After Paul Manafort‘s guilty plea, the media’s principal focus was the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting that he attended with Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and Russians promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. But Manafort’s insights into what transpired at that meeting could be among his least significant contributions to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
To understand the breadth and depth of the problems that Manafort’s cooperation could now pose for Trump, Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Mike Pence, Roger Stone and others, use the Trump-Russia Timeline name filter and click on Manafort’s name. In getting Manafort to flip, Mueller has pulled the thread on a sweater that could leave Trump and his closest loyalists naked.
Rudy Strikes Again
Among this week’s entries relating to Manafort’s deal, my personal favorite is Rudy Giuliani’s statement, followed immediately by his effort to walk it back:
“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 Paul Manafort will tell the truth.”
Minutes later, Trump’s legal team issued a revised statement, saying, “The President did noting wrong”, deleting the phrase “and Paul Manafort will tell the truth.”
Second place goes to Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated.”
Earlier in the week, Giuliani said that the Trump and Manafort legal teams had a joint defense agreement whereby they shared information about Mueller’s probe. If Rudy used that communication line to dangle the prospect of pardoning Manafort, things could get far more interesting for Giuliani — and not in a good way.
In Watergate, more than two dozen lawyers learned the hard way that obstruction of justice laws apply to them, too.
Here are the latest updates to the Trump-Russia Timeline:
JULY 9, 2015: Butina Tries to Meet Trump
JULY 11, 2015: Butina Asks Trump About Sanctions at Rally (revision of previous entry)
JULY 14, 2015: Torshin Asks Butina for Info about ‘Political Candidate 1’ (revision of previous entry)
JUNE 22, 2016: ‘US Person 1’ Suggests Language for Butina Report to Torshin
SEPT. 11 2018: Trump Tweets ‘Zero’ Collusion (Except For Clinton’s Collusion With Russia, ‘Foreign Spies’, FBI, and DOJ); Attacks Strzok, Page, Comey, DOJ, Russia Investigation
SEPT. 11-12, 2018: Judge Postpones Manafort Pretrial Hearing; Trump Lawyers Talking to Manafort Lawyers
SEPT. 12, 2018: Trump Tweets He Engaged in No Wrongdoing, No Collusion
SEPT. 12, 2018: Trump Signs Executive Order on Sanctions; Generates Immediate Bipartisan Criticism
SEPT. 14, 2018: Manafort Pleads Guilty, Agrees to Cooperate with Mueller
SEPT. 14, 2018: Giuliani Responds – Then Revises Response – to Manafort Plea
SEPT. 15-16, 2018: Trump Tweets: ‘Rigged Russian Witch Hunt’, ‘Highly Conflicted Bob Mueller’, ’17 Angry Democrats’, ‘Russian Hoax’, ‘Illegal Mueller Witch Hunt’