Tag Archives: Paul Manafort

Can all these observers be so totally wrong?

Social media are exploding at this moment. They are swarming with comments, predictions, speculation, conjecture and assorted opinions that seem to run along the same line.

Donald John Trump is in seriously deep doo-doo. Three of his former close aides and friends — Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort — are convicted felons. Cohen today received a three-year prison sentence. The president’s former “fixer” and friend is now getting ready to wear a prison jump suit.

I’m not sure what the future holds for Flynn, the former Army general and national security adviser and Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman.

The social media chatter, though, is alive and abuzz with belief that Donald Trump might be among the next tall tree to fall.

Can they all be wrong? Can they all be mistaken?

The odds are against that notion. It looks to me as though the odds are lengthening about whether Donald Trump is going to finish his term as president of the United States.

This drama needs to play itself out.

A pardon for Manafort? Consider the consequence

There’s a good bit of speculation afoot about why Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman who pleaded guilty to felony charges and then agreed cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller, would lie repeatedly to Mueller’s team.

Mueller is looking into whether Trump’s campaign “colluded” with Russians who attacked our election system in 2016. Manafort was thought to have a lot of answers to Mueller’s many questions. Then he lied, according to Mueller. Manafort blew the plea deal apart.

But . . . why? Some analysts suggest Manafort might be angling for a presidential pardon.

I have two words for them: Gerald Ford.

A presidential pardon is likely to explode like a volcano over the political landscape. Hey, come to think of it, if such an event results in Trump’s ouster, then I am all for it!

Back to President Ford. The president took office in August 1974 after President Richard Nixon resigned in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Barely a month in office, the new president issued a blanket pardon for any offenses his predecessor might have committed. He freed President Nixon from any prosecution.

Ford was vilified at the time for the pardon. He ran for election in 1976 and lost that year narrowly to Jimmy Carter. The pardon was seen at the time as a major contributor to the president’s defeat.

I was among those who criticized Ford at the time. Since then my views have changed about President Ford and the pardon. But the damage was done in real time.

If the current president thinks he is going to cover his backside from any incriminating circumstance by pardoning Paul Manafort, he is likely instead to purchase a whole basket full of political crises.

I am now wondering whether the president has any idea of what might transpire if he is foolish enough to take such an action.

Trump campaign chairman violates plea deal . . . wow!

“After signing the plea agreement, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement.”

So it goes in a statement issued today jointly by special counsel Robert Mueller and the defense team working for Paul Manafort, the former chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Manafort has been convicted of felony crimes related money laundering and tax evasion. He then pleaded guilty to more charges and agreed with work with Mueller, who is investigating allegations that the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Now come a series of highly critical questions. What is Manafort hiding? Who is he seeking to protect? And the big one: Will the president issue a blanket pardon to clear Manafort from spending any time in prison?

It is astonishing in the absolute extreme to hear these accusations coming from Mueller, that Manafort agreed to a plea deal, agreed to cooperate with the special counsel . . .  only to lie and violate the terms of the agreement.

This isn’t a case of incompetence or of Manafort making a dumbass mistake. This looks like some sort of plot by Manafort to block the special counsel’s efforts at determining the unvarnished truth behind some serious allegations leveled against the president, his campaign team and his closest presidential advisers.

This case is getting even more serious and more troublesome for the president, as if it wasn’t reaching critical mass even without this stunning revelation about Manafort.

Something tells me that the excrement is about to hit the fan.

Manafort holds one of the keys to Trump survival

Let’s concede Norm Eisen’s partisan leaning: He served as ethics chief for President Barack H. Obama.

So, when he predicts that Donald J. Trump “won’t survive” whatever his former campaign chairman tells special counsel Robert Mueller, it is good to take it with a bit of a grain of salt.

However … the man might know something the rest of us don’t know.

Will the president survive?

Manafort has agreed to cooperate with Mueller after pleading guilty to two felony counts; he’s already been convicted of eight felony charges and faces a lengthy prison term.

