Paul Manafort, the man who has been seen as the key to understanding what Donald Trump’s role in Russia’s interference in our 2016 presidential election was, has finally figured out he’s not getting a pardon and agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller, according to Kevin Downing, his attorney.
Last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson formally accepted Manafort’s guilty plea, to two felony conspiracy counts.
This news was not unexpected, and in fact, probably represents the last nail in the coffin of the Trump presidency. It comes on the heels of Manafort’s courthouse defeat in Virginia last month, in which he was convicted on eight more felony charges. A mistrial was declared on the other ten counts, but the government reserves the right to retry them.
Manafort seems finally to have had enough. He has tapped out.
Ken Starr, the semi-pornographer who led the investigation into President Bill Clinton, said Sunday he was not surprised to see the former Trump campaign manager cooperate. “He was under tremendous pressure,” said Starr, a former judge.
No doubt, buddy.
White House Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform in the Obama administration, Norman Eisen, has predicted that Trump will not survive Manafort’s testimony.
Eisen, the Obama ethics lawyer, said there is a possibility Manafort will lead prosecutors to Trump. T.S. Ellis, the presiding judge in Manafort’s Virginia trial, reproached Mueller’s team last spring for trying to “get something on President Trump”, and implying that was the goal of prosecuting Manafort for tax and bank fraud in the first place.
Ellis took a sympathetic stance viz. Manafort many times during that trial, in our opinion, but he was found guilty on eight counts anyway, and he was facing yet another trial this month. Trump’s pat on the head for his “bravery” was not, apparently, worth doing life in prison for. Manafort has finally had enough.
And thus did the lone holdout, the one man perceived beyond all others to hold the key to understanding all of this, finally collapse. With it, Trump’s presidency is almost certain to fall as well.
Here at Millennial Democrats, we weren’t quite around to report on it last year when Donald Trump Jr.’s infamous meeting at Trump Tower with Kremlin-linked attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, which Mueller is said to have taken a keen interest in, was discovered.
But we were around when the New York Times reported last September that Manafort was informed of his impending indictment in August, during an early-morning raid at his Virginia home.
We were present a third time when the special counsel Robert Mueller gave Trump an early Christmas present, by way of getting the cooperation of Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn, a man who was at another famous meeting, this one in Russia with Manafort and Jill Stein– and Vladimir Putin.
All of these were nails in the coffin. After that, they started falling like rain. Rick Gates, Sam Nunberg, and so on. This time, however, we’re not just discussing another nail. We’re discussing the final nail.
If you were online and using social media, particularly Facebook, in 2016 and saw this whole thing taking place before your eyes, you probably tried to tell people.
The people you told probably rolled their eyes, especially when you told them about Bernie Sanders‘ campaign being involved(Bernie’s old manager Tad Devine was the first witness called at Manafort’s trial), and you got that. You knew you probably sounded paranoid, but just the same. Something was going on, and sooner or later, the authorities would get involved.
We just hoped it would be in time to salvage the election. It was not.
Manafort’s agreeing to cooperate represent the culmination of nearly two years worth of effort, at this point, and for those of us who have followed the Russiagate developments, nothing could ever possibly come as a better piece of news.
Later on Friday, we saw Mueller’s plea agreement with Manafort on Friday take all-but-unprecedented steps to undercut Trump’s ability to pardon his former campaign chairman. He Trump-proofed it by making sure Manafort knows that if he does accept a pardon, the government will take everything he owns.
To the kind of guy who would spend twelve grand on a pocketwatch, no punishment could be worse.
Good bye, Donald.