New scrutiny of potential Manafort links with Russia
“Those two facts don’t sit comfortably together,” said Paul Rosenzweig, a fellow with the R Street Institute think tank and a former legal adviser to the Whitewater independent counsel, Ken Starr. “The question for the president presumes an act not yet in evidence: communication between Manafort and Russia. It strongly suggests Mueller has some reason to think such conversations occurred.”
That tension raised doubts about whether Mueller is sitting on bombshell evidence of Manafort’s collusion with Russia — or is still fishing for proof that investigators haven’t managed to dredge up in more than a year of sleuthing.
Rosenzweig doubts Mueller is bluffing. “He asks questions with some predication,” the attorney said.
Rosenzweig said the “no records” response from Mueller’s team could come down to the specific question Manafort’s lawyers asked. They did not attach copies of the correspondence to their motion filed Monday night.
“It could be a case of Manafort’s people asking the wrong question, or telling you the answer they want to tell you the answer to,” Rosenzweig said.