Manafort is near the top of the Trump campaign’s chain of command. There ain’t much room between him and the very top 00 which would be Donald Trump.

Manafort is reportedly planning to talk — if he hasn’t already — to Mueller’s legal eagles who are trying to determine whether the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Mueller’s probe is a wide-ranging — but totally legal and appropriate — examination of this troublesome issue.

He’s already reeled in some big fish. He’s gotten guilty pleas and has persuaded some big campaign hitters to cooperate with his probe.

Manafort clearly is the biggest fish to date.

Sure, the White House says it has “nothing to fear” from a Manafort guilty plea. You expect that kind of thing from the White House and from those associated with the president. They, too, are partisans.

Given my own bias, though, I’m going to go with Norm Eisen’s view that Trump might not “survive” whatever Manafort spills to Robert Mueller.

The walls are closing in on the president

I am pretty sure we can toss aside the comment from the White House that Paul Manafort’s guilty plea will have no impact on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 presidential election.

We have come to expect such false bravado from Donald J. Trump’s team. It delivered the goods yet again when Manafort pleaded guilty to two felony charges and gave Mueller a promise to “cooperate” with his probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system.

Manafort is the biggest fish that Mueller has reeled in. Manafort is the former campaign chairman for Trump. He left the campaign in mid-stride, handing over campaign management duties to Kellyanne Conway.

I, of course, have no way of knowing with any certainty about the mood within the White House. However, when I do the math, I find that two plus two still equals four.

Manafort’s guilty plea and pending cooperation cannot bode well for the president. That brings me to the question of the day: Will the president pardon Manafort and expose himself to accusations of obstruction of justice?

The threat is growing

Trump shouldn’t go there. Then again, he has shown a tendency to do things just because he can. The president has unquestioned power to pardon anyone he chooses. Is this president enough of a fool to do the most foolish thing imaginable at this point in the investigation? I am not putting a single thing past this guy.

Yes, the walls are closing in. However, I won’t predict the president’s downfall. I mean, he wasn’t supposed to win the 2016 election in the first place.

We all know what happened.

Oh, and then Manafort agrees to cooperate with Mueller

The nation is fixated on the troubles and heartache that have been brought to the Carolina coast by Hurricane Florence.

Then this happened …

Former Donald Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort has pleaded guilty to two more felony charges — and then has agreed to “cooperate” with special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into whether the campaign “colluded” with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Manafort has copped a plea admitting conspiracy and witness tampering.

Is this how a “rigged witch hunt” is supposed to go? Oh, no. Mueller probe is proceeding. Manafort now joins other campaign aides and former White House staffers who have been determined to have done something illegal while working for the president of the United States.

Manafort already has been convicted by a trial jury of eight felony counts involving money laundering and tax evasion. He faces a lengthy prison term.

It would be foolish in the extreme to try to predict the outcome of whatever Manafort will tell Mueller and his team of legal eagles.

However, Mueller’s reputation as a painstaking, meticulous and detail-oriented lawyer reportedly is well-earned.

And so … the drama continues to build.

‘Witch hunt’ produces another guilty plea

Robert Mueller’s “rigged witch hunt” has reeled in another Big One.

Paul Manafort, the former Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign chairman — who’s already facing a lengthy prison term because of a prior felony conviction — is going to plead guilty to another felony charge … reportedly.

Mueller, the special counsel assigned to examine the “Russia thing,” has reportedly worked out a deal with Manafort, who’ll plead guilty to avoid another costly trial. The Russia thing, of course, centers on allegations that the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Is there going to be a flip?

Here’s the big question that is slated to get answered sometime Friday: Is the former Trump campaign boss going to cooperate with Mueller? Hmm. I don’t know what he’ll do. Mueller ain’t talking, which is his M.O., unlike the president, who likes to blab his brains out via Twitter at every opportunity.

Trump no doubt will fire off yet another “witch hunt” allegation, which of course is nonsense. It would be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high.

The president’s political future keeps looking a bit murkier with every guilty plea, every former aide who rolls over. However murky the future appears to be getting, it doesn’t yet have much form.

