Paul Manafort and George Stephanopoulos
Credit: Disney | ABC Television Group Follow/Flickr

I kind of love the White House’s failed effort at nonchalance today in response to Paul Manafort becoming a cooperating witness with the special counsel.

Giuliani’s initial messaging was, of course, followed up almost immediately by a more realistic response:

Obviously, someone told Giuliani that if Manafort told the truth they would have to call him a liar. This is an example of the cat already being out of the bag, but it’s just one more glaring, obvious, self-injurious, and self-incriminating piece of idiocy that has became the regular method of operation for this administration.

They’ve said all kinds of nice things about Manafort in what is now a retrospectively doomed attempt to prevent him from cooperating. If they thought he’d tell the truth and that it would help them, they’d have encouraged him to cooperate from the beginning. That’s so obvious that even a Trumper has a faint chance of understanding it, right?

If there is one thing I am happiest about today, it’s that we won’t need to worry anymore about all the talking points Republicans have been using about Manafort. He’s talking, and that’s all that matters. The president’s spin doctors have to sit and wait like the rest of us to hear what Manafort says, and they don’t have much reason to keep talking about how the charges against him are trumped up or old news or don’t have a thing to do with the president.

It’s just one bit of annoying stupidity that we can put to bed. But, of course, it will soon be replaced with a new litany of hypocrisy and self-contradiction that will badly insult our intelligence. C’est la vie in the Trump era.


Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at