Most of you probably didn’t stay up late on Friday night on pins and needles waiting for the sentencing memorandum in Paul Manafort’s case to drop. That would be because you have lives. Quite a few journalists and news junkies obviously can’t say that, because we sat there in front of our phones and keyboards, checking Twitter every few moments in the vain hope that the “Big Reveal” was finally coming and Robert Mueller was going to lay out whatever he’s got.
As it turned out, the memorandum wasn’t filed until Saturday afternoon and it turned out to be a richly detailed 800-page document about Paul Manafort’s sordid history of criminality. There is little doubt that this man has spent a lifetime consorting with terrible people doing terrible things and making a lot of money at it. You’d think Donald Trump would have done a little bit of research before he tapped such a person to run his campaign, particularly since one of his major campaign promises was that he would only hire the very best people. Considering how many other corrupt, criminal, incompetent hires there have been to his campaign and administration, that clearly cannot be among those “promises kept” he likes to brag about. There has never been a more motley group of misfits populating one presidency in American history.
Unfortunately, as far as the sentencing memo revealing anything more about Russian collusion with the Trump campaign goes, it was a dud. In fact, the most intriguing fact was that some hints we had already seen in previous filings and court transcripts that point to the possibility of a broader conspiracy were left out of this mammoth filing. That’s actually quite unusual. Mueller’s previous sentencing memos have gone farther than strictly necessary in laying out details, creating a larger narrative that has unfolded in chapters as each case is presented to the courts.
The Washington Post‘s Philip Bump wrote a fascinating article arguing that Trump has benefited…