Paul Manafort should remember March 11, 2019 and perhaps Donald Trump might too.
Today is the day that Paul Manafort was sentenced to a total of 7.5 years for crimes prosecuted by special counsel Robert Mueller. Perhaps conveniently arranged, Manafort has just been indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance for "a yearlong residential mortgage fraud scheme through which Manafort and others falsified business records to illegally obtain millions of dollars."
President Donald Trump is pro-crime. I know he claims to be in favor of the rule of law. But, his actions overwhelmingly prove otherwise.
When will country prevail over political party?
That is my question after watching the grueling, emotional hours yesterday when Donald Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen went to Washington and appeared on our electronic screens worldwide.
Asking this question scares me. Worse, the answers shake me to my core.
The land of the free and the home of the brave under Donald Trump has become a fearsome place for outsiders. When the first tear gas canister was fired towards refugees at the San Ysidro, CA, border crossing, the administration lost whatever remaining moral authority it had. The action could be construed unfavorably under the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified seventy years ago, in 1948, and the photos of barefoot children in diapers running from tear gas will accompany Trump’s history, forever.
It’s not pretty, but it’s powerful.
And more than anything else, it is far from being a witch-hunt.
By now, you good readers will realize I’m referring to the Mueller investigation and its most recent major win, the guilty plea and the cooperation agreement with former President Donald Trump campaign chairperson, Paul Manafort.
While Donald Trump should get credit for continuing the President Obama US economic recovery and while he absolutely deserves credit for expanding it with deregulations and corporate tax cuts, the harm he is doing in other areas cannot be overstated.
In the past week, I have become even more convinced that he is not only very weak on crime but is creating more FAKE scandal for political purposes. Of course, I should also add to the mix his incredible inability to get beyond his own sense of self which was on full display this weekend until yesterday after war hero and extraordinary US Senator, John McCain, passed away.
Am I missing something?
Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s embattled former Campaign chairman is looking at a possible life in prison as he awaits for the jury to return his future with a verdict in the first trial against him. He has been accused of bank fraud, tax fraud, a total of 18 counts.
Many of those watching the case unfold feel that the special counsel’s office, led by Robert Mueller, has a slam dunk of a case. Manafort refused to testify or call any witnesses in his defense. He has a trial set in one month, although he now wants a continuance. Obviously, innocence or guilt is up to the jury, not Trump, Mueller, you or me. No matter how any of us view this case, the jurors' viewpoints rule.
Yes, he might win the case against him as getting reasonable doubt is very difficult, although the federal prosecutors have a great track record when they bring cases to trial, in part because the prosecutor staff and FBI are professionals, not politicos and are well-funded.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump blames Mueller, of course.
Today, the country’s number one-crime fighter told the media after being asked whether he would pardon Manafort:
THE PRESIDENT: I don't talk about that, no. I don't talk about that. I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad. When you look at what's going on there, I think it's a very sad day for our country.
He worked for me for a very short period of time. But you know what? He happens to be a very good person. And I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort.
Thank you very much.
What the heck is going on with this administration, this president and his firm ardent supporters who will rationalize everything the President does? Remember when President Obama intervened in the very controversial Trayvon Martin-Zimmerman case? The president waded into the tragedy of the death of Martin, not pre-determining that trial, but reminding the world that Martin could have been his son.
The right wing crowd blew a gasket. How dare the president throw the power and influence of his office around the judicial system like that! And they were right. Not only would a statement like that risk the tainting of a jury, but, it is just wrong on so many fronts.
But now, President Trump has a different view. His own presidency is at risk as well as possible liabilities of his family. The drum is beating deeper and louder calling for impeachment after recent events that have shocked the nation.
Manafort is being charged for very serious white collar crimes. Yet our President is blaming the prosecutors.
Where are those right wingers who were rightfully outraged when Obama stepped over the line in the Zimmerman case? Trump has been using this "blame the government" tactic now ever since Manafort got indicted, if not before.
The silence is stunning. Trump’s behavior shows his state of mind. He will do whatever it takes, I believe, to ensure that he does not meet a similar fate as his former chairman.
His statement today is just one more piece of evidence of criminal intent in an obstruction of justice case and abuse of power charge.
Instead of telling the world to wait for justice to be heard, he has blasted Mueller team, regardless as to what the jury might determine and knowing that another trial is right down the road.
That the president of the United States has brought this country so close to this type of division, discourse and suspicion is profound.
Borrowing his words from today, I think it is very sad what this president has done to our country.
Judge T.S. Ellis, III once referred to himself as “Caesar in [the] Rome” that’s his courtroom though, by the jurist’s own admission, it’s a pretty small place. An exquisitely educated Reagan appointee, since 1984, Ellis transforms himself from mere mortal into mini-deity every time he dons a black toga to judge the accused arrayed beneath his bench who must contend for favor.
Donald Trump praised Ellis, recently, for the scoldings he’s been giving prosecutors from the special counsel’s office during the trial of Paul Manafort, ex-chair of the Trump campaign. Manafort is accused of evading taxes, money-laundering, and a passel-full of other financial crimes, mostly having a nexus to unreported income earned from pro-Russia work he undertook for the Ukraine’s former president, Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko, who fled to Russia before the axe dropped.
Donald Trump says Paul Manafort is being treated worse than Al Capone. A little history is in order. The fella who ordered Al Capone taken down was President Herbert Hoover who was tired of impudent gang murders in Chicago by America’s most famous gangster. Treasury Secretary, Andrew Mellon, who received the order, directed his treasury department to gather intelligence about Capone’s finances and, thereafter, history was writ.
The judge in the case of U.S. vs Capone, James H. Wilkerson, ran a rocket trial on the 23 charges facing Capone. It began on October 5, 1931 and concluded on October 18th of the same year with a guilty verdict. Ironically, Wilkerson bears more than a resemblance to special counsel Robert Mueller.
"All I can tell you is this, there was no collusion, there was no nothing," Donald Trump said, this time on his way to Asia. The use of a double negative, normally, is read as an affirmation, but it doesn’t matter much what Trump says about Russia. No one believes him, anymore, not even Republicans.