In a move many regarded as potential witness tampering, Donald Trump tweeted lavish praise to Paul Manafort for not flipping against him. This was shortly after Manafort was convicted on multiple tax and bank fraud charges.
Now Manafort has flipped, bigly. The above tweet testifies to how much Trump feared exactly what has happened.
The plea agreement requires Manafort’s full cooperation on whatever question of substance or whimsy Team Mueller wants to ask about. Early reports the agreement did not include cooperation against Trump were false. It is a standard, full cooperation, lift your dress and show all the cookies, plea agreement. Here is the relevant text from the deal.
Take note of the word “truthfully” there. Contrary to the myth suggested in the President’s tweet, Manafort is not incentivized to “make up stories.” Further, the consequences for any lack of such truthful, full and absolute cooperation are also made abundantly clear.
To summarize, if at the sole discretion of the prosecution, Manafort fails to fully cooperate, with the truth, the deal is off. Manafort may be fully prosecuted for everything, and everything he has provided to them, to include his sweeping, signed Statement of Offense confession, admitting to all charges, can be used against him.
There is much for Trump to worry about here. Manafort was in that notorious June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Trump Junior, Kushner and Russian agents. The meeting was set up to provide dirt on Clinton, to which Trump Junior responded “I love it.” The current spin remains the Russians really just wanted to talk about adoptions. Manafort will know if that is true.
President Trump has repeatedly denied having any advance knowledge of that Trump Tower meeting, claiming he did not hear about it until much later. As recently as a month ago Trump tweeted that he didn’t know about it.
But Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has claimed that Trump knew about this meeting in advance and approved it in advance. Manafort should be able to corroborate one story or the other.
The bottom line of Manafort’s confession is that he was ass deep in illegal international financial dealings with a Russian spy, before, during, and after his time with the Trump Campaign. Manafort’s connections with Russian spies were intense, and whether those connections included the Trump Campaign should now be resolved.
Trump’s Campaign Manager (Manafort), his Assistant Campaign Manager and Inauguration Coordinator (Gates), his Director of National Intelligence (Flynn), and his personal attorney (Cohen), are all now confessed felons. Cohen’s confession includes, for all practical purposes, describing President Trump as an un-indicted co-conspirator for felony campaign financing violations. Such close associates create a circle of felonies surrounding Trump that is impossible to ignore. Anyone believing Trump is clean in all this is engaging in profound wishful thinking. Anyone claiming Mueller’s investigation is a “witch hunt” suffers from delusional thinking qualifying as mental impairment.
One other amusing point deserves attention. Trump has bitterly complained of the cost of the Mueller investigation. He has made lots of tweets similar to this one.
Even accepting his $17 million figure as true, Mueller’s plea deal with Manafort requires forfeiture to the government of assets and properties whose cumulative worth is nearly $50 million.
Mueller’s investigation is now a profit center for the government!