Special Counsel Robert Mueller arrested Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort a week ago Monday, and as of yet, Manafort has provided no cooperation whatsoever. That was roughly to be expected. If he didn’t cave when the FBI raided his home in the middle of the night, he wasn’t going to cave the minute he was arrested. But getting Manafort to promptly flip wasn’t the point. Everyone seems to have forgotten one key detail that’s been hiding in plain sight.
Last month it was widely reported that there were FISA surveillance warrants against Paul Manafort before and after the election. His phone was tapped. His emails were monitored. Robert Mueller doesn’t need
Manafort to flip on anyone, because he already has Manafort’s conversations with a number of key Trump-Russia players. That wiretap has given Mueller so much evidence against so many people, he can indict and arrest just about anyone at any time – and that’s the point. It’s part of why he arrested Manafort. It was a head-fake.
Since when does a prosector start by arresting a high ranking player who’s unlikely to cooperate anyway? When when everyone else involved in the scandal is already shaking in their boots while trying to figure out whether they got caught saying anything incriminating on Manafort’s wiretap. Now that he’s been arrested, they’re all quickly trying to figure out whether to hurry up and cut deals before they get the knock on the door.
It’s why they’re all suddenly tripping over each other. Sam Clovis was in front of a grand jury last week. Carter Page spilled his guts during congressional testimony. Jeff Sessions panicked and changed his story. J.D. Gordon publicly admitted that Trump knew about what George Papadopoulos was plotting with Russia. Robert Mueller managed to put all this in motion by using the ultimate head-fake: he arrested the one guy who wasn’t going to cooperate, because so many of the rest of them are worried that they’re caught on that guy’s wiretap.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report