1 Here is the complaint issued against former Trump campaign official Paul Manafort, as well as an associate of his I had never heard of before. This is the big news that sent the “Hooray! Trump is about to be impeached!” fantasists into near orgasms over once it was leaked—leaks from investigations are unethical—that Special Counsel Mueller had finally found someone to charge.
There is nothing in the complaint, literally nothing, that relates to “Russiagate,” the 2016 election, the Trump campaign, collusion, or anything else that was among the original justifications for this exercise. I couldn’t even find the name “Trump” anywhere in its 31 pages, but my “Find” function wasn’t working very well. There may be one or two.
I have no ethical problem with charging individuals with crimes that are discovered during the course of an investigation, even if the investigation was ostensibly about something else.
2. I assume that Manafort, who sure appears to be in big trouble, will be given a chance to cut a deal if he has something significant to reveal that would implicate the President or others in the administration in wrongdoing. In the strange psychology of the Trump Deranged, this means that the end is near for the President, because they just know that he was colluding with the Russians. They just know, that’s all. In fact, if there was no illegal activity involving the campaign, and there is no evidence that there was, the fact that Manafort will have the opportunity to “roll over” on the President doesn’t mean there is anything to roll over about. The fair presumption should be that there isn’t, until there is.
3. The breathless reporting of the Manafort complaint is another smoking gun for anti-Trump bias among the punditry and the news media. It’s quite remarkable and embarrassing.
While the target and nature of the charges remain unknown, the expected indictment — from a special counsel appointed after Trump abruptly fired his FBI director out of frustration with the Russia probe — could make Monday one of the most politically consequential days of this presidency.
Welcome to Really Bad Journalism. This isn’t reporting the news. This is reporting what a publication hopes will be the news. News sources are supposed to report what was or is, not what “could be” if their fondest wishes are realized. It is also incompetent. Why the special counsel was appointed doesn’t tell us whether a subsequent charge relates to the original justification. What did Bill Clintons lies under oath in the Paula Jones law suit have to do with Whitewater, which was what Kenn Starr was originally investigating? Prosecutors prosecute whatever crimes they encounter in an investigation.
A mood of fateful anticipation is cloaking Washington, with possible arrests imminent after the federal grand jury in the Russia investigation approved its first charges.By taking one or more people into custody, a prospect first reported by CNN Friday, Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller would create a new, perilous reality for the White House, reflecting the gravity of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and alleged collusion by President Donald Trump’s associates.
This is also unconscionable and misleading. Paul Manafort’s alleged criminal activities unrelated to Russia or the campaign are unrelated to Russia or the campaign. Their prosecution cannot and does not “create a new, perilous reality”—what does that even mean? How does an investigation into one matter become more grave when it uncovers a crime that has nothing to do with that matter? This is the news media assuming its audience is stupid while working to make it dumber still.
4. The problem for Trump that Manifort’s problems does illustrate is Trump’s dangerous–foolish, risky—tendency to trust untrustworthy people. This is disastrous for any President, witness that self-inflicted wounds that upended President Grant’s administration. There are too many slimy, shady, creepy individuals from the business world that have moved in an out of Trump’s circles, and, ominously, his administration, like Michael Cohen, Anthony Scaramucci, Corey Lewandowski, Roger Stone, Jared Kushner, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Steve Bannon, and others. Embarrassments for the President are inevitable; he’ll be lucky if that’s the worst he has to deal with.