Fox News’ Shepard Smith and Napolitano Talk Manafort Bombshell: ‘This Would Be Collusion’
Donald Trump‘s repeated claims that there was “no collusion” continue to fall apart following the latest news about former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, which Fox News anchor Shep Smith says “would be collusion” if true.
According to a recent court filing that was not properly redacted, Manafort shared polling data and had multiple other contacts with alleged Russian intelligence asset Konstantin Kilimnik. On Wednesday afternoon’s edition of Fox News’ Shepard Smith Reporting, Smith discussed the developments with Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.
Napolitano explained the court filing that Manafort’s lawyers failed to properly redact, and said that “the part they forgot to seal was that the FBI accused Paul Manafort of lying about whether or not he gave confidential campaign polling data, at the height of the campaign, to a Russian oligarch who the FBI has identified as a source for Russian intelligence.”
“A Putin man?” Smith said.
“Yes,” Napolitano answered.
“This shows that Bob Mueller can demonstrate to a court, without the testimony of Paul Manafort, that the campaign had a connection to Russian intelligence, and the connection involved information going from the campaign to the Russians,” he continued. “The question is, was this in return for a promise of something from the Russians, and did the candidate, now the president, know about it.”
“And would that be conspiracy?” Smith asked.
“Yes,” Napolitano said, and added that “The crime would be to receive something of value from a foreign person, or government, during a campaign. Whether or not the thing of value arrives, the agreement is what is the crime. There was apparently an agreement between the campaign’s manager and this Russian oligarch. What the oligarch did with the material we gave him, who the campaign manager Paul Manafort spoke to in the campaign, Bob Mueller yet to reveal.”
Napolitano may have misspoken when he called Kilimnik an “oligarch,” or conflated Kilimnik with a Russian oligarch who was reported to have been the ultimate recipient of the data, a report which was later corrected. Manafort directed Kilimnik, through an intermediary, to send the information to a pair of Ukrainian oligarchs, according to the new reporting.
But Kilimnik is an alleged Russian asset, and was given the confidential data, according to the filing, so Napolitano’s analysis stands either way.
“This is collusion, though,” Smith said. “Collusion isn’t a crime, but this would be collusion.”
“The crime is conspiracy, the agreement, collusion is a nonlegal term.” Napolitano said, but agreed that Manafort’s actions “would fit into that category.”
He also pointed out that the new information destroys Trump’s talking point that the crimes Manafort was convicted of all occurred years before the campaign. “This event that has been outlined in these court papers occurred during the campaign,” Napolitano said.
Watch the clip above, via Fox News.
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com