Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Manafort Verdict Says Nothing

Check Memeorandum for all the scandal-related news about the Trump administration.

It's over the top. Calls for impeachment are already ramping up, but this morning's headlines are as significant as folks may think.

See Byron York, at the Washington Examiner, "Manafort split verdict says nothing on Trump, Russia, and the 2016 election":
Mueller did not allege any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign, and none were revealed at the trial.

That's not to say the public did not learn anything from the Manafort trial. Indeed, if nothing else, outsiders got a glimpse into what Washington influence peddlers have gotten away with for decades. Manafort was convicted of shady dealing going back a long way. His behavior had been examined by the Obama Justice Department, which took no action against him. It was only because Manafort hooked up with Trump, and Trump then won the White House, and Democrats then pushed a Trump-Russia narrative to hobble the new president, and Trump then fired the director of the FBI -- only through all of those circumstances -- that Manafort got caught and his foreign money schemes exposed.

The importance of the financial crimes case against Manafort was never the financial crimes themselves. It was the prosecutors' hope that, by charging the hell out of the offenses alleged, by playing hardball with the defendant with a guns-drawn-at-dawn search-warrant raid, by jailing him over a debatable obstruction of justice charge that Manafort could be pressured into spilling what prosecutors apparently thought were a lot of beans about the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.

The big question about that strategy, of course, was whether the beans really existed. Was there a deep, dark secret about Russia collusion, evidence to proved that it occurred, and did Manafort, and only Manafort, know it? If so, then Manafort could be the key to the case. If not, then Mueller could succeed in nailing Manafort's hide to the wall -- and sending a warning to Washington operators who accept huge foreign payments -- but not accomplish the actual goal of the Trump-Russia investigation...