On Friday Paul Manafort agreed to a guilty plea to resolve the pending federal charges against him in the District of Columbia (the pending charges set forth in a superseding criminal information), the charges remaining against him in the Eastern District of Virginia and to the related charge of obstruction of justice. None of it has anything ot do with the Trump presidential campaign, of course, but the agreement leaves open the possibility that Manafort might be prosecuted “for any crimes not included within th[e] agreement.” I have embedded a copy of the letter agreement below via Scribd.
NR’s Andrew McCarthy observes that “the media are spun up because the plea agreement, which will cap the 69-year-old Manafort’s prison time at ten years, requires Manafort’s cooperation. Anti-Trumpers have visions of the walls closing in on the president.” Like the speaker in Yeats’s great poem, they announce: “Surely some revelation is at hand[.]” One wonders if they themselves believe it.
“The revelation” would of course be the supposed “collusion of the Trump campaign in the election with the Russian government. In their eyes, Trump is guilty of something warranting his removal of office, whether or not the pretext for Mueller’s efforts actually exists. They tout Mueller’s impeccable record of guilty pleas that miss the mark of anything approaching the Trump’s “collusion” with the friends of Vladimir Putin. They are determined to overlook and distract us from the biggest scandal in American political history, a scandal that indeed involves “collusion,” but the collusion of the Clinton campaign with the Russian government. If the Steele dossier is taken at face value, we have the ocular proof of this collusion.
Ken Vogel usefully explores the background of Manafort’s plea in “Manafort Plea Deal Casts New Scrutiny on Lobbyists He Recruited.” Here Manafort actually has something to contribute. On the Trump-Russia collusion front, the Democrats and their media adjunct will keep at it right through the time some rough beast slouches toward the 2020 Democratic convention to be born as the party’s presidential nominee.