Tomorrow, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is set to file a sentencing memo for Paul Manafort, which will include enough details about Manafort’s crimes and lies to try to convince a judge to throw the book at him, and the memo will be made public. It’s a safe bet that, at the least, it’ll be less redacted than the Michael Flynn memo. Now comes timely news about Manafort’s alleged co-conspirator, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
After months of public back-and-forth, the government of Ecuador announced today that Julian Assange now has “sufficient guarantees to leave embassy,” according to Zeke Miller of the AP. One of the sticking points is that if Ecuador throws Assange out, he’ll instantly be arrested by the UK, which has an extradition treaty with the United States, but doesn’t want to extradite anyone who’s going to face the death penalty.
So our interpretation here is the U.S. has given the UK and Ecuador assurances that Assange won’t face the death penalty, and so now he’s going to be turned over. The timing is everything. Last week the U.S. “accidentally” revealed that Assange had already been criminally charged. Then the British press reported that Paul Manafort had visited Assange at the embassy during the 2016 election, and presumably lied about it to Mueller.
Now, just one day before Robert Mueller is publicly ringing up Paul Manafort on his crimes and lies, Ecuador finally says it’s coughing up Julian Assange. These kinds of things can be coincidental. But in the Trump-Russia scandal, they usually aren’t.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report