Now we know what that was all about. Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort filed a motion in court yesterday to try to get all charges dropped against him, on the premise that Special Counsel Robert Mueller doesn’t have the authority to investigate his alleged crimes. The move reeked of urgent desperation, and now we know why Manafort is suddenly throwing up a Hail Mary.
There is no reason to expect that Manafort will have any luck with his motion to have all charges against him dropped. This is the kind of move you make when you think you’re going to lose at trial, and you think the evidence against you is about to get much worse, and you’re trying to convince the judge to throw the whole thing out before the evidence piled up. Sure enough, Robert Mueller’s newly filed court documents on Tuesday night revealed what has Manafort panicking.
Mueller has filed new documents in his case against Trump-Russia figure Alex Van Der Zwaan, which reveal that Van Der Zwaan has turned over a phone call he recorded between himself and Rick Gates. In that call, Gates admitted that he and Paul Manafort were knowingly conspiring with a former Russian government intel officer who still has active ties to the Russian government. Gates has cut a plea deal and agreed to tell Mueller everything, which means that Gates will testify to this in Manafort’s trial. So not only does Mueller have a recording of Gates confessing on Manafort’s behalf, he’ll also have the live testimony of Gates, confirming that the taped confession is real.
Paul Manafort and his legal team are suddenly trying a Hail Mary desperation ploy by asking the judge to drop all charges, because they know that things are taking a very bad turn for them. It’s worth noting that the judge in question will ultimately decide the length of Manafort’s prison sentence if the jury finds him guilty, and if she views this motion to dismiss as being in bad faith, she could end up giving him a longer sentence because of it. Manafort knows this, and he’s just that desperate. How much longer before he caves and cuts a deal?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report