Tag Archives: Paul Manafort

Trump facing serious trouble

This probe into the “Russia thing” has taken a stern turn for the worse … if you’re the president of the United States of America.

Robert Mueller, the meticulous special counsel, has indicted two key Donald J. Trump presidential campaign aides on money laundering charges. The indictment against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort includes a charge of conspiracy against the United States — which makes me say “whoa!”

Now that Mueller has struck, the talk has surfaced yet again about what the president might do. The Hill reports that GOP senators are resisting calls from Democrats to protect Mueller from a possible firing by the president.

Senate grapples over indictments

Will he pardon Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates? Will he pardon George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russia connection?

Ah, but will he actually fire Mueller?

I keep circling back to this notion that if the president is as innocent of colluding with Russian hackers as he insists he is, why would he do anything?

However, I am left to say “holy crap-ola!” If the president is going to do anything that smacks of obstruction — such as, oh, firing FBI director James Comey over that “Russia thing” — then he exposes himself to the full wrath of Congress.

You see, the president has developed universal loathing among Senate and House Democrats. His Republican alliance in both legislative chambers is showing serious cracks, too.

I am left, therefore — as an avid anti-Trumpster — with terribly mixed feelings about what I think the president should do. Does he take the foolish course and do something he will regret? Or does he just shut the hell up — for once in his adult life — and let the process run its course?

OK, here’s my preference.

Keep your big trap shut, Mr. President, and just let the special counsel — who was appointed by the Justice Department because you followed the voice of foolishness with the Comey firing — do what he’s been charged to do.

Trump ‘losing streak’ continues at full speed

Donald J. Trump’s boasting of being a “winner” has taken another punch in the gut.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted the president’s former campaign boss, Paul Manafort, of money laundering in his probe of the “Russia thing” that caused Trump to fire former FBI director James Comey.

Hmm. Where does this go? I intend to wait with bated breath. How about you?

The indictment of Manafort, along with that of campaign official Rick Gates signals a new pace in this investigation, which began when the president gave Comey the boot.

The ultimate aim appears to be determining whether the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russian hackers in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election outcome. The president bellows “witch hunt” and “fake news” and all kinds of other things.

My understanding of Mueller, though, is that the special counsel is as serious, measured, thorough and meticulous a lawyer as they come. I don’t think he’s going to indict a proverbial “ham sandwich” just to score some points.

And so … the hunt continues.

This case is going to get even more curious as Mueller’s team continues its work.

As Politico describes it, Meuller’s task has turned into a sprawling probe.

No dirt on Hillary? Really!

Let me try to keep this straight.

Donald J. Trump Jr. accepts an invitation to meet with a Russian government operative who tells him she’s got some dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic Party nominee for president of the United States.

Don Jr. goes to the meeting along with his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, then the campaign chairman for Don’s dad, Donald J. Trump Sr., the Republican presidential nominee.

He meets with the lawyer/government operative. What does Don Jr. get out of it? He says nothing came of it. There was no dirt of any use to the Trump campaign.

In other words, Hillary was clean.

The story, of course, isn’t entirely that the Russians didn’t have the goods on Clinton; it is that Trump the Younger thought they did and that he “loved it.” He didn’t call the FBI to rat out the Russian government. Indeed, the only grownup from the Trump team — Manafort — didn’t bother to blow the whistle, either. Oh, no. Don Jr. was accepting “normal” opposition research — from a hostile government that was hacking into our electoral process, undermining our democratic system.

As for the Hillary story, the Russians came up with as much actionable dirt on the Democratic nominee as congressional Republican investigators were able to find over the course of several years. That would be, um, nothing, man!

What a coincidence!

Is that a smoking gun over there?

Hmm. That smoldering around the White House is beginning to reveal its source … maybe, perhaps, possibly.

Then again, maybe not.

Donald J. Trump Jr. has just released a head-scratching set of emails that detail some information he received from the Russian government about dirt it had dug up on Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was running against Donald J. Trump Sr. for president of the United States.

Don Jr. told the Russians “I love it” that they have dirt on Hillary. You see, Junior was working on Dad’s campaign. The Russians wanted Donald Sr. to become the next president and apparently were doing things to facilitate that event.

Now we see that Don Jr. has been dragged right into the middle of this growing controversy. He ended up meeting with a Russian lawyer, along with campaign chief Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka Trump (Don’s sis and the president’s daughter) and now a key White House policy adviser.

Here’s a new Question of the Day: Do you really and truly believe that none of these people — all of whom were up to their armpits in trying to get Daddy Trump elected president — would have kept any of this from him while he was campaigning for the high and exalted office?

The head-scratching, by the way, is occurring among legal eagles and pols around Washington who are wondering whether Don Jr.’s own legal counsel actually advised him to release this information to the public.

The hits just keep on comin’, man.

Check out the story here.

I’m betting there’ll be a good bit more to digest as we move forward.

A kinder, gentler Trump set to emerge … but wait!

manafort

Paul Manaford quit the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign three days after getting kicked out of his job as campaign CEO.

There appear to be some potentially difficult legal issues for Manaford to navigate. But I digress.

The issue today is how the Republican presidential nominee becomes a new man, a new candidate.

Honestly, this is all quite confusing.

Steve Bannon is the new CEO. Kellyanne Conway is the new campaign manager. Conway says she dislikes the personal insults that Trump has hurled throughout his campaign. Bannon, though, is a rough-and-tough character known for his take-no-prisoners style.

Trump has said publicly he plans “no pivot.” He’s not going to change his style.

OK, then.

How does his campaign get traction? How does he become a more “focused” and potentially gentler candidate for the U.S. presidency? His expression of “regret” over the “personal pain” he caused rings — to my ears — as hollow as his assertion that he’s going to “work for you.”

Moreover, how does he make these changes without pivoting … and without the public forgetting those astonishing utterances that have poured out of Trump’s mouth during the GOP primary campaign?

I won’t recite them here. You’ve heard ’em all. They fired up the GOP base. They’re still in Trump’s corner. What about the rest of the general election voters, though, who need convincing that Trump is their guy?

Trump’s campaign has gone through a remarkable set of changes in its high command quite late in the process of electing a president. They all seem to suggest a campaign in serious disarray.

And, oh yes, we have that organization issue to be resolved.

Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton has put — if you’ll excuse the ridiculous euphemism — “boots on the ground” in all 50 states. She’s got precinct chairs, workers, campaign staff, volunteers — and maybe even their pets, for all I know — lined up to work for her election. Trump? He’s got next to no one filling those essential line jobs in the field.

I’m waiting to see if Trump assumes Americans are as gullible and malleable as he hopes. My sense is that voters — those of us far beyond the GOP base — aren’t going to forget the lengthy string of insults and innuendo that propelled this guy to his party’s presidential nomination.