With all the other crazy ways in which President Trump’s criminal scandals are escalating this weekend, it has become surprisingly easy to forget that his crooked campaign chairman Paul Manafort is on trial. Of course, trials often take a break on the weekend, giving us a while to stop and evaluate how things are going for Mr. Manafort so far. One legal expert who has a detailed knowledge of the presidential scandals says that the first four days in the trial have already doomed Manafort.
When witness list Mueller was using against Paul Manafort was initially revealed, it consisted of mostly unrecognizable names, leading many observers disappointed that it wasn’t a proxy trial of President Trump. Mueller’s goal here was probably just to get a felony conviction on Manafort as quickly as possible, since it would legitimize his entire investigation, and give him an advantage against Trump and all the other goons he’s taking down. And one of those supposedly “no name” witnesses just dropped a bombshell.
John Dean, who testified against Richard Nixon and helped to take him down during Watergate, put it like this on Twitter: “Manafort’s bookkeepers pretty much gave him a oneway ticket to jail with their testimony— one admitted (w/ immunity) he had cheated on his taxes with her knowledge.” Paul Manafort is in jail for violating bail, of course, but Dean is talking about Paul Manafort being given a long prison sentence. This explains why Mueller’s team informed the judge earlier in the week that it might wrap up the case as soon as this next week; it’s that cut and dry.
Manafort is facing a second federal trial in the fall, where the charges are more complicated and more closely related to the Trump-Russia scandal. As for now, Mueller’s goal is to get Manafort convicted quickly on the financial crimes, so that he can use the conviction as a stepping stone to help him imprison the biggest Trump-Russia fish.