Just a few hours after the general public learned yesterday that Paul Manafort has been trying to cut a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a burglar robbed the home of one of Manafort’s former bankers last night. The burglar only took three items from the residence, and two of them were the banker’s briefcase and iPad, raising eyebrows. Could this be a coincidence? Yes. But the timing here can’t be ignored, so it’s fair to talk about motivations.
Pro-Trump conspiracy theorists are going to insist that Mueller and the “deep state” robbed Manafort’s banker’s home, but of course this makes no sense. Even if the Feds were willing to do something so underhanded and stupid, they’d have no reason to, as they’re very much winning against Manafort. Others are going to float the idea that Manafort was behind the break-in, and while he has already been caught clumsily trying to tamper with witnesses, he wouldn’t necessarily have a clear motivation here either; his banking trial is already over.
The key thing to consider here is yesterday plea deal news. If Paul Manafort does cut a deal, he’ll have to give up everything he knows about everyone. That includes Donald Trump. It also includes every alleged financial criminal who was ever entangled with Manafort over the years. So if this robbery was not a random burglary, the most logical explanation would be that someone suddenly came to fear that the iPad and/or briefcase contained evidence that could incriminate them if Manafort cuts a deal.
The banker in question has not been charged with any crimes in relation to the Paul Manafort investigation, and is not known to be under investigation for anything. ABC News is reporting that two of the banker’s assistants did testify in the first Manafort trial about emails between the banker and Manafort – and Manafort’s lawyers tried to convince the jury that it was suspicious that the banker wasn’t there to testify. So if this burglary wasn’t random, it would suggest that someone out there fears that the combination of a Manafort plea deal and the information in the banker’s possession could incriminate them. So who did it? That’s for the police to figure out.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report