On Wednesday, a federal judge not only sealed the fate of former Trump 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but also helped Special Counsel Robert Mueller move even closer to painting President Donald Trump into corner from which there’s no escape.
The ruling in Manafort’s case, handed down by U.S District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, determined that Manafort did indeed lie to the FBI and investigators with the special counsel’s office after he had made a plea agreement with Mueller’s team of prosecutors, meaning that Manafort is about to have the proverbial book thrown at him, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin remarked:
“It’s doom for Paul Manafort.”
Translation: Manafort, who will be 70 in April, will die in federal prison.
But Manafort’s bad news is also a major setback for the president, who will now have to make two equally terrible choices.
The first choice Trump has is to ignore Manafort and hope for the best. But considering that Manafort is now looking at rotting in prison, he has every incentive to spill his guts and share with Mueller every crumb of dirt he has on the president and others from the 2016 campaign, i.e. Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump.
Or, if he so chooses, Trump can give Manafort a full pardon for all of his crimes. But if the president decides to go that route, he’s essentially announcing that his former campaign chief has damaging information Trump wants to remain hidden. Also, such a move will likely lead to the immediate start of impeachment proceedings in the House.
There’s also the more troubling question which arises around the entire Russia probe and the many guilty pleas and convictions Mueller has already been able to obtain. That, according to former Michigan GOP Congressman Mike Rogers, is why everyone connected to the 2016 campaign has lied when questioned about the matter:
“This is the million-dollar question in the entire investigation. You just have to start asking yourself, why did all of them lie about their connections to the Russians?”
Probably because they know they’re guilty.