Paul Manafort was declared guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for crimes that can put him in jail for the rest of his life. The maximum sentence for the 8 counts that came back with guilty verdicts is 80 years. Manafort is 69. The judge declared the other 10 counts a mistrial so the government could come back again with those if they wanted to retry them but I would not see the need. This gives President Trump the opportunity to pardon him after saying that the trial was a ‘sad day’ for the country and that Manafort was a very good person. His lawyer, Michael Cohen also had a ‘sad day’ as he agreed to plead guilty, going so far as to implicate the president in a crime while suggesting that there is more incriminating evidence where that came from.
Let me put this together in context for you where I think that this is at in an exercise using Occam’s Razor. Occam’s razor is analysis that bases the conclusion on the premise that the simplest explanation tends to be the correct one:
This is how I see things from the information that I have seen. Paul Manafort worked for the Russians as a political advisor, attempting to help Putin’s surrogate stay put as president of the Ukraine. They ultimately failed. Manafort worked with Russian agents and oligarchs who are known to be close to Putin for which he was paid $60 mln, much of it deposited in foreign bank accounts that he did not fully declare as income on his US tax return. He was using illicit means to launder some of this money to the US but ran through it like water and in fact, was in debt to an oligarch.
Broke financially, using false information to get loans. . .he knew the right people who recommended him to Trump to run his campaign. He took no pay directly, expecting to be reimbursed elsewhere as his Russian handlers had to be giddy with the prospect of getting their man next to Trump. Anyone who they have paid $60 mln to and still owed them money was their man. Manafort was in charge during the convention and I believe that the change in the GOP Ukraine plank, watering down US support for Ukraine, was a message to his Russian benefactors of his influence.
I think that evidence will sometime confirm that Russians were colluding with the campaign all the way up one side and down the other of Trump Tower. Russians were led to believe that sanctions put on them by Obama would be relieved when Trump took over. Manafort and collusion was their second hook that they had sunk into Trump. The first hook was when long before the campaign I believe that Trump companies laundered hundreds of millions of dollars from wealthy Russians through their investment properties. That is why Trump is so adamant that Mueller stay away from his personal finances, protecting public release of his tax returns. The Russians would be complicit in this so they have criminal evidence that if released could not only be cause for an immediate exit from the White House for Trump but be a reason for a potential term for him in the Big House.
None of this has worked out well for the Russians at this point, as in order to create a diversion from the collusion with the Russians, Trump has been forced to increase sanctions on them. He has tried to smooth it over with personal meetings with only an interpreter in a room with Putin and exonerating the Russians with meddling in our political system, even though he knows that they have and still are. Trump has not ordered our intelligence services to strike back. The actions have frustrated Putin who must be conflicted with how to use his incriminating evidence on Trump. What can he get from Trump to keep the secret?
If I am right, then our president in currently a national security risk because of this. Our intelligence services know this and Trump knows they know it, which is why he created the deception of their being part of a deep-state conspiracy opposed to him. Retired intelligence officials know more about Trump collusion that they will say publicly, so Trump has been trying to discredit them, the media, the Mueller investigation and everyone and anyone else he sees as a risk to him. Our risk is that he is not like Richard Nixon, who when push came to shove, did concede to the country’s best interest over his own.
First 70. . .then 177 and a still growing number of former highest-level US intelligence services officials have come to the defense of former CIA head John Brennan after Trump canceled Brennan’s security clearance.
The one name and comments that caught the most notice came from retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, who in protest, asked Trump to cancel his security clearance too. He was head of US Special Operations Command who ran all US Special Forces operations, including the one where the Seals killed Osama Bin Laden. It would be insane to challenge his credibility.
Do you have any idea how offensive that Trump is to men of integrity? I hope that you do. Brennan called Trump’s summit performance with Putin treasonous, an extremely strong accusation. Note that all of the intelligence heads and their deputies rallied around Brennan. Brennan knows and they know more than we do about Trump’s culpability in collusion and criminality. They are putting their belief and confidence in Robert Mueller, that he is the best messenger to the American public and best means to rectify this historically tricky situation and bring Trump to justice in a way that the American people can accept. Trump is using every deceptive means that he can think of to attempt to discredit, derail and obstruct the Mueller investigation.
I do not believe that Trump will shy away from a constitutional crisis to avoid accountability to justice. I believe that Trump may be guilty of crimes that likely include money laundering, bank fraud, illegal campaign contributions, collusion to commit conspiracy, obstruction of justice and yes. . . .potentially if you add it all up, you can get where Brennan is at.
If President Trump declared tomorrow that the country was in such dire straits that he was going to have to suspend the US Constitution for a period of time to save it, a third of the American people would go along with him. I believe that he has so divided the country that he would have a lot of support that was loyal to him over the Constitution. As Trump often says “I guess that we will just have to see what happens.” Occam’s Razor cuts pretty deep
David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.
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