Even with the news that Paul Manafort is getting ready to plead guilty, we cannot yet know the impact it will have on the future of the 45th president of the United States.

This much I feel confident in saying: Robert Mueller’s investigation is the farthest thing possible from a “rigged witch hunt.”

As for the next big development, I’ll await the news after the sun comes up in the morning.

Is Trump believable at any level? Um, no!

These online polls that show up on MSN.com really knock me out.

The latest one asks whether Paul Manafort’s conviction this week on eight felony counts of tax fraud and money laundering make me less likely to believe Donald J. Trump.

I was astounded to see that 48 percent of respondents said “no”; 47 percent of them said “yes.”

I was among the 47 percent.

Although the more I think about it, I don’t know how the president of the United States can be any less believable at any level.

I do not trust him for one nanosecond. Not for an instant. A New York minute. I trust him as far as I can throw a 239-pound human being.

Do you get my drift? Of course you do!

Trump cannot tell the whole unvarnished truth on anything, at any level, for any reason … or so it appears to me.

Manafort is Trump’s former 2016 campaign chairman, the guy Trump said worked for him “only a little while.” He spoke as if he barely knows the guy. Give me a break, will ya?

Do I believe Trump? Umm, no.

Trump has the ‘mother of bad days’

So much for “rigged witch hunt.”

Donald J. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is now a convicted felon after a Virginia jury today returned guilty verdicts on eight counts of assorted tax and money laundering charges; jurors were deadlocked on 10 more counts, so the judge declared a mistrial on the unresolved accusations.

Then there’s Michael Cohen, the president’s one-time confidant/fixer/personal lawyer who pleaded guilty to tax fraud, bank fraud and campaign law violations. He now is set to tell special counsel Robert Mueller all he knows about his dealings with the president.

Hmmm. I think that constitutes a bad day for the president. As in a really, seriously bad day.

Trump, of course, has lashed out at the criminal justice system, at Mueller, Cohen … whoever.

And make no mistake, Trump said the Manafort conviction had nothing to do with “Russian collusion.” Well, duh. No one said it did. That’s all being looked at separately, Mr. President.

Something tells me we have a president getting into some serious trouble. Here’s the annoying fly in the ointment: Trump has the power — and he might have the inclination — to worsen that trouble by issuing a pardon to Manafort. Hey, he’s got the authority to do it, just as he reminds us.

If he does take that leap, well … let’s just say the fecal matter is going to hit multiple fans all at once.

POTUS seeks to taint a criminal proceeding

Imagine the President’s former campaign chairman is on trial for various felonies. Imagine the jury is in middle of deliberations. Imagine the President publicly calls the case unfair & praises the defendant There was a time when that kind of thing was considered inappropriate

— Jake Tapper, CNN news anchor

Jake Tapper’s tweet — posted above — actually understates how one should consider a president who seeks to prejudice a jury that is considering whether to convict or acquit someone of a major felony.

It is far worse than “inappropriate” for a president to rail against a trial involving a former top campaign official. I would call it something more akin to reprehensible, contemptible, disgraceful.

Yet this president sees nothing at all wrong with saying that a trial involving his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is “unfair” and that the court is trying to railroad him. He tells us that Manafort is an upstanding individual and a “good man.”

Manafort’s fate now is in the jury’s hands. He was indicted and brought to trial on charges involving tax evasion and money laundering. He faces a possible life term in prison. Manafort’s indictment was brought by the grand jury that received a complaint from special counsel Robert Mueller.

The prosecution presented witnesses. Manafort’s defense team was allowed to cross examine them, which did with vigor.

Normal presidential protocol would dictate that a president keeps his trap shut on a criminal proceeding. This one now is headed for a verdict. Yet Donald Trump keeps yapping, he keeps seeking to influence the outcome from the peanut gallery.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe we shouldn’t be appalled. I mean, this kind of ignorant approach to what I would call a form of jury tampering is part and parcel of Trump’s utter lack of understanding of presidential protocol, let alone of judicial conduct.

This individual, the president, is completely out of control.