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Donald Trump's 'No Collusion' Deception in the Manafort Sentencing
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=44624"><span class="small">Chris Cillizza, CNN</span></a>   
Saturday, 09 March 2019 09:36

Cillizza writes: "Less than 24 hours after former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in jail for a variety of financial crimes related to his dealing in the Ukraine, the President seized on the sentence as some sort of validation of his oft-repeated contention that there was 'no collusion.'"

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort arrives at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., for a hearing. (photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort arrives at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., for a hearing. (photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)


Donald Trump's 'No Collusion' Deception in the Manafort Sentencing

By Chris Cillizza, CNN

09 March 19

 

ess than 24 hours after former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in jail for a variety of financial crimes related to his dealing in the Ukraine, the President seized on the sentence as some sort of validation of his oft-repeated contention that there was "no collusion" between his campaign and the Russians during the 2016 race.

"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort," Trump said before heading to Alabama to survey damage from the tornado that hit the state earlier this week. "I think it's been a very, very tough time for him. Both his lawyer, a highly respected man, and a highly respected judge, the judge said there was no collusion with Russia,"

Here's the thing: The judge in the Manafort case did NOT say there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. What Judge TS Ellis III actually said was that Manafort wasn't on trial for or convicted of "anything to do with Russian colluding in the presidential election."

That's, of course, not the same thing that Trump is saying. Judge Ellis is simply saying that Manafort wasn't tried for or convicted of colluding with the Russians, and therefore, his sentencing should not be regarded in light of the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and the possibility that members of Trump's team colluded with the Russians to help him and hurt Hillary Clinton.

There's a HUGE difference between Judge Ellis clarifying what Manafort was being sentenced for and the judge exonerating Manafort -- or anyone else -- of allegations of colluding with Russia.

It's like your teacher saying you got a math problem wrong on the test and you concluding that what he (or she) was really saying was that you got 100% on your vocabulary quiz. One has zero to do with the other. This was about the math test. The vocabulary quiz is just a whole different thing.

Also: Saying that Manafort was being sentenced for the financial crimes of which he was convicted last fall isn't some sort of blanket statement that Manafort never colluded -- or tried to collude -- with the Russians.

In fact, there is public evidence that collusion is not at all off the table in the Mueller investigation. Manafort met with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian with ties to the country's intelligence apparatus, while he was overseeing Trump's 2016 campaign and even shared polling data about the race with Kilimnik. Manafort then lied to prosecutors about the nature of his conversations with Kilimnik.

Because special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is not yet over, we don't know the full details on why Manafort met with Kilimnik, shared polling data with him and lied about it.

The reality is this: There is no public proof -- out of the Mueller report or anywhere else -- that there was proven collusion between anyone in the Trump campaign and Russian officials. But that is not definitive proof that there wasn't collusion. It simply means we don't have the full picture yet.

Might it be the case that, when we have that full picture, there will be zero evidence of any collusion? Absolutely. But we're not there yet. No matter how many times Trump twists the words of judges, lawyers, politicians or cable pundits, that fact won't change.

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+3 # DongiC 2019-03-09 14:17
Trump is a master of twisting facts and using words to deceive and beguile like few people in recorded history. When dealing with the likes of prevaricator Trump one must constantly fact check him. Ditto for his buddy Kelly Anne Conway. Both Trump and Conway learned their skills at perverting the truth at Lucifer's high court. Rumor has it that they were prize pupils.
 
 
+3 # BetaTheta 2019-03-09 14:48
If there were indeed no collusion, Trump would not be so feverishly denying it several times a day. He shows classic fear and desperation.
 
 
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-10 08:18
BT -- Trump is a very wily strategist. Perhaps, he's betting on the probability that "Liberals Are Digging Their Own Grave With Russiagate." He's only handing them more and more shovels. The quotation above is the title of an article by Robert Scheer. It is an interview with Stephen Cohen.

The screeching of the voices of people like Adam Schiff, Rabid Rachel Maddow, the crew and CNN, and others is all but drowning out the really positive and hopeful voices in the democratic party. Russian Collusion was a campaign dirty trick that has become a real life Freddie Krueger -- it just won't die.

It could be that Trump is feeding this frenzy in order to keep democrats digging. In many ways, Trump is really stupid, but he is smart at manipulating people. See DongiC's comment above. He says, the more Trump lies, the more we have to keep fact checking him. So now we are all busy 24/7 chasing our tails.

My advice is to do the opposite. Work with Trump where we can. It is probably likely that Ruth Bader Ginsberg will die or become incapacitated before the next two years are out. Why not work with Trump now on her successor. Why not work on pulling out of Syria and Iraq? Why not work on reducing NATO? Why not cooperate on a permanent solution for DACA recipients? Why not out-trump Trump? Why play into his hands?
 
 
-5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-09 18:10
This author looks pretty stupid splitting a hair. The fact remains that Mueller has not indicted or convicted ANYONE of any sort of collusion, conspiracy, or anything with Russians who were determined to influence the 2016 elections. If the judge did not say those exact words, Rosenstein has said them on several occasions.

The whole Trump-Russia narrative was from the beginning to now a campaign dirty trick cooked up by MI6, the CIA, the FBI, and the Hillary campaign via Fusion GPS. There was never any truth to it. We have almost 3 years of total bullshit -- late spring 2016 to now. Sometimes I just cannot believe how stupid people can be to believe this BS.

It must be embarrassing to be this author splitting a hair for a living. The judge knows what he meant. So do most of us.
 
 
+1 # lfeuille 2019-03-09 23:29
Trumps attempt to twist the Judges words was pathetically obvious and inept, but that's par for the course for him. Of course the fact that Manafort was convicted on other changes says nothing at all about whether or not there was collusion. And it doesn't matter as far as this case was concerned. What he was convicted of were crimes and should have been given a sentence in keeping with their seriousness regardless of any connection to Russia. Hopefully, NY state will take a crack at him.