Manafort Deal Collapses. Or So It Seems.

In September, Special Counsel Bob Mueller struck a plea deal with Paul Manafort which stipulated that Manafort would agree to cooperate with the investigation in exchange for the federal government dropping the remaining charges against him.

Now, in news that should surprise no one, least of all Mueller, Manafort has failed to cooperate, instead repeatedly lying to investigators.

Spencer S. Hsu, Rachel Weiner, and Devlin Barrett at the Washington Post report:
Prosecutors with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III said Monday that Paul Manafort breached his plea agreement, accusing [Donald] Trump's former campaign chairman of lying repeatedly to them in their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Manafort denied doing so intentionally, but both sides agreed in a court filing that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District should set sentencing immediately.

The apparent collapse of Manafort's cooperation agreement is the latest stunning turnaround in his case, exposing the longtime Republican consultant to at least a decade behind bars after he pleaded guilty in September to charges of cheating the Internal Revenue Service, violating foreign-lobbying laws and attempting to obstruct justice.
Unless, of course, he's pardoned. And, as I wrote back in September when this curious deal was struck: "Maybe it isn't the current president who has promised Manafort a pardon. Maybe it's the man who believes he is the future president — the current vice-president who was hand-picked by Paul Manafort."

And if indeed Manafort is conspiring with Pence, who I still believe is working either directly with Mueller or indirectly to facilitate his investigation, then it's possible that Manafort and Mueller are staging an elaborate ruse in order to entrap Trump, right at the moment he is supposed to be submitting his responses to questions from Mueller.

Although that might sound like a conspiracy theory, it's actually just the description of a fairly common investigative technique. It just sounds wild because we're talking about the President of the United States.

And, like lots of other criminals, Manafort's primary loyalty is always to himself. So anything is possible.

Especially the scenario in which he does whatever it takes to save his own ass.

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