Newly released documents from Robert Mueller’s two- year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election details the FBI’s interviews with Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort. The new documents reveal that Manafort informed officials from the FBI that he used Sean Hannity of Fox News as a “backchannel” to Donald Trump while he knew that he was under investigation by the FBI.
The new documents show that Manafort told the FBI that Hannity would send him messages telling him to “hang in there” and reminding him that Trump was “on his side.”
These new revelations are contained on pages 21-22 of a new document dump The document dump is the result of a successful Freedom of Information Act suit that had been brought by the media outlet BuzzFeed. This latest document dump was several hundred pages long.
The newly released documents reveal that Manafort did not speak to Trump or anyone closely associated with him other than Hannity around the time that The New York Times reported about a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and an attorney connected to the Kremlin. Manafort informed FBI agents that Hannity was a close friend and “certainly a backchannel” to Trump. Manafort also shared that he understood Hannity was in direct communication with Trump.
“Manafort knew Hannity was speaking to Trump because Hannity would tell Manafort to hang in there, that he had been talking to Trump, that Trump had his back, and things like that,” the memos said. “Manafort understood his conversations with Hannity to be a message from Trump.”
The documents went on to show that while Manafort understood he could get messages to Trump through other administration members close to him he chose to use Hannity almost
Back In 2019, a federal judge released dozens of pages of text messages between Manafort and Hannity. The two men often expressed mutual respect for each other. Manafirt would often praise Hannity’s Fox News program. In one text message, Hannity told Manafort that he wanted to be clear that he was not a “fair-weather friend.” he also stressed that they were “on the same team.”
The Justice Department charged Manafort in October of 2017, with financial crimes directly linked to his work with Russia’s interests in Ukraine. Manafort is serving seven-yers in prison after being convicted of eight of the counts against him.
Fox News has not responded to the situation.