On Friday, the former campaign manager of the president of the United States went to jail, which is an impressive statement to take in. Paul Manafort has faced legal trouble for months at this point, having been among the first to be hit with charges by the Russia probe as led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and in the time since then, he has ended up as the only former Trump associate to face charges from Mueller who hasn’t cooperated.
It’s not as though he’s good at holding his own, though. Recently, he was hit with charges of witness tampering, having reportedly sought to have individuals lie for him in order to conceal the scope of his illegal foreign lobbying in the U.S.
It was on Friday that, because of those allegations, Manafort was taken to jail, with U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson commenting at one point:
‘This is not middle school. I can not take his cell phone.’
No matter where exactly in the prison system that Manafort ends up, the whole ordeal represents a striking fall for the longtime political operative. Some have pointed out that Manafort had his belt, tie, and wallet handed back to his family when being walked off, so he has evidently assumed a position now where he is being monitored as a suicide risk. He has also in the past allegedly expressed an openness to suicide to his daughter, as discussed during a panel on CNN about Manafort.
When some of his past schemes were in full swing, Manafort spent money as if it flowed as freely as water, dropping almost $1 million just on rugs at one point.
Now, he will be staying somewhere that no doubt gets by entirely without rugs, to say the least about the change in living conditions. Just this week — although again, it’s not necessarily where Manafort has ever or will ever stay — pastors who were arrested for staging a protest outside the Supreme Court building lambasted terrible conditions in the D.C. Central Cellblock, where prisoners are processed. According to the pastors, the environment requires one to stay up all night killing roaches and has little more than a metal shelf on the wall when it comes to accommodations.
Considering this description, it’s worth letting the fact sink in yet again that the former campaign manager of the president of the United States went to jail this Friday. Apparently Trump isn’t so good at that surrounding himself with only the best people thing after all.
Going into the D.C. jail system, Manafort had been on house arrest, having been confined to a residence in Alexandria, Virginia, under all circumstances except the most pressing ones. (He was allowed to leave to attend his father-in-law’s funeral.) He had been wearing GPS monitoring devices on both of his ankles.
The charges against him do not necessarily directly condemn the Trump campaign, although whether that campaign should be condemned as in cahoots with foreign powers and the like remains a separate, somewhat open question.
Manafort, alongside fellow former Trump associate Rick Gates and others, carried on with a complicated scheme in which he worked secretly for pro-Russia interests in Ukraine, laundering the money that he earned in the process.
Although he erred in claiming Manafort to have been sentenced — he’s just being held ahead of his trial — Trump personally responded to his former campaign manager going to jail on Twitter this Friday, writing:
‘Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns. Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair!’
Of course he mentioned former FBI Director James Comey and Hillary Clinton.
Going forward, no number of dismissive tweets will be able to do away with the Russia investigation.
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