Mueller Strong-Arms Manafort, Says He Can’t Use Political Targeting As Defense
The former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is currently in jail, has been strong-armed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team with a simple message that he can’t use his role in Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign as a defense against his charges. In a court filing obtained by Politico, it is made clear that Robert Mueller doesn’t want Manafort’s legal team to be able to argue with jurors that he was targeted for his role.
“Manafort should … be precluded from arguing that he has been singled out for prosecution because of his position in the campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump, or otherwise asserting that he has been selectively prosecuted by the Special Counsel’s Office,” Mueller’s team wrote.
Manafort was indicted on charges of alleged money laundering and failure to register as an agent of a foreign government. While he was initially placed on house arrest, he was sent to jail earlier this month for alleged witness tampering.
As reported by Big League Politics:
The former campaign chairmen for President Donald J. Trump has been ordered to jail pending trial for alleged money laundering and failure to register as an agent of a foreign government.
“The harm in this case is harm to the administration of justice and harm to the integrity of the court’s system,” Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Paul Manafort in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
Manafort is accused of calling and texting potential witnesses in upcoming trial. He was originally given a $10 million bail and sentenced to house arrest while his charges were pending. Manafort also entered a not guilty plea for witness tampering charges. His trial is set for September.
In response, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to allude towards the fact that his arrest was politically motivated, asking about why former FBI Director James Comey and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not face a similar fate for their alleged wrongdoings.
While Robert Mueller’s decision is likely a calculated one designed to make it harder for Manafort to find a solid defense against his charges, it also proves something he likely was not intending to do. Left-leaning news outlets have been pushing Manafort’s indictment as definitive proof of corruption during the 2016 election, and that Robert Mueller is correct in his push to prove Donald Trump colluded with Russia. This court filing states, directly from the mouth of Robert Mueller, that those claims made by the media are false and that Manafort being convicted has absolutely nothing to do with President Trump.
This decision may be a win for Robert Mueller in his push to convict Manafort, but it is not a win for his Russia collusion investigation.