What You Need to Know About the Manafort Trial

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RUSH: There’s a story in The Stack here, Paul Manafort may have earned $60 million in his Ukraine deal. As though it’s a crime. Yet Leslie Moonves is slated to earn $300 million in the next three years as the CEO of CBS, and nothing wrong with that. But Manafort making $60 million as the middleman, frontman, whatever happened with the Ukraine, automatic criminal behavior? It’s amazing the different value judgments that people make on what they think of people and businesses that they are in.

Okay. A jury has been selected in the Manafort trial. This is in a heavily, heavily Democrat populated suburb in Virginia. Six women, six men. Manafort faces two trials. The one that began today, this is probably, of the two trials, the one that more people are gonna be looking at. One of the interesting things that’s happened already, the Mueller prosecutor team, it is reported today, ABC News is saying that Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have told all of their witnesses to not mention the name Trump. Do not mention the name Trump.

Now, why? Manafort has been indicted, and all of these people that hate Trump are very happy because they think this trial of Manafort is somehow gonna sink Trump. And here’s the special counsel, reported by ABC News, having told his prosecutors to coach witnesses, their own witnesses, “Do not mention Trump.”

It says right here, “Prosecutors preparing witnesses for the upcoming trial of Paul Manafort are advising them to avoid mentioning Trump’s name.” Now, this case is looking only at allegations that Manafort has committed a range of financial crimes: bank fraud, tax evasion. None of these charges — now, listen to me on this. Look at me. None of the charges Paul Manafort is facing in this trial starting today have anything to do with his work as campaign manager for Donald Trump. Every one of these charges involves things Manafort did before he ever joined, for a brief period, the Trump campaign. He has pleaded not guilty.

Now, it is speculated that the reason the prosecutors have told their witnesses not to mention Trump is because of the judge. The judge in this case – you’ll remember the name — is T. S. Ellis. And he almost threw this case out. He almost threw this case out. He nailed what this case is all about. In open court he accused Mueller of not even really caring about Manafort. He just wants to get Manafort to flip on the president. That’s what this is about. The judge is saying this in open court. And the judge demanded to see a classified document from Rosenstein to Mueller charging him with responsibilities in this whole prosecution, this whole special counsel investigation.

And the judge would wait on deciding — ’cause Manafort’s team wanted the case thrown out. The judge considered it until he was allowed to see the secret memo that was written after the fact, by the way, from Rosenstein to Mueller. When Judge T. S. Ellis saw that secret memo that gave instructions to Mueller from Rosenstein, he allowed the case to proceed. But because of Mueller’s awareness that the judge thinks this case is not really about Manafort, that the judge — I mean, the Mueller team is probably very worried the judge would like to dispense with this case ’cause the judge figures out and knows what they’re doing.

So, in response Mueller’s prosecutors have been told, tell their witnesses, don’t mention Trump. Not about Trump. We don’t want anything getting in the way of a conviction here. And they’re afraid that if the witnesses start talking about Trump, that a jury in a heavily Democrat suburb already predisposed to hating Trump would automatically want to convict Manafort. They don’t even want that, they don’t want to have to go on appeal with Manafort’s team saying the jury was improperly influenced because Trump was mentioned, had nothing to do with the case.

So I find that fascinating. I find it fascinating, this whole thing, all of this, the Manafort charges and trial, everything here is all about proving that Trump colluded with Russia, and now the first trial and the government’s witnesses are under order not even to mention Trump’s name for fear it’ll bollix up the case. If that’s not fascinating, I don’t know what it is.

So here are the specifics. Mueller and his team of Hillary-loving prosecutors, Robert Mueller and his team of Hillary-donating prosecutors — well, yeah. That means bias. Of course, if they donated to Hillary, if they supported Hillary, they clearly are not unbiased, right? Ha-ha-ha. But we’re assured the scale of justice will allow these biased-for-Hillary lawyers to set that aside and appear as objective as is humanly possible.

So the prosecutors are gonna charge here, the Hillary-loving prosecutors, that Manafort failed to pay taxes on millions and millions and millions of dollars he made while working for a political party in Ukraine that was supposedly backed by Russia, because everything’s backed by Russia, because the Russians are meddling in everything. And after he failed to pay taxes on the millions he made working for the political party in Ukraine, he then lied, they say, to get more money by getting loans when the cash was no longer provided.

The judge has to decide how much evidence is gonna be allowed in the trial detailing Manafort’s work for Ukraine. You know what the years in question here are? 2005 and 2014. Manafort’s on trial for things that happened in 2005 and 2014. Manafort’s lawyers are saying that whatever work he did doesn’t matter, that it’s irrelevant to all of this. And his attorneys are gonna get more of this probably in the second trial which will happen in the District of Columbia. And that trial has to do with Manafort refusing or failing to register as a foreign agent. That trail will start in September.

