According to Glenn Kirschner, a former prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s District of Columbia office, Manafort has certainly already “delivered the goods” to the special counsel. He said that, based on his experience of being in the same situation many times, the prosecutors always demand to see the incriminating evidence being offered by the defendant BEFORE a plea agreement is entered into.
This means that Manafort was certainly told he must provide “blockbuster information” to Robert Mueller and his team before they would be willing to accept his guilty plea. Without such damaging evidence provided against the “bigger fish” that Mueller is after, he would have had no incentive to reduce Manafort’s prison sentences.
And agreements are not entered into just on the basis of empty promises from criminal defendants. All the information they provide is verified in advance of the finalization of any plea deal.
“I’ve been behind those closed doors in well over 100 meetings in secure interview rooms with defendants who are hoping to become cooperators,” Kirschner said. “There are a couple features that I think are universal in those meetings, and I’m quite sure this is how it played out for the Mueller team.”
He said that Mueller’s team would have told Manafort he first had to list every crime he had committed (no exceptions.)
Since Manafort participated in the Trump Tower meeting with Russians offering information against Hillary Clinton the other participants in that meeting (Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner) are for sure on Manafort’s list. And he has told Mueller everything he knows about their crimes also.
“They would ask about any crime he knows about, whether Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner or others,” Kirschner said. “Then they begin corroborating everything he’s said with external information. It’s only after they’re satisfied of all of that that they can offer him a cooperation agreement.”
After he was convicted of tax and bank fraud, Manafort had little leverage in the negotiations with Mueller. Which means Mueller got everything he wanted out of the plea deal.
“Listen, they already have him where they wanted him,” Kirschner said. “He was convicted of eight felony charges in Virginia. He was facing a recharge in Virginia on the hung counts an he was facing yet another trial in the District of Columbia, which was a surefire winner for Mueller’s team.”
“Once they’re sitting in the room with Paul Manafort, in my opinion, if Manafort said, ‘You know, Mr. Mueller, I don’t have any consequence to give you about the president, Don Jr., etc., but I would like a plea agreement,’ Mueller would have walked out of that room,” Kirschner said. “My belief is that Mr. Manafort had to deliver some blockbuster, truthful information to get the deal he got.”
Which means that Donald Trump is done. From here it’s just a matter of working out the timeline and the details for the end of his presidency. With Bob Mueller in charge that is likely to happen very soon.
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.