Former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said Fox News host Sean Hannity was his “back channel” to the White House while Manafort was being investigated for financial crimes, according to newly released documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Text messages released in June 2019 showed how friendly Manafort and Hannity were as they complained together about the investigation into Manafort. But the newly released documents show Manafort thought Hannity was a conduit for receiving messages from the president.
The memos from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election were obtained through a freedom of information request, and contain summaries of FBI witness interviews.
In his interview summary dated October 2018, Manafort told the special counsel’s office that he “knew Hannity was speaking to Trump around then 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 memo said that Manafort understood that if he wanted to send a message to Trump he could go through one of their mutual friends, like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or businessman Tom Barrack (or two other names which were redacted), but he chose not to do so.
While Manafort appeared to believe he was receiving messages of support from Trump via Hannity, former White House staff secretary Rob Porter said in a separate interview in May 2018 that Trump “never liked Manafort.”
Manafort is serving more than seven years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court and being convicted in Virginia on tax and bank fraud charges.
Fox News didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
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