This week’s announcement that special counsel Robert Mueller produced a federal indictment against Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates has Democrats calling it a bombshell.
In truth, President Trump is probably ecstatic that the concerted efforts of 17 federal prosecutors and many months of investigation turned up absolutely nothing that includes the name of the president or any tampering with the past election.
Of course, news sources like Huffington Post and Salon see these indictments as proof that President Trump is in deep trouble. Matthew Rozsa of Salon writes that President Trump may be publicly claiming to be unfazed by the Mueller indictments, but the infamous ‘unnamed sources’ in the White House say Trump is privately apprehensive about what might happen next.
“’The walls are closing in. Everyone is freaking out,’ one senior Republican told The Washington Post. Trump was reported to be personally upset at the possibility that the Mueller probe will start to look into his private financial matters and was generally annoyed that the focus on the investigation distracted public attention from his policy initiatives like tax reform.”
The truth is this: Mueller has now proven that his investigation is a fishing expedition that has nothing to do with what the Justice Department commissioned him to do, and the President knows it.
Paul Manafort was targeted by Mueller months ago because, as a top Republican strategist, he had a well-known track record of working for foreign politicians. He was campaign manager for Trump, but only for a brief time after his business dealings in Ukraine came under intense scrutiny.
Manafort and his associate, Richard W. Gates, have been charged with conspiring to conceal from the U.S. government that they may have been unregistered foreign agents for Ukraine, and may have taken part in a money-laundering conspiracy. Manafort has pled not guilty to these alleged crimes which are very far removed from the 2016 election.
In spite of what the mainstream media portrays, the charges themselves are not a slam dunk, and even if proven have no connection to President Trump or any supposed Russian collusion tainting our electoral system.
Andrew C. McCarthy, writing for The National Review, says:
“Do not be fooled by the ‘Conspiracy against the United States’ heading on Count One (page 23 of the indictment). This case has nothing to do with what Democrats and the media call ‘the attack on our democracy’ (i.e., the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 election, supposedly in ‘collusion’ with the Trump campaign).”
Manafort’s indictment is really a huge win for Trump. He is not a longtime friend of the president, and did not have the kind of personal connection normally expected in a campaign manager. Manafort was brought into the campaign because of his experience in dealing with party infighting going back to the Ford-Reagan fight in 1976, and he left the post after only a few months.
More importantly, there is nothing in the indictment that relates to the 2016 election, then-candidate Trump, or anyone in his inner circle.
What is most telling is what the indictment does not include. What the indictment fails to do is put the president of the United States in any legal peril. In spite of initial glee from Democrats, Mueller’s first effort is not remotely the direct hit they are wishing it was.
Manafort’s work for the Trump campaign is not even mentioned in the indictment. Few see Manafort as having clean hands in his own business dealings in Ukraine and other countries, but none of those intersect with the Oval Office in any way.
Collusion isn’t a federal crime, and it’s likely Trump’s base will not be swayed even if proven. But the very idea of such is a fairy tale was invented by a desperate Hillary Clinton to salvage her election hopes. The irony is, as President Trump has pointed out, Clinton, Mueller, and other Democrats may very soon come to wish they had not pointed the spotlight on shady business dealings with Russia.
From President Trump’s perspective, the indictment is a gift. Republicans can now point out that the special counsel has no case for collusion. Former FBI director James Comey’s multiple assurances that Trump is not a suspect to this point have proven to be true. Additionally, Mueller’s prosecutorial overreach is exactly what Trump has called it – a witch hunt.
Is President Trump annoyed by all the unnecessary distraction? No doubt. But afraid of a fight? At this point he may relish it.
[From an article published by CONSERVATIVE ZONE]
As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis