Paul Manafort’s pleading guilty to unrelated crimes won’t hurt President Donald Trump as the chief executive deals with an investigation of alleged Russian collusion, former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova predicted on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” Friday.
“This is all quite good for the president because it makes his point quite beautifully. This is where the rubber meets the road. There has never been any evidence of collusion by the president of the United States or his campaign. And the plea by Manafort today simply underscores that,” diGenova told host Laura Ingraham.
Manafort previously worked for a few months as chairman of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign against the Republican nominee’s Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He pleaded guilty in federal court Friday on multiple charges related to his finances beginning more than a decade ago.
The plea deal includes Manafort’s agreement to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of allegations that Trump campaign aides colluded with Russian interests against Clinton in the 2016 race.
Special counsel Robert Mueller focused on him early in his investigation into whether the president or his associates colluded with Russian interests to influence the presidential election of 2016. Manafort committed the alleged crimes more than a decade prior to the election, while he did work for the government of Ukraine.
DiGenova said there is plenty of evidence of collusive wrongdoing by Democrats during and after the 2016 campaign. He points to the questionable nature of the so-called Steele dossier and how it led to the investigation into the president. The scandalous dossier helped support a request for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to spy on Carter Page and thus the Trump campaign indirectly.
The Democratic dossier was prepared by Christopher Steele, a former British spy with deep connections to Russian intelligence. Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) indirectly paid for the dossier.
The House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform committees have been investigating decisions the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI made during two major investigations tied to the presidential election of 2016 — the Mueller probe and a separate examination of Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct official government business as secretary of state.
“I can assure you, Mr. Comey has been very silent in recent weeks and the reason is very simple. He knows he’s going to be indicted.”
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and other Republicans have called the dossier and investigation into question, arguing there was bias against the president. He argued during a congressional hearing on August 28 that there is compelling evidence that the DOJ and FBI knew there was no collusion prior to opening up the FISA applications.
Former FBI Director James Comey has been a focal point in allegations that the president is being unfairly targeted. DiGenova predicted during the interview that he will be indicted as part of an investigation into agency officials.
DiGenova said a federal grand jury is collecting testimony and evidence on Comey and other officials including former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
“James Baker, the former general counsel of the FBI, has turned over state evidence and is fully cooperating with the inspector general and the federal grand jury. I can assure you, Mr. Comey has been very silent in recent weeks and the reason is very simple. He knows he’s going to be indicted,” diGenova said.