After an interesting Friday morning, which included President Donald Trump saying that his new attorney Rudy Giuliani would be getting his “facts straight” on the Stormy Daniels payment (and Giuliani did attempt to do this in a statement), Trump made an appearance in Dallas, Texas at the NRA Convention.
Among the many topics Trump would cover, it is notable that he made reference to an incident that took place in a Virginia court earlier in the day at a hearing in the Paul Manafort case.
As Law&Crime covered earlier, Judge T.S. Ellis called out Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s team and questioned Mueller’s intentions and authority on the Manafort indictment for alleged bank and tax fraud.
Ellis, a 77-year-old Ronald Reagan appointee, expressed skepticism that Mueller’s team actually cares about the former Trump campaign chairman‘s alleged crimes, saying, “I don’t see what relation this indictment has with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate.”
“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud […] What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment,” he continued.
The judge also said Mueller should not have “unfettered power” in the Russia probe.
“What we don’t want in this country, we don’t want anyone with unfettered power,” he said. “It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special counsel has unlimited powers to do anything her or she wants.”
Well, Trump walked up on the NRA stage and had printed out news articles about this in his suit jacket, which he then read.
The CNN video, which you can watch above, shows Trump calling CNN fake news (not without a dig at NBC News for possibly being “maybe more distorted and worse,” given the wiretap story correction) and then reading CNN’s reporting as proof that a witch hunt is afoot.
“Now, Paul Manafort’s a nice guy. He worked for me for a very short period of time. Literally for like, what, a couple of months? Little period of time,” he said. “Then what happens? [Manafort] worked for Ronald Reagan, he worked for Bob Dole, they worked I think as a firm for John McCain, they worked for others. Does anybody say that? No.”
“But he’s out there fighting on fake news CNN — I think NBC may be more distorted and worse but — no, but on cnn they have a headline ‘Judge in Manafort Case Says Mueller’s Aim Is to Hurt Trump.'”
“I just said give me that article, I want to read it. Just happened a few minutes before I walked on stage. A federal judge questioned special counsel Robert Mueller’s authority to bring tax and bank fraud charges unrelated — unrelated, nobody knows that — unrelated to the 2016 election against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.”
He then said Judge Ellis “is really something special, I hear from many standpoints.”
Trump said, as he often does, that “It’s a witch hunt.”
“None of that information has to do with information related to the russian government coordination and the campaign of Donald Trump. It doesn’t have anything to do [with it]. It’s from years before,” he said.
[Image via CNN screengrab]