Manafort Likely To Flip After New Charges From Mueller

After President Donald Trump distanced himself this past week from Paul Manafort it became clear that the former campaign chairman should not be expecting a presidential pardon. Trump posted a tweet that seemed to come out of nowhere, and it was a clue that something new and very important was about to come out about Manafort. Trump tweeted at 6:34 a.m. on Sunday:

....Paul Manafort came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time (he represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole & many others over the years), but we should have been told that Comey and the boys were doing a number on him, and he wouldn’t have been hired!”

The president seemed to have inside information about Manafort, otherwise why would he post this tweet saying he hardly knew the guy? He had done the same thing about others, such as Papadopoulos who he said was just a “coffee boy” when in fact he was a major foreign policy adviser on Trump’s campaign.

Maybe the president had advance notice of new criminal charges filed against Manafort for witness tampering which will make him more likely to “flip” and start cooperating with Mueller.

Manafort’s situation is extremely important to the president.  He has known him for 30 years and he is facing two different criminal trials this summer.  If found guilty at trial the charges against him would put him in jail for the rest of his life.

The pressure on Manafort has been increasing recently, as his former son in law did plead guilty to Mueller’s charges and has started cooperating with the special counsel. His former right-hand man Rick Gates has already flipped on him, so Manafort is likely doomed if he goes to trial.

Several days ago Manafort also started a fundraising website, which seemed to indicate that he has run out of money to pay the high-priced lawyers who have been trying to keep him out of jail.  None of his lawyers’ court filings or motions to date have worked, however. Which means that unless something changes he faces the prospect of dual criminal trials this summer.

Without his high priced lawyers and without a Trump pardon the only way for Manafort to avoid trial and to avoid spending a lot of time in jail is to cooperate with Mueller and the federal prosecutors.

In their new filing federal prosecutors said that Manafort and a longtime associate (who has been linked to Russian intelligence) had contacted members of a public-relations firm and asked them to give false testimony about lobbying they did on behalf of Manafort.

If the judge grants the prosecutor’s request and revokes Manafort’s bail he would go to jail while waiting for his two trials this summer.  After the special counsel served him indictments last fall, the 69 year old Manafort has been on home confinement.  His first trial is scheduled for July.

So there is speculation that prosecutors are trying to increase the pressure on him right now in order to get him to agree to a plea deal with them.  This would involve him pleading guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his cooperation as a witness, presumably in the special counsel’s case against President Donald Trump.

Since Manafort was Trump’s former campaign chairman it is assumed that he took part in many high-level discussions with the president, and these are of great interest to Mueller’s team of prosecutors.

Manafort has repeatedly said he would not plead guilty and would not “flip” and become a witness for the prosecutors.  The prospect of him going to jail, however, might change his thinking and his legal strategy.

Many observers on Twitter believe the increased pressure caused by the new witness tampering charges will cause Manafort to flip.  Seth Abramson wrote:

Sounds like a bail revocation—and new indictment—are coming for Manafort. A defendant sitting in jail pre-trial is far more likely to flip on a Big Fish than one lounging in his living room. This could be a big deal, especially if this case—and/or the new one—drags on for months.”

And as lawyer Brad Moss said, “Paul Manafort is not the type to do well in jail. He’ll flip.”

And more than one person made the connection between Trump’s behavior and Manafort’s new charges:

After months of silence on the indictment of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, criminal con-man Trump is now freaking out and manically tweeting about him, meaning — Trump may have gotten word that Manafort is about to flip and cooperate with Mueller.”

Nothing that Bob Mueller does happens in a vacuum.  Everything is interrelated. The latest charges against Manafort may just be another chess move designed to put him in a no-win situation. And the game may be over soon. It seems to be just a matter of time until Mueller tips over Manafort’s queen and says “check mate.”


Leo Vidal

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