The one argument that Paul Manafort has consistently made in court, since it became apparent that his would be the most bitter legal battle fought on the Trump/Russia front prior to the main event, is that even if he did commit some sort of crimes, and even if those crimes were in some way related to Russia, or his prior work in Ukraine, or his unregistered lobbying, they still had nothing to do with his work for the Trump Campaign.
That’s been important for both Trump — who stands to be proven as at the very least an impostor to the desk of the president — and for Manafort himself, who is worried about the difference between being convicted of simple money laundering versus something a little more serious, like, say, treason.
And giving Manafort a glimmer of hope has seemed a pastime of the federal judges he’s been before so far. One Virginia magistrate openly questioned the Mueller team’s motives and ability to tie together the literal mountains of evidence they’ve gathered into one cohesive case against Manafort and Trump as a binary entity, accusing Team America of not actually caring about Manafort’s various crimes, but instead caring more “about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”
Fair enough, Judge. Allow Mr. Mueller to rebut.
Buried in the news about Manafort’s loss in court in his attempt to have the venue of one of his two criminal trials moved, and the salacious tidbit that Manafort is actually kept in solitary “23 hours a day to guarantee his safety” was a pretty bold claim by the Special Counsel team that should turn Manafort into the shiver that’s been looking for Trump’s spine to crawl up: Prosecutors plan to introduce evidence in the Virginia case that will tie Manafort’s crimes directly to the Trump Campaign.
I’m guessing the hunt produces a whole lot of witches who get burned at the stake that day.
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery