This week’s announcement that special counsel Robert Mueller produced a federal indictment against Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates that Democrats are calling a bombshell.
In truth, President Trump is probably ecstatic that the concerted efforts of 17 federal prosecutors and months of investigation turned up nothing that includes the name of the president or collusion tamper with the past election.
Of course, news sources like The 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 unphased by the Robert Mueller indictments, but infamous ‘unnamed sources’ in the Whitehouse 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 that Mueller has 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 they made as unregistered foreign agents for Ukraine, and money-laundering conspiracy. Manafort has pled not guilty to alleged crimes 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 supposed Russian collusion to taint our electoral system.
Andrew C. McCarthy, writing for The National Review, notes:
“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 win for Trump. He is not a longtime friend of the president, and did not have the kind of personal connection normally expect 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 inner of his inner circle.
What is most telling is what the indictment doesn’t include more than what it does.
What the indictment fails to do is put the president of the United States in any legal peril. In spite of initial glee of Democrats, #ImpeachTrump, and @Never Trump fans Robert Mueller’s first effort is not the direct hit they are proclaiming it to be.
Manafort’s work for the Trump campaign is not even mentioned in the indictment. Few see Manfort 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 it’s likely Trump’s base will not be swayed even if proven. But the very idea of such is a fairy tale invented by a desperate Hillary Clinton to salvage her election hopes. The irony is, as President Trump has pointed out in tweets, Clinton, Mueller, and other Democrats may come to wish they had not pointed the spotlight on shady business dealing with Russia.
From President Trump’s perspective, the indictment is a gift in that he can 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, Robert Mueller’s attempts at prosecutorial overreach are just what Trump has called them – a witch hunt.
Is President Trump annoyed? No doubt. But afraid of a fight? In some ways, he relishes it.
~ Conservative Zone