Now, this first trial is in the suburbs of northern Virginia, which is Washington, D.C. It’s where a lot of lobbyists work. It’s where Hillary-loving lawyers on Mueller’s team live. The name of the suburb ought to be Special Interestville and Government Workersville or Government Workersburg or what have you. It’s heavily left. It’s heavily Democratic. And it’s fascinating to me that Mueller’s prosecutors are instructing jurors not to mention Russia and not to mention Trump. They’re gonna mention Ukraine, but they’re not gonna mention Trump, not gonna mention Russia. And it’s probably gonna be the same when they get to the trial in September in the District because they don’t want anything tainting the verdict. Trump is so despised in places these — supposedly despised that Mueller doesn’t want anything risking a conviction on appeal.

Now, this is another thing, this to me has to be said here. Not only is Trump not on trial here, and not only has Mueller told his Hillary-donating and supporting prosecutors not — and witnesses not to mention Trump’s name, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that Mueller has anything on Trump because, if he did, they could not have suppressed it. The Trump White House itself leaks very badly.

If Mueller’s team had dug up anything on Trump and Russia, it would be known. It would have been leaked long ago. Brian Ross might still be working at ABC. Any number of things could have happened. The fact that Mueller has nothing aiming at Trump, the stuff that might get to Trump he’s passed off to other jurisdictions.

So, the key — and I think this failed — one of the things — on the day of jury selection in trials — and I happen to know this because my dad, my family are lawyers — the day of jury selection is when the prosecutors really ratchet down the pressure to flip, to make a deal, because jury selection is real. When you get to selecting a jury, bammo, it’s real. It’s not the trial coming up next week, next month, next year, it’s happening. And so on the day of jury selection, the day leading up to it is when prosecutors try to apply all the pressure they’ve got to get their defendants to flip.

Judge Ellis had it right when he said it in open court. Alan Dershowitz has had it right, that the government has passed on these charges before prosecuting Manafort. There’s nothing new here. The Department of Justice long ago on a couple of occasions decided not to prosecute. Mueller is doing it because he has done everything he can to make Manafort flip, like supposedly Cohen is flipping or has.

Manafort obviously has not if they’re going through with this. If there wasn’t a deal today, if Manafort didn’t flip and there wouldn’t be a deal otherwise; so there’s no deal. And we had news earlier today that I shared with you right before the top of the hour, breaking news is from Wired sources, you know, Wired is, you know, a tech website. Attorney representing Paul Manafort say there’s no chance to cooperate with Mueller’s targeting of Trump. There may be two reasons why.

Either Manafort doesn’t know anything, and no amount of pressure would get him to flip, or else he’s — whatever you want to call it — loyal, tough, dug in, whatever, he hasn’t flipped yet. Jury selection day is when that generally happens. It’s not exclusive. I mean, the guy can flip any time, even during the course of the trial, don’t forget. As evidence mounts up and witnesses testify, the outcome can appear foregone is the conclusion. So it’s also possible to make deals down the road.

But it’s likely, folks, since there wasn’t any collusion, since there hasn’t been any Russian meddling with the outcome, that Manafort doesn’t know anything! There’s nothing he’s got to flip with! Now, one more thing. Jonathan Turley had a piece — he’s the Georgetown law professor that appears all over cable news — and he had a piece yesterday, the headline which said, “We are one witness away from disaster for Trump.”

People said, “What the hell? Who could that be? What do you mean, one?” See, if you read Turley, what Turley’s theory is, that Mueller might actually be aiming to do is targeting not Trump, but Trump Jr. That if he can get the goods, if he can get somebody to flip on Donald Trump Jr. and these meetings with the Russian honeypot lawyer at Trump Tower, if Mueller can apply pressure and make it look like he’s gonna indict Trump’s son, the theory is that Trump will go ballistic. That Trump will be uncontainable and unstoppable, targeting Mueller, targeting the prosecutors, doing whatever he can to defend his son, and that’s how they want to get Trump. They want to get Trump for obstruction, trying to stop the indictment — this is Turley’s theory.

Now, let me add a little bit of reasoned common sense to this. Here you have a president with the pardon power. And it is plenary. Nobody can stop him. There’s no reason for Trump to go off the rails if Mueller indicts his kid. If that happens, just pardon your kid, pardon Flynn, pardon everybody, then fire Rosenstein and fire Mueller and be done with it. Trump would not fall for that. Trump would not fall for going ballistic because they indict his son. But that’s what Turley’s theory is, since Manafort hasn’t and looks like he won’t flip.

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