Josh Marshall does a very good job of explaining why it is now beyond doubt that Paul Manafort, while serving as the campaign chairman of the Trump campaign, actively colluded with the Kremlin in their efforts to get Donald Trump elected president. What this means is that the president will probably have to fall back to a position he should have taken from the beginning. He’s going to have to argue that he knew nothing about what Manafort was doing and that he’s appalled to learn the details. What’s not clear is why he didn’t take that position from the beginning.
It’s a point I made back in November, and again and again and again and again before that. Even going back as far as the day Manafort was forced to resign, I made the point that Manafort had been so deep in Putin’s pocket that he’d changed the Republican platform on Ukraine to suit him. Trump did force Manafort out once it became clear that he was compromised by the Russians, so why did he never opt to use this in his own defense?
For me, Trump’s decision to vouch for Manafort and to dangle pardons before him has been the single most self-incriminating decision he’s made. But even after all this time, I doubt Trump will have any shame about reversing course and pinning everything he can on the man he hired to work for no pay. The real question is whether that’s ever been an option for him. If Manafort can prove that Trump was witting in his Russian collusion, then it won’t be possible for Trump to escape.
I’ve come to the conclusion that this must be the case or Trump would have sold Manafort out long ago. I guess we’re about to find out.