Over the weekend, Special Counsel Robert Mueller offered to let Paul Manafort out of house arrest on bail. The move came as a surprise to observers. Did it mean that Manafort had begun partially cooperating, or was it some kind of sting operation on Mueller’s part to further nail Manafort? Now we have part of the answer, in the form of a stunning new revelation: Manafort has been allegedly conspiring with the Russians while he was under house arrest.
Mueller’s team has filed court papers accusing Manafort of working with someone tied to Russian government intelligence services to publish an op-ed under a fake name which would have made Manafort look innocent with regard to his Russian ties, according to a new Washington Post report (link). This means that after Manafort was arrested for conspiring with a Russian oligarch for alleged crimes against the United States, he responded by conspiring with Russia on a whole new level.
The WaPo doesn’t say as much, but in realistic terms, this is obviously the end of Mueller’s bail agreement with Manafort. Considering that Manafort was actively working with the Russian government to taint the jury pool and sabotage his own prosecution, there’s a strong chance Mueller will convince the judge to throw Manafort in jail until his trial in the spring of 2018. Now that he’s been caught and may pay an immediate price, the question is what Manafort will do next. He only has two options.
If Paul Manafort doesn’t want to rot in jail for six months until his trial begins, and then continue to rot in jail while his trial takes place, he’ll need to quickly cut a deal with Robert Mueller against Donald Trump. On the other hand, considering how cartoonishly Manafort is acting in the name of trying to get off the hook, perhaps he’s too far gone to be reasoned with about cutting a deal. If he keeps fighting this, it seems unlikely he’ll ever taste freedom again.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report