Is The Manafort Trial A Nothing-Burger?

Two Men. Two Races. Two Opinions and occasional guests, fueled by wit and whiskey.

Cable news outlets have been covering the Paul Manafort trial as if President Trump’s future is directly linked to Manafort’s fate. Donald Trump has stated many times that the charges against Manafort are based on issues completely unrelated to his campaign or his presidency. This is actually one of the rare instances where the President is both truthful and accurate with his remarks. Even if Manafort is convicted (which appears to be very likely if the media analysis of the evidence against him is to be believed), it will not have any direct impact on the Trump Administration. In theory, Manafort could attempt to offer information of events that occurred during the campaign that the Mueller team can only verify with Manafort’s help. If that is how events unfold (which I would call it unlikely), Trump could pardon Manafort and “the crisis” would be averted. Does anyone doubt that Trump will use the power to protect his own interests? Let me be clear, I don’t know a lot about Paul Manafort but all signs indicate that he is not a particularly sympathetic figure (I’m being nice today). The crimes he is charged with are due to allegations of financial fraud and tax evasion stemming from his dealings in the Ukraine. I am not denying that this is a compelling set of events worthy of news coverage. I am saying that the likelihood of this having any impact on the Trump Administration is slim. While this is certainly the most high profile event stemming from the Mueller investigation to date, it is likely to end up being a big, fat Nothing-Burger.

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Jon Saltzman
Jon Saltzman


Steve, great analysis. People are so ready for something "big" to come out. Nothing to see here- Manafort is another sleazy lobbyist and an excellent example of the "swamp" in DC we should all be fighting against. All you can fault Trump here was his political naivete in adding someone from the Swamp to his campaign in the first place.