Though he may not be intelligent enough to realize it yet, Donald Trump is about to be in a world of hurt just as soon as testimony begins in the trial of his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who is charged with crimes ranging from bank and wire fraud to money laundering and witness tampering.
On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III agreed to delay Manafort’s trial in Virginia from this Wednesday until next Tuesday so Manafort’s attorneys have time to look over all the evidence that will be presented against their client.
But the minute Manafort’s trial begins on July 31, the case against Donald Trump will grow stronger with each witness who testifies and every shred of evidence is placed into the record. As Politico reports, Special Counsel Robert Mueller won’t be trying to prove collusion with Russia as part of his case, but what he plans to lay out does still places Trump in serious legal jeopardy:
“Mueller’s office has said it does not intend to raise Russian collusion allegations, but it has signaled plans to showcase aspects of Manafort’s work during the Trump campaign: namely a claim that he succeeded in getting $16 million in loans from Chicago’s Federal Savings Bank in late 2016 and early 2017 in part because the bank’s chairman and CEO, Stephen Calk, was named to the Trump campaign’s economic advisory board and was seeking a top post at the Pentagon.”
In other words, Mueller will follow the money and show the jury where it leads, and that should terrify the president and his legal team, because it’s highly likely that major parts of the case against Donald Trump, his family, and his top campaign aides involves money: Money laundering, bribes, payoffs. Money is Trump’s Achilles heel, because the one thing greedy real estate developers like Trump always need is financing for their building projects.
Immediately after his disastrous summit with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, Trump told Sean Hannity:
“With Paul Manafort, who clearly is a nice man, you look at what’s going on with him, it’s like Al Capone.”
And that’s the other thing Trump needs to worry about: His own rumored connections to organized crime, both here at home and in Russia. If those connections are proven, Trump can be charged under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act, in addition to the larger conspiracy to hijack the 2016 election with the help of the Russians.
Paul Manafort doesn’t have to agree to testify against Trump for his trial to prove the president’s own crimes. The money trail will do that.