When Michael Cohen turned on his former boss, the attacks from President Trump were swift and harsh. Cohen’s cooperation with Robert Mueller’s investigation yielded direct accusations of campaign finance violations against the President.
Now the former campaign manager Paul Manafort has cut a deal with the Mueller investigation, one might have expected the President to go after him as he did with Cohen. Instead, the President’s Twitter ire was turned to the investigation itself. Not a peep against Manafort. This bodes well for the man at the top of the administration.
It may not bode well for some of the people under him.
As NBC speculated, the information Manafort traded for sentencing concessions may be directed at someone below Trump or even others not involved with the campaign at all. In fact, it may be more focused on Russians rather than Americans.
Mueller’s original mission was to investigate Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. To date, he’s indicted a lot more Russians than he has Americans — even though the Americans are the ones being convicted. No less than 25 Russians have been indicted, though most may never be brought to the United States for prosecution.
Mueller might want to indict the high-level officials, or even the president … of Russia. Or at least name them as unindicted co-conspirators.
If anyone knows Russians, or Ukrainians, or Eastern Europeans in general, it’s Manafort.
Indeed, Manafort’s area of expertise is dealing with Eastern Europeans. He built a late career working with Ukraine and Russia that helped him amass a fortune. That knowledge combined with what he did in his short time leading the campaign may be juicy enough for Mueller to focus his efforts away from the Trump campaign.
We likely won’t know what Manafort is giving to Mueller for several weeks. This process seems to be under little pressure to expedite the investigation. Unless it’s going to yield fruit against President Trump or senior members of his staff, then we won’t know anything until after the midterm elections. As long as it’s a cloud hovering over the administration, it’s beneficial to Democrats. If the investigation is to yield little fruit, they’ll want that revealed after the election.
As long as Manafort appears to not be a threat to the administration we can expect the President to continue ignoring him. If you see the President go after him, that’s a sign Manafort is dropping something big.