Tag Archives: Paul Manafort

‘No collusion’ mantra: another Trump lie

Read my lips: Paul Manafort’s sentencing for crimes committed had nothing — not a damn thing! — to do with whether the Donald Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Are we clear? If not, I shall explain.

Manafort, the president’s one-time campaign chairman, has received roughly 7 1/2 years in federal prison on an assortment of tax fraud charges. He wasn’t charged with collusion. He did not stand trial on charges of collusion.

He was sentenced for unrelated crimes.

So, why is the president continuing to say the judges who sentenced Manafort to prison have found “no evidence of collusion”? Why did Manafort’s lawyer repeat that phony assertion today?

I am beginning to understand better why Trump keeps saying it. He’s trying to divert attention from the issue at hand: the conviction and sentencing of his former campaign chairman. Trump says things without thinking because, well, he’s the president of the United States. He’s also not nearly as smart as he keeps telling us he is.

Manafort’s lawyer, an officer of the court, surely should know better. But there he was today, bellowing over the shouts of demonstrators that it’s been proved that Trump’s campaign didn’t collude with Russians.

C’mon, man! Stick to the issue of the day. It is that Paul Manafort has apologized for the crimes he committed. None of it had anything to do with collusion.

Now . . . are we clear? Good!

‘No collusion,’ Mr. President? Let’s wait on that one


Donald J. Trump has a “no collusion” fetish.

He keeps invoking the “no collusion” mantra even when it’s irrelevant to the issue of the day.

Take the Paul Manafort sentence handed down the other day. The president’s former campaign chairman got a 47-month sentence for tax fraud and assorted other crimes. None of them had a thing to do with the allegations that the campaign “colluded” with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Yet there was the president of the United States, crowing about how the judge found no evidence of collusion with Russians.

Hey, Mr. President? That issue isn’t even on the table in this discussion. Manafort’s sentence didn’t have a single thing to do with collusion.

Oh, and Mr. President, we’re still awaiting Robert Mueller report that he supposedly is preparing to submit to Attorney General William Barr.

That is where we’re going to find out — more than likely — whether there is any Russian hanky-panky related to your 2016 presidential campaign.

So . . . POTUS needs to settle down and wait for the report silently.

Yeah, I know. I’m asking for the impossible.

‘Otherwise blameless life’ has strange parallel

Paul Manafort has led an “otherwise blameless life,” according to the federal judge who sentenced him to 47 months in prison for bilking the government out of millions of dollars in taxes.

The federal sentencing guidelines recommended that Donald Trump’s former presidential campaign chairman receive 19 to 25 years in the slammer.

Oh, but he’s had an “otherwise blameless life.” Fascinating, yes?

Well, I am struck by the seeming symmetry between that logic and something that the late Marion Barry, the former mayor of Washington, D.C., once said about the crime rate in his city.

His (dis)honor once said with a straight face that if you take away the murder rate in D.C., “the crime rate isn’t so bad.”

So, without all the bloodshed, “otherwise, the city is a nice place.”

‘Blameless life’? Really, judge?

I am not going to get too worked up — just yet! — over the surprisingly light sentence handed to former Donald Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The federal judge who sentenced Manafort handed out a 47-month prison term for a guy who’s been convicted of tax fraud, mail fraud and all sorts of conspiracy charges. He bilked the nation out of millions of dollars in taxes.

But the judge said in his statement that Manafort — prior to getting hooked up with the Trump campaign — had led a “blameless life.”

A blameless life? Really, judge?

I guess that is his way of saying that as a “first-time offender,” Manafort was entitled to a federal prison sentence that is significantly briefer than the sentencing guideline that called for an 18- to 25-year term in the slammer.

I can think of a few “blameless” lives that ended badly for the men who committed heinous crimes. John Wilkes Booth? Timothy McVeigh? Sirhan Sirhan? Did any of those individuals turn up on anyone’s radar prior to their commission of heinous crimes?

So, Paul Manafort gets a nearly four-year prison term for lying and stealing. And, no, I am not equating what Manafort did with murder. I am only suggesting that the “blameless life” rationale doesn’t make sense.

Well, the former Trump campaign boss ain’t out of the wilderness. He’s got another sentence awaiting him for some more misdeeds he performed on behalf of his friend and former boss.

Then he might get what he deserves.

Manafort gets off easy for serious crimes against the country

Color me surprised. Shocked, maybe!

Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who faced a sentence of as long as 25 years in prison, today got a 47-month prison sentence in what has been labeled one of the major surprises in the string of cases being litigated against political friends of the president.

Manafort was convicted of an array of tax and illegal lobbying charges. He cheated the country out of millions of dollars in taxes. He hid money in offshore bank accounts. He lied about it. He lobbied illegally on behalf of Ukrainian interests.

It’s all seedy and quite unseemly.

The president calls Manafort a “good person.” The judge said he had no criminal history prior to his involvement with the Trump campaign. Hmm. A lot of criminals commit single crimes in their lives and then get tossed into the slammer for the rest of their lives.

I am among many Americans who expected Manafort to get a much lengthier sentence than he got today.

Has justice been done? I suppose you could say in a technical sense that it has been done. A federal judge has wielded his substantial discretionary power in giving Manafort a light tap on the knuckles.

But . . . there’s more to come. Much more, indeed.

How do you lie by accident?

This headline appeared on a National Public Radio story about Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman: “Manafort intentionally lied so special counsel, judge says.”

It made me crack open by trusty American Heritage Dictionary. I looked up the word “lie.” It says a lie is “a false statement deliberately presented as true.”

The key word here is “deliberately.” Which begs the question: How does someone lie by accident, or without intending to lie?

The judge has slammed Manafort hard, saying the president’s former campaign chairman lied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into “The Russia Thing.”

Read the NPR story here

Manafort lied. He did it on purpose. Which is precisely what a lie is defined as being.

I am wondering now about this notion that somehow it is news that Manafort “intentionally” lied to Mueller.

A false statement presented as true by accident is a “misstatement”; it’s a mistake, a verbal gaffe. Manafort has taken a page from his former boss. He lied.

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.