This morning, as you know, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, perhaps the lone human being capable of preventing America's permanent slide into the president's tacky authoritarianism and bumbling organized crime, indicted Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, on money laundering charges, tax charges, foreign lobbying charges, conspiracy charges, charges of lying to federal authorities, and spitting on the sidewalk. Mueller has loaded them up so he'll have plenty to trade.
I suspect he'll find a willing partner in the trading business. As the NY Times reminds us, "Mr. Manafort has expected charges since this summer, when F.B.I. agents raided his home and prosecutors warned him that they planned to indict him. That warning raised speculation that Mr. Manafort might try to cut a deal to avoid prosecution." Oh, might he ever.
Ty Cobb, one of Trump's criminal defense attorneys, countered that "there were no concerns that Mr. Manafort would offer damaging information about the president in exchange for a deal." Would, or could?
Trump has "denied any contacts with Russians during the campaign, only to have journalists uncover one undisclosed meeting after another," such as Trump Jr.'s long-concealed meeting, attended by Manafort, with a "Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer" who was offering campaign smears against Hillary Clinton.
Aside from his former boss, Manafort is the king of sleaze who will soon serve up oodles of damaging information about the president, because that's what consummate sleazes honestly do to save their own hides, as the ship is going down. For Trump's criminal organization, this is the end of the beginning.
p.s.: Politico reports that "a former foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign," George Papadopolous, "secretly pleaded guilty earlier this month to lying to the FBI about his outreach to Russian officials."