Earlier this month, we all learned that Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was being transferred from federal prison to the Rikers Island jail to await trial on state charges. Now it turns out Manafort isn’t going to Rikers after all – thanks to a stunning move made by Trump and his lackeys at the DOJ, which is nothing less than a crime in and of itself.
Donald Trump’s new Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen has personally intervened in order to block Paul Manafort from being transferred to Rikers. Instead, Manafort will remain in a much cushier federal prison while he awaits his trial on state charges. This is according to a stunning new report from the New York Times. Simply put, this isn’t how anything is supposed to work. There’s no way Rosen would have made this move unless Trump, and ostensibly William Barr, were behind it. That means Donald Trump just committed a crime.
It’s long been widely documented that Donald Trump has periodically floated the possibility of a pardon for Paul Manafort, in the hope of preventing Manafort from cutting a cooperating plea deal against Trump. Even when Manafort did cut a cooperation deal with Robert Mueller, that deal got thrown out when the whole thing turned out to have been an excuse for Manafort to feed information about the probe back to Trump’s team.
Now that Paul Manafort is facing the prospect of being transferred to the harsh confines of Rikers Island, there’s the very real possibility that he could cut a plea deal with New York State just to get himself moved to a better prison. And now we have Donald Trump and his complicit underlings intervening to make sure Manafort doesn’t go to Rikers. This is textbook obstruction of justice, on a stunning level.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report