Paul Manafort, the long-time lobbyist and GOP operative who briefly led Donald Trump’s campaign for president last year, surrendered himself to FBI headquarters today. Special investigator Bob Mueller is likely trying to make an example of Manafort to coerce him into turning on his former boss.
According to a New York Times report, the particular charges are unclear at this time. In addition to Manafort, Rick Gates turned himself in as well. Gates and Manafort are long-time business associates, and Gates’ name was found in documents believed by investigators to show wrongdoing.
“Gates became a point of interest in the investigation into Manifort after investigators found Gates name on documents linking Manafort’s firm to offshore companies that received payments from Eastern European politicians and businessmen,” Robert Donachie said in a Daily Caller article about these developments.
Manafort does have his fair share of skeletons in his closet. In addition to these charges, he is additionally being investigated for his potential role in federal tax law violations and inappropriately reporting foreign lobbying money.
Nevertheless, Mueller’s big probe into Trump’s Russia connections have been exposed as one big fishing expedition with these reports. Unable to find anything concrete connecting Trump to the Russians throughout many months, Mueller–in his desperation–is trying to take down an official who was dropped from the campaign immediately after improprieties were exposed last year.
Mueller clearly hopes that Manafort will spill the beans on Trump, but that is not likely to happen. Trump has never been known to leave a paper trail, going as far as never sending e-mails while he was a businessman. Even if he was guilty of something, there is not likely to be a record of it to be found.
Besides, no evidence has ever been produced that Trump colluded with the Russians at all. It is more likely that Trump and Russian interests wanted Clinton defeated for similar reasons that the American public wanted her defeated. This has been concocted into a vast conspiracy by Democrats desperate to eschew blame for their own crushing failures.
Manafort has become a political prisoner of the deep state. While he is clearly no angel, the fact that an incredible amount of resources have been wasted on this investigation to find so little is astounding and wasteful. Trump would be wise to put Mueller out of his misery before this political hack can damage the country further with this cheap partisan witch hunt.