There will be a second trial for Manafort in a few weeks, and that one is where the more serious charges come in.
It will be very interesting to see how that plays out, because if he has something incriminating on Trump to hand over to the special council, this is the time he would do it.
Manafort was present during the infamous Trump tower meeting where they went to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Russian official, so he may have something in regards to that.
If Trump all of a sudden pardons Manafort before the second trial is over, then we can be 100% sure that he has something valuable to offer the special council in a plea deal.
For what it's worth, even though I think there's a lot of things wrong with Trump and the hush money thing is highly significant, I rather doubt that the Russia stuff amounts to anything. It's always struck me as wishful thinking and hoping for perjury and obstruction of justice charges.
Anyway, Manfort isn't a Trump loyalist, he's just a hired gun that got tossed aside. There's no reason for him to fall on his sword for Trump. If Manfort had anything on Trump that would have saved his butt, he would have already turned it over.
I think it's fairly obvious that Trump has done something illegal in regards to Russia. I'm just not sure what. He's gone out of his way to protect Michael Flynn and risk obstruction of justice charges over something he had no part of?
He was warned by first the Obama administration, and then later Sally Yates that Flynn may be compromised by Russia. Knowing this he chose to ignore the warnings, and instead fired Sally Yates. It was not until New York Times were about to go public with this information and gave the white house a heads up that he fired Flynn right before that story broke.
The very next day he invited James Comey over, and ordered everyone else to clear the room (despite Jeff Session's reportedly not wanting to leave at first, presumably because he thought it would be a bad idea) and then he reportedly told James Comey that "Flynn is a great guy." Asked for Comey's loyalty three times, and said "I hope you can see to letting this thing with Flynn go."
Just one day after firing Flynn for lying to Mike Pence and the FBI.
Then as you know, he fired James Comey (when he wouldn't let it go) and admitted on TV that he did so while thinking about the Russia investigation. Etc.
These things will likely come up in court if Trump is impeached. I don't see why he'd go out of his way to risk obstruction of justice charges multiple times if he's not involved. Add to the fact that he is hiding his tax returns, and there's definitely something he doesn't want people to see. It may just be money laundering or something, rather than collusion. But he's very much behaving like a guilty person.
Then we have the Trump tower meeting, where his son Don Jr already admitted to attempting to collude with a Russian official. His story is that they never got anything, and instead talked about adoption. Even if that's true, he went there with the intention of conspiring, which is enough. And in case his story about the abortion isn't true, Manafort may have something interesting to say about it.
As for Manafort would have agreed to cooperate already if he had something. That's possible, but it's not certain. Unlike Cohen who pleaded guilty, Manafort's approach was to plead not guilty. And on 10 of the 18 counts, the jury was indecisive. (Resulting in a mistrial on those counts.)
Last edited by Hiku - on 22 August 2018
This trial could have ended with him being found not guilty on any count. And no matter how it ended, his lawyer could dispute the convictions. It seems like they won't though, because his lawyer thanked the judge for "being fair".
Let's assume Manafort has something on Trump and Trump knows it. The first course of action, if they believe they have a case for 'not guilty' would be to try that in court first. It's not a good look for Trump to pardon him all of a sudden, so that would be a last resort.
If that is the situation, then these convictions Manafort got may serve to provoke Trump to pardon him. Because now, Manafort is facing jail time. Possibly for the rest of his life. And most certainly, if he is found guilty of some of the upcoming charges. Now that jail time is not just a possibility, but a certainty, he'd be more inclined to coperate with the special council if he has something of value.
Muller (and congress) can still grant both Cohen and Manafort immunity, according to legal experts on TV I listened to.