When Paul Manafort was campaign manager for Donald Trump two years ago he could do no wrong. That is, he could do plenty of wrong but no one cared as long as the money kept coming in like an avalanche. There was no talk of investigations or special prosecutors; in an election year everyone is innocent until their candidate has lost the race.
But today Mr. Manafort had to stand up before a judge in federal court and hear his name inextricably linked with 8 counts of financial crimes. Those who like to look at their snifter as half full will, of course, counter that he was found not guilty on ten other charges of criminal financial activities. Still, the sheer number of charges is a telling indication of the kind of monetary skulduggery the man was capable of in the service of his dark lord.
How much jail time will he serve? That has yet to be decided. And if he is thrown in the slammer, how likely is it that his old boss, the POTUS, the beneficiary of all his hard villainy, will spHe’ring him with a presidential pardon?
Manafort’s just deserts are not of a kind to deter other white collar boosters in the political arena. He’ll write a book and wind up with a radio talk show. In Trump’s Washington, ignominy is just another career move.