When we all learned last night that Donald Trump and Paul Manafort had been caught conspiring behind Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s back, I got the strangest sense of deja vu: I’d heard this somewhere before. It took me a minute to piece it together, because it happened five weeks ago, and in this environment, an eternity has happened since then. But sure enough, Rudy Giuliani confessed five weeks ago.
Back on October 22nd, Reuters ran a story which quoted Rudy Giuliani as saying that Donald Trump and Paul Manafort still had a joint defense agreement in place, even though Manafort had cut a plea deal. Reuters cited legal experts who saw this arrangement as “unusual.” Palmer Report called it out at the time for being absurd, because – by legal definition – the joint defense agreement automatically ended the minute Manafort signed his cooperation agreement. But the Reuters story got no additional traction, and the whole narrative died, until now.
Looking back, here’s what I wrote about it at the time: “Robert Mueller would have to be a complete idiot to give Paul Manafort a cooperating plea deal in exchange for testifying against Donald Trump, and then somehow forget to tell Manafort that he had to sever his joint defense agreement with Trump.” The whole thing perplexed me, because if Rudy was telling the truth, then something really sinister was going on – and if Rudy was lying like he so often does, why was the media printing it as if it were true?
In any case, that part doesn’t matter. Do you think Robert Mueller and his team read the things that Rudy Giuliani tells Reuters? Of course they do. Mueller knew to be on the lookout at least five weeks ago for Trump and Manafort two-timing him, because Rudy confessed five weeks ago. Maybe it took Mueller this long to finally pin it down, or maybe Mueller purposely waited this long so Trump and Manafort would hang themselves. Take your pick. But Trump’s own lawyer confessed all the way back then!
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report