Special prosecutor Robert Mueller is playing three-dimensional chess and he is causing President Trump to make some really bad moves.
Trump tweeted in response to the charges brought against Paul Manafort with this:
This is throwing Manafort under the bus. Trump is really signaling that he may not consider it necessary to make the politically difficult move of pardoning Manafort. It's something that happened a long time ago, Trump says.Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2017
I'm sure that really comforted Manafort.
Trump should have kept his tweet shut on the matter and the response from the White House should have been, "We do not comment on on-going investigations." That might have given Manafort some hope that he might be pardoned.
But with Trump essentially saying, "Hey, this Manfort thing has nothing to do with me," it can not make Manfort hopeful about a pardon.
In other words, Trump took
the Mueller bait.
Simultaneous Mueller Move Two:
Mueller not only charged Manafort but also Manafort's longtime associate Rick Gates. Will Gates cut a deal and turn on Manafort? It sure appears to make sense for Gates to do so, from a prisoner's dilemma with a twist perspective. Even if Gates doesn't know anything about what went on at the White House, he sure as hell knows how the prosecutors can put more pressure on Manafort. And putting pressure on Manafort to roll is what the Mueller wants.
Gates has a get out of jail free card if he wants to use it
Simultaneous Mueller Move Three:
Mueller sees to it that today it becomes public that a Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about a professor, he was in contact with who had close ties to the Russian government and who indicated that Moscow had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” that they wanted to turn over to the Trump campaign.
The documents released today say that several senior campaign officials knew about some of Papadopoulos’s interactions with the Russians.
Papadopoulos alerted his supervisor and several members of the Trump foreign policy team about his contacts, referring to his “good friend” the professor and a woman he called Putin’s niece. The campaign supervisor — who was not identified in the documents — said in response that he would “work it through the campaign” and added “Great work.”
Papadopoulos told the F.B.I. in January that the professor was “a nothing.” But he now acknowledges that he knew the professor had “substantial connections to Russian government officials."
And get this:
Papadopoulos was quietly arrested at Washington Dulles Airport on July 27 and has since been cooperating with according to the released records.
In his plea agreement, the government says it will offer leniency to him in exchange for his cooperation, and that sentencing will be delayed before cooperation is completed.
Thus, The Smoking Gun speculates: "Did George Papadopoulos agree to wear a wire or make any FBI-monitored calls?"
So why release this Papadopoulos co-operation now?
Mueller is feeding to Manafort how he can sing or as Alan Dershowitz puts it, "compose."
He is providing Manafort with a road map of knowledge that he can use to create his tale to nail Trump or someone very close to Trump.
And Trump just threw Manafort under the tweeter bus, oh my.
Trump continues to demonstrate he has no idea how the D.C. game is played.
BTW: Papadopoulos was pretty much a nobody.
I reported in March, 2016 at EPJ:
Monday's probing Washington Post interview with Donald Trump covered the gamut from the size of Trump's hands to his providing a list of some of the members of his national security advisory team (Which, btw, include a recent college grad, George Papadopoulos, a 2009 grad of DePaul University).-RW