Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sentencing memo against Paul Manafort was publicly released today in redacted form, and with all the attachments, it totaled more than eight hundred pages. There’s terrible news in there for Donald Trump, but you have to read between the lines to find it.
When we say “read between the lines” we’re not talking about the voluminous black redaction bars, though some of them are intriguing in their own right. Instead, we’re talking about something that isn’t in Mueller’s court filing at all: any mention of the Donald Trump campaign colluding with the Russian government to alter the outcome of the election. Trump’s fans are seeing this as a victory, and the pessimists in the Resistance are wringing their hands over it. But that’s not how anything works.
There is Trump-Russia election collusion. We know this based solely on the numerous and systemic instances of Trump-Russia election collusion that have been reported by so many different major media outlets. Donald Trump’s delusions aside, it’s not all merely “fake news.” It’s just a matter of how Mueller is going to make that evidence public.
Let’s say that Robert Mueller is currently boxed in by new Attorney General William Barr, and he doesn’t think his final report about Donald Trump will properly see the light of day. In such case, Mueller would need to try to put as much of the evidence as possible against Donald Trump into documents such as court filings against Paul Manafort, which Barr would have a more difficult time stopping, because such filings are court-mandated.
The total lack of Trump-Russia collusion in the Paul Manafort filing is a clear sign that Robert Mueller is highly confident about his ability to publicly expose the evidence against Donald Trump through more powerful means. It’s frustrating for the public to wait a bit longer, but it’s now clear that Mueller feels he has an unobstructed path to exposing Trump’s crimes.