Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team reportedly thought it could build a case showing conspiracy between Russian officials and the Trump campaign — but they were thwarted by former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s incessant lying.
Appearing on CNN Monday, Washington Post reporter Rosalind Helderman said that it was inaccurate to conclude that Mueller’s team believed early on that they would not be able to establish a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign.
In fact, she notes, they weighed the possibility of such a conspiracy even as they were writing their final report.
“They were working on that case all the way until just before the report was completed and submitted,” she said. “They were looking to see if there was a case, that there was some kind of a criminal conspiracy with Russia or also through WikiLeaks.”
One particular avenue prosecutors were exploring was why Manafort was sharing internal campaign polling data with Ukrainian national Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the FBI has accused of being a Russian spy.
“They said they could not answer that question, why he was doing that,” she said. “They had some evidence that it was an attempt to sort of impress business leaders in the Ukraine and Russia so that he could make money. But they had this sort of torturous time period in September and October where they were bringing Paul Manafort in from jail for session after session with investigators to debrief him, and ultimately they threw up their hands and told the judge they thought he was lying.”
Watch the video below.
Trump may look unstable now — but the economy is going to make him much worse: CNN’s April Ryan
On Thursday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," analyst and American Urban Radio Network Washington bureau chief April Ryan walked through how President Donald Trump backed himself into a corner by trying to build his brand on a great economy — and is coming to pieces as a result.
"April, what are you hearing? Is the economy causing the president's erratic behavior?" asked anchor Kate Bolduan.
"Yes, yes, and yes," said Ryan. "This president has been touting a great economy, and this is the cornerstone since I guess since the very beginning of his administration for people to feel that he should win re-election, that he is firmly planted for the American public and he's working for them," said Ryan. "But indicators, non-traditional indicators, are saying something different. He is having a hard time trying to marry the great economy with what it looks like for the American public, particularly the grassroots."
‘It is all crazy’: CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin goes off on people who try to insist Trump’s rants are just jokes
On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin scorned the idea from President Donald Trump's defenders that rants like his recent anointment of himself as "the chosen one" are made in jest, for entertainment value.
"One of the strange things about President Trump is that nobody has ever seen him laugh, like a full laugh on camera," said Toobin. "Think about it. You never see it. And this notion of explaining crazy things he says as jokes is not — that is just not true. He does not joke. When he said 'Russia, you know, I want you to find Hillary Clinton's emails,' they tried to explain it as a joke. It wasn't. Russia went right to work trying to find Hillary's emails."
‘It’s always dread with President Trump’: CNN analyst says G7 leaders are revolted they have to meet with Trump again
On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," reporter Abby Phillip said that world leaders are feeling "dread" about the prospect of meeting with President Donald Trump after his latest round of erratic behavior on the world stage.
"There is a big test on foreign relations for President Trump this weekend," said host Brianna Keilar. "He's going to the G7. He, Abby, is headed there after insulting Denmark by pulling out of a state visit, keeping in mind that Denmark is a key intel and military ally of the U.S. What is the mood going into this forum?"
"Honestly, it's always dread with President Trump," said Phillip.