The odds of Paul Manafort flipping on Donald Trump just skyrocketed

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Yesterday we saw a development which sharply increased the odds of Donald Trump’s “attorney” Michael Cohen cutting a plea deal against him in criminal court. In a reminder that the walls really are closing in on Trump, today we’re seeing an entirely separate development which sharply increases the odds of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort cutting a plea deal against him as well.

Manafort is facing up to three hundred years in prison for dozens of felony charges including conspiracy against the United States, and he appears to realize that the evidence is stacked against him. To that end, he and his attorneys have settled on a strategy of trying to get the case thrown out entirely, on the premise that Special Counsel Robert Mueller didn’t have the authority to investigate Manafort’s pre-campaign activities. Manafort filed a lawsuit against Mueller aimed at getting his way on this. But that just went out the window.

Today a judge ruled that Manafort cannot use his lawsuit to stop Mueller. While Manafort and his attorneys may have another trick or two left up their sleeves, this was their big play, and it just failed completely. This essentially means that Manafort’s defense strategy comes down to heading into trial and defending himself against the mountain of evidence on its merits. Even he knows that his odds of winning at trial are microscopic.

So now we’ll see what Paul Manafort does. Thus far he’s the only Trump-Russia suspect who has chosen to go to trial rather than cut a plea deal, because he’s the only one who can afford the kind of attorneys needed to try to get him off on a technicality. But that strategy is now failing him. The odds of Manafort cutting a plea deal are still far from 100%, but they just skyrocketed today.

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