If the Trump campaign somehow colluded with the friends of Vladimir Putin like the Clinton campaign did, one should think that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had something do with it. The Special Counsel appointed to continue the counterintelligence investigation undertaken by the FBI has brought two indictments against Manafort. The first case is set to go to trial before Judge Ellis on July 25 in the Eastern District of Virginia. The charges have nothing to do with collusion. In filings on Friday, Special Counsel prosecutors stated that collusion with the Russian government would not come up at the trial. CNN does the best it can with to conceal its disappointment here.
The other set of charges pending against Manafort before Judge Jackson in the District of Columbia don’t have anything to do with collusion either. Reasonable observers might infer that is because there was no such collusion, but sophisticates hold out hope that Manafort might choose to cooperate with prosecutors by spelling out what he might have done in the mold of the Clinton campaign in exchange for leniency. Reasonable observers might infer that there was no such collusion on the part of the Trump campaign.
I can’t even say that if Manafort had directed a law firm to retain a foreign intelligence consultant to work on behalf of the Trump campaign with Russian government officials against Hillary Clinton, he’d really be in trouble. It’s not funny. He’s already in real trouble. But President Pence would probably have hoved into view some time ago. And I should add — it can’t be repeated often enough — that we know of the Clinton campaign’s collusion with Putin’s associates only through the work of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and his colleagues.