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Hannity Discussed Trump Legal Plans With Manafort, Messages Show
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=30101"><span class="small">Jon Swaine, Guardian UK</span></a>   
Saturday, 22 June 2019 13:28

Swaine writes: "The Fox News host Sean Hannity discussed Donald Trump's legal strategy with Paul Manafort while Manafort was awaiting trial, it emerged on Friday."

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort arrives at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., for a hearing on June 15. (photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort arrives at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., for a hearing on June 15. (photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Hannity Discussed Trump Legal Plans With Manafort, Messages Show

By Jon Swaine, Guardian UK

22 June 2019

Messages, which were previously filed as a secret attachment to a sentencing memo, were unsealed in Manafort’s federal court case

he Fox News host Sean Hannity discussed Donald Trump’s legal strategy with Paul Manafort while Manafort was awaiting trial, it emerged on Friday.

Hundreds of text messages between Hannity, who is a close confidant of the president, and Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, were released by a judge in Washington DC.

While many contained only affectionate messages of support – “I love you … you are the best … that was powerful,” Manafort told Hannity after one TV broadcast – some featured discussion of the legal challenges facing the president and his allies.

On 25 January last year, Manafort expressed concern to Hannity that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, might threaten charges against Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner in an attempt to pressure Trump to agree to an interview.

“He won’t agree,” Hannity replied. “The lawyers will fight tooth and nail. Proffered agreement. All pre planned. Anything else I would take to SC,” he added, apparently alluding to Trump potentially challenging Mueller at the US supreme court.

Hannity is known to speak frequently with Trump by telephone. In August 2017, Hannity warned Manafort that any supporter of Trump would be “road kill” in the investigations into his circle.

“I hope Potus understands your point,” Manafort replied, using the common abbreviation for the president of the United States. In response, Hannity said: “I tell him a lot. A real lot. Brutally honest relationship.”

The text messages were filed to court under seal as an exhibit by Mueller’s team during Manafort’s prosecution in Washington DC for financial crimes. It was not immediately clear what the messages were used to demonstrate.

Manafort pleaded guilty to charges in Washington DC after having been convicted on eight charges in a separate trial in Virginia last year. He received a combined sentence of about seven and a half years in prison for his convictions.

The former campaign chairman complained repeatedly to Hannity about the conduct of Mueller’s senior attorneys, claiming they were pressuring him to lie about wrongdoing by Trump and Kushner in return for favorable treatment.

“They would want me to give up DT or family, esp JK. I would never do that,” he wrote when asked why he had not been given a “sweetheart deal” like another defendant in his case. But there were no crimes to report, Manafort claimed. “They will want me to make shit up on both. I will never do that,” he said.

Other text messages released on Friday showed Hannity alluding to further conversations with Trump. On 3 February last year, he wrote to Manafort: “I’m disgusted at this corruption. It should not happen in the USA. I can tell u Potus is disgusted too.”

Hannity also appeared to claim he had inside information on developments at high levels of the administration. At one point he purported to know the release date of an investigation report. And in November 2017, Manafort told Hannity he hoped Jeff Sessions, then the US attorney general, would appoint a “new spec pros”.

Conservative activists have demanded a second special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, Trump’s defeated 2016 opponent, and/or the origins of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign.

In response, Hannity appeared to say Sessions would have to do so or “he is gone”, though an apparent typographical error replaced “or” with “it”. Hannity explained he had “talked to a friend”. Manafort replied: “Fingers crossed you are right.”

In March last year, Hannity said in a message to Manafort that Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, was to withdraw his guilty plea to a charge of lying to the FBI. Flynn did not do so but recently replaced his attorneys, sparking speculation that he may yet.

Asked to confirm the texts were Hannity’s, a Fox News spokeswoman responded with a statement from Hannity that said: “My view of the special counsel investigation and the treatment of Paul Manafort were made clear every day to anyone who listens to my radio show or watches my TV show.” Hannity also tweeted the statement.

The name and telephone number of the sender were redacted in the released documents. But the messages were littered with clues. In some messages, Hannity signed off as “Sean” while in others Manafort addressed him by that name. Hannity also referred to having had a long career in television and radio.

In August 2017, Manafort’s texting partner referred to being 55 years old and having started out as a dishwasher and construction worker. Hannity, who was 55 at the time, has said he held those two jobs early in his adult life.

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-11 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-06-22 14:41
I read some of these. It is good to see that some of Manafort's conversations with others is now coming out. I hope a lot more does. The story of Manafort has been totally a one sided leak spasm to the media who just reviled him. The conversations with Hannity paint a much better and more sympathetic case.

Two things struck me:

1. Manafort knows he has been captured by a truly cruel son of a bitch -- Mueller. He knows Mueller knows no limits to this viciousness. He will destroy anyone to get to Trump. It turns out that Manafort was wrong. Meuller at some point gave up.

2. Manafort says he will never rat out Trump, no matter what Mueller does to him. Hope Hicks would not rat out Trump. Roger Stone won't. I think Mueller confronted something he's never seen before: people who are strong enough to take a total beating from the federal gestapo and never surrender. We see Chelsea Manning doing that now.

Manafort is still in solitary confinement. He is still not allowed to talk about his case. He looks more now like a political prisoner. At some point this will break open. Exculpatory evidence is coming out. I have not heard, but probably Manafort's attorneys are working on an appeal.