Friday’s very detailed indictment of twelve Russian government military officers sent notice to the world that Robert Mueller and his team know everything about what went on between Donald Trump and the Russians who supported him.
But the big news wasn’t just the fact that Russians were indicted, it was that Mueller has hard evidence of the communications and transactions that took place between Russians and Americans also. This could include Americans such as Donald Trump, his family, his campaign and transition staff, and even federal employees working in the White House.
One other person watching these proceedings with great interest is former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, whose trial was scheduled to begin on July 25. But yesterday it was announced that Manafort’s trial has been pushed back a week. As the legal website Law and Crime reported:
“The judge overseeing Paul Manafort‘s federal court case on charges of tax evasion and bank fraud in Virginia delayed proceedings in a surprise move on Monday afternoon. According to legal experts familiar with the federal court system, this could be an indication that Manafort is about to cut a plea deal.”
BREAKING NEWS (this evening): Manafort May Be About to Flip, Legal Experts Say https://t.co/FXnOdHwYFS
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) July 17, 2018
In other words, Manafort may have come to his senses after reading the latest indictments and realizing two important things:
- That he doesn’t have a prayer of winning in court, and therefore he will spend the rest of his life in jail, and
- That Donald Trump will not be able to save him with a pardon because he may not even be president very much longer.
Rachel Maddow addressed the issue on her show and said that the delay in Manafort’s case was a very important development.
“#Maddow has an idea why Paul Manafort’s Virginia trial delay could be the most important development today”
— Raw Story (@RawStory) July 17, 2018
According to Maddow, there are several possible reasons that a delay would be granted for Manafort, but the most likely is that Manafort is negotiating a plea deal.
The Manafort delay came out of left field and caught everybody by surprise. No lawyer for either side had filed a request for a delay, according to the publicly-accessible court docket.
According to Law and Crime,
“Many legal observers noted that this was a strange turn of events with the trial fast approaching; several even indicated that this last-minute interruption could signal Manafort’s last-minute willingness to flip.”
Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, had this to say:
“One obvious explanation is that Manafort is negotiating a last-minute plea deal with Mueller, and both parties have asked for pretrial matters to be postponed while they work out the details.”
One obvious explanation is that Manafort is negotiating a last-minute plea deal with Mueller, and both parties have asked for pretrial matters to be postponed while they work out the details. https://t.co/irS2C44g4W
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) July 16, 2018
Just as we don’t know for sure when or if Michael Cohen will flip, we also don’t know for sure that this latest trial delay means Paul Manafort will flip. Without more information we can only speculate and try to interpret events as they happen.
But, with all of the new moves made by Rod Rosenstein and Bob Mueller, there is plenty to interpret, and it may all be bad news for President Donald J. Trump.