In the wake of the indictment of one-time Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, President Trump tweeted Monday that the indictment does nothing to prove collusion between his campaign and Russia, adding “there is NO COLLUSION!”
While President Trump is well-known for his fondness for using Twitter to communicate with the world and some brush aside many of his tweeted messages as baseless and uninformed, this time there can be little doubt that he hit the nail on the head. With the months-old investigation into supposed collusion between the president and Russia having so far produced nothing, it is important to realize that the indictment of Paul Manafort does nothing to change that record: The crimes that Manafort allegedly committed predate his involvement in the campaign.
In fact, most of the things listed in the twelve-count indictment are alleged to have happened years before Donald Trump even ran for president.
Manafort is accused of a list of charges including money laundering, tax evasion, conspiracy against the United States, and being an unregistered agent of a foreign government. If found guilty, he will likely never see the outside of a prison again (unless watching it on a flat-screen plasma television in the comfy setting of a Club Fed facility counts). But — even if he is found guilty — what does that say about allegations of Trump/Russia collusion?
As this writer said in a previous article, “It is not out of the ordinary for either a special counsel or a grand jury to issue indictments for crimes uncovered during an investigation even though those crimes are beyond the scope of the original investigation.” If — in the course of striking out in trying to prove collusion between Trump and Russia — the investigation stumbled onto evidence that Manafort committed crimes unrelated to that investigation, it is the duty of both the special counsel and the grand jury to weigh that evidence and — if it is deemed sufficient — to issue an indictment. But even if they hit a home run with this unrelated indictment, it does not change the fact that they are still striking out in the game of proving Trump/Russia collusion.
Almost as soon as the indictment was made public Monday morning, President Trump tweeted:
Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????
10:25 AM – Oct 30, 2017
Three minutes later, he followed up with:
….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!
10:28 AM – Oct 30, 2017
Of course, President Trump was referring to accusations that he colluded with Russia. In context, he appears to be correct; if there were collusion between Trump and Russia, Special Counsel Robert Mueller would likely have uncovered it by now. As to whether there was (or is) any collusion, that appears to be a different matter altogether. Because as more and more comes to light with regards to UraniumGate, it looks for all the world like the Clintons and the DNC are up to their necks in collusion with Russia.
Now if only Mueller would shift his focus and look at the evidence for that, he could likely start batting 1,000.
Image of President Trump: UN photo