Manafort’s Trial Had EVERYTHING To Do With Russian Collusion
The big talking point coming out of Republican media is the conviction of Paul Manfort on 8 counts of fraud and facing a sentence of 80 years in prison is a major loss for Robert Mueller because it has nothing to do with Trump, Russia, collusion, or obstruction of justice.
To say the case had nothing to do with Russia or collusion misses two key points.
Fist, the judge in the case banned both sides from mentioning Russia, even banning the world “oligarch.”
So nobody should be surprised the outcome had nothing to do with Russia.
Second, this has everything to do with Russia.
Robert Mueller’s Prize isn’t Paul Manafort, it’s Donald Trump. And as many experts have noted Mueller is approaching this like a RICO case, that requires flipping smaller fish, getting them to cooperate with you, in order to get the next biggest fish, until you get the biggest fish you can.
The reason this trial existed is because Mueller found Paul Manafort’s illegal activity and he refused to flip and turn state’s evidence.
So, just like in any normal RICO case, you put that person on trial with the evidence you have against them, such as hiding income from the IRS, and you keep turning the screws until they flip to get you that next bigger fish.
This is why Mueller has Manafort on another trial next month regarding his money laundering for Russian oligarch-backed Ukrainians.
Why continue to have multiple trials even though Manafort was found guilty and will probably spend the rest of his life in jail? Again it’s not about Manfort but Trump. Mueller wants the information Manafort has. As a prosecutor you can continue to put pressure on Manfort until it becomes too great for him, then you can give him the incentive to go back and reduce his sentence should he flip and cooperate with the Special Council.
So to believe the claim that Manafort’s conviction has nothing to do with Russia, you’ll really need to ignore all context surrounding the trial, and why it went to trial to begin with.