Veteran political commentator Pat Buchanan said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that the charges leveled against former Trump campaign director Paul Manafort and associate Rick Gates by Special Counsel Robert Mueller are “going to be something of a letdown” for Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans.
Speaking on Monday, Buchanan said that the charges against Manafort and Gates do not amount to “smoking gun” evidence being sought that would tie President Donald Trump’s campaign to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Manafort and Gates were indicted on multiple federal charges on Monday.
"I thought the investigation was supposed to be about collusion between Trump and [Russian President] Putin. And what they have done is they have taken a campaign manager who was with Trump for three months and apparently gone back all the way to 2012 or 2010, 2011 and indicted him for income tax evasion and things like that," Buchanan said.
"So what it tells me is that after a year of investigation, or more than that by the FBI, and many, many months by Mr. Mueller, they haven't got it. They have not found the smoking gun ... on the collusion between Trump and Vladimir Putin," he added. "And so I think that, you know, I think this is going to be something of a letdown to these folks.”
Buchanan said that Americans should be attentive to revelations of the last two weeks that connect Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee to the salacious, discredited dossier on Trump and Russia. It was revealed last week that the DNC and the Clinton campaign paid for a report produced by a British intelligence agent and based on Russian sources that sought to embarass Trump during the election campaign.
Buchanan told show host Laura Ingraham that the news warrants attention. "There are big questions on this, Laura, and I hope they're going to get into them," he said. "Was the dossier and the dirt this fellow got from the Russians, was that sent to the FBI, passed on to the White House and used for unmasking the phone calls of Trump, used for beginning the big investigation into Trump and all the rest of it?" He added, "This thing stinks to high heaven. And you haven't got all the dots connected yet. But what was the basis for those [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrants that were issued, you know, to look into Donald Trump's people? And what was the basis of unmasking all the phone calls with all Trump's people with the Russians?"
Buchanan said that the roles played by the Obama administration, and the dossier's author, Christopher Steele, need to be aired. "I mean, the real connection here — it seems to me we're getting to, we haven't connected all the dots — is between Steele, the Russians, the KGB and FSB agents, and then the FBI and what went to the White House," he said.