The White House is publicly claiming that Trump isn’t paying attention to the Paul Manafort trial, but privately Trump is watching the television coverage and demanding updates from his lawyers.
Jeff Zeleny of CNN reported:
There two types of strategies here at the white house I’m told today. One in public they are trying to distance president trump from any of these proceed saying look Paul manafort’s business dealings were happening long before he became the campaign chairman and he was the campaign chairman for only a brief period of time. Kellyanne Conway said she was the winning campaign manager trying to distance and diminish Paul manafort’s role. Make no mistake, two Summers ago in Cleveland at the Republican national convention without Paul Manafort the whole floor fight at the convention would have been much more pronounced. He helped the Republican Party accept Donald Trump.
Now I’m told that Donald Trump is watching the proceedings very carefully. As he was flying down to Florida this evening where he is going to be holding a campaign rally tonight I’m told he was watching the proceeding on television. He has been asking for updates from his legal team, lawyers who are following this carefully. It’s not about president trump. It’s not each about the Russia collusion investigation. But they are keeping such a close eye on it here at the white house. Of course this is Bob Mueller’s first public be case here. For the next three weeks they will say they are not watching, Erin. Privately I’m told they are.
The White House is nervous because if Mueller cuts through Manafort like a hot knife through butter, they’re next. If this case had nothing to do with the campaign, as Trump is fond of claiming, why is he following it so closely? The answer is that Manafort has a great deal to do with the campaign. He has proven Russia connections, and one suspects that he knows where at least some of the bodies are buried.
Paul Manafort is not expected to be acquitted, which means that he is likely holding out for a presidential pardon from Trump. The man who was the chairman of Trump’s campaign is about to go down, and it looks like the president is sweating bullets as he watches it all happen.
For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association