MSNBC Guest: Manafort Won’t Flip Because He’s Afraid of Russian Poison

Paul Manafort’s lack of cooperation with prosecutors has been puzzling legal experts and casual observers ever since he was indicted by Robert Mueller last year.

Many theories have been tossed around, but nobody knows for sure why there is no cooperation agreement between Manafort and federal prosecutors. It may be that he doesn’t have enough to offer, so Mueller is not interested in making a deal with him. It may be that he does have enough to offer, and wants to make a deal, but he is not happy with the deal the prosecutors are offering to him. Or it may be that he has all the information that Mueller wants concerning ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, but he is unwilling to give it up.

If it is the latter — if he is not willing to testify for the prosecution even though they want him to do so — then the question becomes why. Nobody really believes Manafort is a “stand up guy” and will refuse to flip out of loyalty to Donald Trump.

On an MSNBC show today one of the guests said that it may be because he is simply afraid of retribution (i.e., being killed) by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Manafort was found guilty of eight federal criminal charges on Tuesday and now must make a decision about his future. He is facing another, more serious trial in Washington on September 17th. If he made a deal with Mueller before then he could be saved the unpleasant experience of going through another long trial where details of his life are paraded before the world.

So this morning MSNBC host David Gura asked Zerlina Maxwell, senior director of progressive programming at SeriusXM. “What did you take away from that first trial as you look ahead to the next one? What does that tell you about the special counsel?”

Maxwell replied as follows:

“Now that we’ve heard from one of the jurors, who was on Fox News after the verdict came out, who said that essentially he was going to be convicted on all 18 counts and there was one holdout, so that to me means that he’s in bad shape going into the D.C. trial because the prosecutors will learn from the experience in the Virginia trial and try to adjust their strategy.”

“So I think we should look to whether Manafort is going to make a deal. I don’t know, maybe he’s old school and doesn’t snitch.”

But then ormer Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines chimed in with her possibly dead-on comment:

“Old school — he’s afraid of Russian poisoning,” Reines said.

“Or that,” Maxwell replied. “One or the other.”

As crazy as it sound, Reines and Maxwell may be right. It seems that Vladimir Putin will stop at nothing to exert his power and make sure that people do his bidding, including killing people who have the nerve to testify against him.


I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.

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