I’m convinced that Manafort is just a blockhead. Tierney Sneed of TPM is reporting that Manafort’s attempts to negotiate with Mueller about avoiding a D.C. trial have proven “unsuccessful.” Now, this is from an article in the Wall Street Journal, but they vaguely claim that the talks feel through because of “issues raised by Mueller.”
Without being able to read the original article and seeing how Mueller operates — opaque as mud until a trial hits you like a Earthmover, I suspect Mueller said to Manafort, “Roll on Trump or else.” And given that Manafort is angling for a pardon, which he mistakenly believes will solve ALL of his legal woes, I’m of the opinion that Manafort thinks he can still play the system.
I can’t help but think if I was in Manafort’s shoes that I would want to cut a deal with Mueller to avoid those state charges that Trump CANNOT ISSUE A BLANKET PARDON FOR.
Then again, I haven’t gotten away with white collar crimes for years either. As ProPublica wrote about on Crooks and Liars, prosecution of white collar crimes by the government have not been placed on the back burner. They are in a damn deep freeze. Once there is no cop around, criminals like Manafort feel empowered to do whatever they like. And white collar criminals can behave stupidly because they have never had to pay for their crimes.
I think this is the simplest explanation for Manafort’s behavior. I used to think that maybe Manafort feared retribution by Putin and the other Russian oligarchs. But this latest report just deepens my suspicion that Manafort is just plain arrogant and stupid.