passed on to the White House and used for unmasking the phone calls of Trump, used for beginning the big investigation into Trump and all the rest of it?"
"This thing stinks to high heaven," Buchanan added. "And you haven't got all the dots connected yet. But what was the basis for those [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrants that were issued, you know, to look into Donald Trump's people? And what was the basis of unmasking all the phone calls with all Trump's people with the Russians?"
Noting that not all of the dots have been connected yet on the various facets of Russia-related investigations, Buchanan said that the part the Obama administration played and the part the dossier's author, Christopher Steele, played require further scrutiny.
"I mean, the real connection here — it seems to me we're getting to, we haven't connected all the dots — is between Steele, the Russians, the KGB and FSB agents, and then the FBI and what went to the White House," he said.