From the start of Donald Trump’s time in office, I’ve said that he would be taken down not with a bang that magically forced him to leave office, but with a thousand cuts that would bleed the life out of his illegitimate presidency. Sure enough, we’ve seen his scandals gradually chip away at him, leaving him more vulnerable than ever. Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal has continued this pattern of slowly yet surely grinding Trump into a pulp – but Mueller sure is bringing the fireworks of late. In fact now he’s bringing a blow torch.
Mueller filed additional criminal charges against Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort today which are so severe and so damning, it reads like something out of a unrealistic fictional novel. This was (allegedly) so knee-deep into financial fraud for so many years, it’s stunning that he wasn’t exposed for it sooner. However, Manafort isn’t the story here. By now it’s clear that he’s going to have to cut a plea deal against Trump if he wants any of hope of getting out of prison before he dies of old age. But even Manafort having to flip on Trump isn’t necessarily the story here.
Mueller’s new filings against Manafort reveal just how meticulously and expertly his team has been able to flesh out every minute of Manafort’s decades of financial schemes. These charges involve millions and millions of dollars in fraudulent activity, yet they get all the way down to little details such as the $25,000 of fraud that Manafort allegedly committed against a Duane Reade drug store. Why does this matter? Because Mueller is surely doing the exact same thing to Trump’s finances as we speak.
Even a cursory glance at Donald Trump’s financial history reveals real estate deals negotiated with Russian mafia figures, casinos built on money laundering, one fraudulent Trump-branded product or service after another, and suspiciously large international loans that would never have been given to him for above-board reasons. Now that we’ve seen how Robert Mueller is exposing every last inch of Manafort’s financial malfeasance, we know that Mueller is going to do the same to Trump’s own decades of financial crimes.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report