Tag Archives: Paul Manafort

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.

The word ‘lie’ becomes part of the debate

There once was a time when Donald J. Trump would spout an untruth that the media would virtually ignore it.

I cannot remember the precise reason why the newly minted presidential candidate was getting a pass from the media. I just recall that the media didn’t hang the “lie” word on his prevarications.

Maybe it had something to do with the media refusing to take his candidacy as seriously as they should have in those early days. The media viewed Trump’s candidacy as a sideshow, a joke, a publicity stunt.

Then as the one-time reality TV celebrity began winning primaries and knocking off the 16 other Republican Party primary opponents — all of whom were more qualified than Trump — the media began taking notice.

These days, now that Trump is president of the United States — the media have caught on with the reality of this individual. He is a liar. His lying is pathological. He cannot tell the truth.

He has lied continually. He speaks, sound comes out of his mouth, his lips move — and he lies.

As I listen to the TV commentary and read the media reports about the untruths he tells, I keep hearing the words “lie,” “lying” and “liar” attached to the message he delivers and to the man who delivers it.

His most recent spate of lies occurred on the White House driveway. Trump sauntered toward media representatives and appeared to launch into a spontaneous media availability. It wasn’t spontaneous by any stretch of the imagination.

For nearly an hour, the president lied to our face. He told untruths about all manner of things relating to the Justice Department’s inspector general report on James Comey and the Hillary Clinton e-mail controversy, on Paul Manafort’s role in the 2016 Trump campaign and all kinds of other matters.

The media have taken specific note of his lying. They are telling us the truth about Trump’s lies.

Unless it’s happened beyond my earshot, I haven’t heard the president’s defenders actually call him a man who tells the truth.

So, here we are. The man few of us took seriously enough to deserve the title of “liar” has emerged as the Liar in Chief.

But … some of us still insist he is “telling it like it is.”

Shocking.

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.