It’s often been observed that special counsel Robert Mueller, assigned to investigate alleged Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 presidential campaign, has yet to charge anyone with a crime involving Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The biggest of Mueller’s indictments, that of one-time Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, has no connection at all to collusion. And until a few days ago, it appeared to have no connection to Donald Trump, either.
Now, though, Mueller has revealed why he believes the Manafort prosecution is related to the 2016 Trump campaign. It’s a small part, a very small part, of the overall charges against Manafort. And it has nothing to do with any actions by the candidate — now the president — himself.
Mueller’s revelation came in an argument he is having with the Manafort defense over what subjects can and cannot be discussed in front of jurors in Manafort’s upcoming trial. (Manafort is charged in both Virginia and the District of Columbia with various counts of bank fraud, tax evasion and failure to register as a representative of foreign interests; the Virginia trial is scheduled to begin later this month.)
Manafort doesn’t want the jurors to hear about any theories of collusion between Trump and Russia. Beyond that, Manafort doesn’t even want the jurors to hear about his connection with Donald Trump. Given the degree of anti-Trump feeling in the heavily Democratic District of Columbia and in northern Virginia — the Manafort filing dryly notes that jurors are “likely to have strong views about President Trump” — that’s an understandable feeling. (Read more from “Mueller Reveals Tenuous Link Between Manafort Charges and Trump” HERE)