Thus far today, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has announced the criminal indictments of thirteen Russian nationals for conspiring to rig the election in Donald Trump’s favor, three additional indictments against Russian entities, and a guilty plea from a U.S. citizen who helped the Russians with their plot. Now it appears Mueller is far from done today, because he just dropped the hammer on Paul Manafort in a concerted effort at getting him to flip on Trump.
Yesterday it was revealed to the media that Manafort’s longtime business associate was finalizing a plea deal and had already given extensive cooperating testimony to Mueller. This story could only have come from Mueller’s camp, and it was a final warning to Manafort: come in and cut a deal right this minute or things will get ugly. This evening, things have indeed gotten ugly.
Mueller has informed the judge in the Manafort trial that he has new evidence of far more severe crimes committed by Manafort, according to a Politico report (link). One gets the feeling that Mueller is also preparing to seize Manafort’s properties and force bankruptcies. It’s fairly easy to put together that Mueller is using the evidence he just got from Gates to rapidly rip Manafort’s life to shreds. Mueller also appears to be continuing to use Paul Manafort as an example to every other suspect in the Trump-Russia investigation.
Robert Mueller singled out Manafort as the first high profile suspect to be arrested. Even though Manafort was clearly going to try to use high priced lawyers to beat the rap, the arrest wasn’t about getting Manafort to immediately flip. It was about sending a message to people like Michael Flynn, who couldn’t afford high priced attorneys. Flynn cut a deal not long after. Now Gates is doing the same, and Mueller is going to either squeeze Manafort into flipping, or destroy Manafort to scare everyone else into flipping.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report