No one was expecting Donald Trump to be pleased yesterday when Paul Manafort was sent to jail in relation to the Trump-Russia scandal. After all, this guy is his former campaign chairman and longtime associate, and more importantly, Manafort is in position to cut a plea deal that would be devastating to Trump’s own chances of avoiding prison. But by his own team’s admission, Trump was devastated over the Manafort news. There’s a reason for this, and I believe it’s because Trump was just forced to look into the mirror.
Who is Paul Manafort? He’s a career criminal who has long (allegedly) specialized in running fraudulent con games, doing the financial bidding for international criminals, and engaging in the worst of political treason. Sound like anyone else we know? These words also aptly describe Donald Trump. These two men have operated in different fields, but they’re basically the same crook.
As a result of Paul Manafort’s behavior, he’s now locked in a cell, awaiting trial on charges that come with a prison sentence of more than three hundred years, for which he’ll almost certainly be found guilty. So much for Manafort’s fantasy that he’d sit comfortably under house arrest for awhile until the judge decided the charges against him were a bunch of crap and threw them out. Instead, the judge just threw the book at him. Manafort’s life is effectively over. Yesterday confirmed it. And no, Trump can’t magically pardon his way out of this.
When Donald Trump peers through the haze of self delusion that defines his existence, and sees Paul Manafort, on a lucid day he’s seeing a reflection of himself. Trump knows that he and Manafort have lived parallel lives, broken all the same laws, run all the same scams, even conspired on the same treason. They’re both facing the same fate. Whatever happens to one will happen to the other. Yesterday, Manafort’s fate was decided. Trump saw that Manafort’s life is over, and on at least some level, he surely realized that his own life will end up in similar ruins.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report