I am sure by now you have heard. Paul Manafort has flipped. He will cooperate with the Feds and only pled to two of the seven charges. We will not see a high profile trial in the DC Court. This is a big fucking deal. Let me explain. This is not the coffee boy (who incidentally was not, and also flipped). Paul Manafort was at the Trump Tower meeting of June 9, 2016.
There are a few things that happened after that meeting. For starters, there were a few suspicious money transfers after that meeting. You guessed it, those involved Russians at the very least. Buzzfeed broke this story two days ago. They reported, among other things, that:
The documents show Aras Agalarov, a billionaire real estate developer close to both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, at the center of this vast network and how he used accounts overseas to filter money to himself, his son, and at least two people who attended the Trump Tower meeting. The records also offer new insight into the murky financial world inhabited by many of Trump’s associates, who use shell companies and secret bank accounts to quickly and quietly move money across the globe.
This is hardly insignificant.
We also know that for all intents and purposes the president has admitted, the meeting was to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. This has been the partial allegation for some time. We also know he told the Russians to try to find her missing thirty thousand emails. Essentially, he asked them to hack for him.
Manafort flipped and will cooperate with the Feds. This is a major point of inflection in this story. He may have counted on a pardon, but he likely has decided that is not going to happen. Ten years in a federal prison, when you are almost seventy, could be a life sentence. Now he wants to take care of his family, and for that, we can all respect him.
What is clear is that he has valuable information for the Mueller team, or they would not have done this. And this is where we turn to the bigger picture.
What the Mueller team is doing is building a case. It looks like they are building a classic RICO case, and they are flipping suspects by slowly going up the tree. One has to wonder if they are now considering the President, his son Donald Jr, or his son-in-law Jared Kushner targets? if they do, it explains why at least two of these have not been interviewed yet. And why the Trump lawyers will do all they can to prevent an actual interview.
However, this is where Republicans come in. We have seen many in the party hide their heads in the sand. They are in denial, and some still call this a nothing-burger. I understand the White House reaction, but the rest of the party will have to decide. They either stand with Trump and sink with the ship or cut him loose. And likely that part of the story will not be known until after the midterms election.
All these developments should be baked into the electoral cake. But the more that comes out, the more seats that the Republicans have at risk. At this point, even the Senate may be in play. One reason, many Americans are tired of the president’s abuses of the office. They want accountability. Ergo, they are willing to go for a divided government.
And yet again, we come to Watergate. It was a nothing-burger until it was not. In the end, Republicans told Richard Nixon that he either resigned, or he would be impeached. The political math was different at that time, and Democrats held the whole of Congress. But there were not enough Democrats to vote to indict in the Senate. Meaning, yes you got it, that Republicans were willing to vote to indict Richard Milhaus Nixon. If Democrats flip both the House and Senate, will Republicans decide that it is time to turn on Trump? And to be more specific, who in the party will deliver the message to Trump?
Nixon had a love of country that Trump does not. Both are paranoid and think the world is out to get them. And to be fair, some got Nixon, and the same fate awaits Trump. However, will Trump decide to go into the dark night, or fight this to the end?
And what about his base? This is not a minor question. Unlike the Nixon base that got their news from the same common news sources, Trump’s base does not. They literally are ensconced in information silos where a lot of the details are not penetrating. And the few that are, they are fake news. So they can be discounted. Could some of his base decide to defend their leader beyond just social media?
Time will tell. But this is a big deal.
September 14, 2018