Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort is currently locked away under house arrest, awaiting trial on a dozen serious charges including Conspiracy against the United States, and he seems to have no interest in cooperating with the overall Trump-Russia investigation. However, his cooperation doesn’t appear to be necessary, as the mounting evidence against him may have just taken down a sitting Republican state legislator.
Don Hahnfeldt was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in October, and because he’s not a national politician, his name largely isn’t known outside the state. That may be about to change, however, because it turns out Hahnfeldt previously ran a company that hired Paul Manafort to sell Russian nuclear products to the Department of Energy, according to Politico (link). That doesn’t necessarily mean Hahnfeldt and his company were doing anything illegal – but it’s suddenly a huge problem for him.
The last thing any politician needs right now is to be linked to Paul Manafort, and the very last thing any politician needs is to be linked to Manafort and Russia. If Don Hahnfeldt wasn’t doing anything wrong when he hired Manafort to help him sell Russian goods to the United States government, then he has the worst luck in the world. The court of public opinion will demand that Hahnfeldt explain how this was all just a coincidence, and that he doesn’t have any improper ties to Russia himself.
This month we’ve already seen the Podesta Group go belly-up simply because it was revealed that Tony Podesta has ties to Paul Manafort and Russia. In that instance Special Counsel Robert Mueller is confirmed to be investigating Tony Podesta for those ties. There is no evidence that Mueller is investigating Don Hahnfeldt for anything, and again, there is no known evidence that Hahnfeldt committed any crime. But the mere connection to Manafort and Russia could take down his political career nonetheless.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report