The dominoes continue to fall and the walls are closing in around Donald Trump. Today, his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. As part of his plea deal, Manafort is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 election and has already given information to the Justice Department. Additionally, Manafort has forfeited assets to the government to the tune of $46 million, including his Trump Tower apartment.
Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani reacted to the news, saying, “Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign. The reason: the President did nothing wrong.” And White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement saying, “This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated.” However the information he provides to Mueller’s team may very well implicate the president in crimes committed during the 2016 election.
Manafort will remain in jail and faces up to ten years in prison for the charges. Manafort was previously found guilty on eight counts of bank and tax fraud, but thanks to a lone holdout, the jury remained deadlocked on ten other counts. On the same day of Manafort’s previous convictions, Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance law violations stemming from the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, implicating the president in his crimes.
Marcy Wheeler, a national security and law enforcement expert, weighed in on the plea deal calling it “pardon proof” in part because the dismissed charges can be refiled in state courts where convictions can’t be overturned by presidential pardon. “So here’s what Robert Mueller just did: He sewed up the key witness to implicate the President, and he paid for the entire investigation. And it’s only now lunch time,” she wrote.
But on Twitter she was even more succinct.
And the rest of Twitter was pretty excited about the news, too.
live look at robert mueller’s officepic.twitter.com/xJII6ZNAOH
— mensrea (@CalvesForDays) September 14, 2018
Trump has yet to respond to the news that his campaign chairman has now joined the numerous other Trump campaign staffers who have pleaded guilty or been convicted as a result of Mueller’s investigation, but I’m predicting a category 5 tweetstorm.