CNN legal analyst Laura Coates used simple logic Friday to end an argument with GOP strategist Adolfo Franco after he insisted Paul Manafort’s guilty plea is “no indictment” of Donald Trump.
“What did the president know and when did he know it?” CNN commentator Paul Begala said during the panel discussion of Manafort’s plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, citing the infamous question asked by former Sen. Howard Baker (R-TN) during the Watergate hearings.
“Mr. Manafort would not have gotten this deal if he did not have information that Mueller did not have,” Begala noted. “And Mueller has everything, so he’s got to have something.”
The commentator noted that the former Trump campaign chairman likely knows who set up the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian lawyer, adding that Donald Trump, Jr. placed calls to a blocked number and that his father is known for blocking his phone number.
Franco claimed that Begala’s line of reasoning was “all supposition,” and cut him off when he defended the claims by noting that they were facts.
“We just had a trial in Virginia that had absolutely nothing to do with President Trump and it had to do with Paul Manafort’s business dealings,” the strategist said, adding that he thinks “American intelligence might also be very interested in pursuing some of these matters with Mr. Manafort.”
“Guilt by association is not a crime,” he continued. “When you have people involved in a campaign, and every administration has had problems with certain officials, I don’t think that’s an indictment on the president in the legal sense.”
Coates jumped in soon after.
“Here’s why your premise is false,” she said. “Because the actual mandate of Robert Mueller is not to attack the president or Donald Trump. It was to probe whether there was collusive activity between members of the Trump campaign and a foreign nation.”
Watch below, via MSNBC: