Manafort, Paul J

Right and Left React to Manafort’s Indictment and Papadopoulos’s Plea

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From the Left


The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, on Capitol Hill in June. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Joan Walsh in The Nation:

“Clearly, the Papadopoulos guilty plea is today’s worst news for the Trump administration. But the Manafort and Gates indictments aren’t exactly good news.”

Ms. Walsh is careful to point out that the indictments on Monday “didn’t provide an obvious throughline to trouble, let alone impeachment, for Trump.” Perhaps, she speculates, details in the guilty plea entered by George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump during the campaign, are meant to induce Mr. Manafort to also plead guilty, and flip on other campaign officials. Read more »


Ryan Cooper in The Week:

“So what happens if Trump fires Mueller and issues blanket pardons to all of his associates? Finding enough Republicans to vote to impeach, much less convict in the Senate, is not going to happen.”

Mr. Cooper is worried that Mr. Trump may try to fire Mr. Mueller before his investigation goes any further. What’s needed, he argues, is a group of Republicans (“as few as three senators, or a couple dozen G.O.P. lawmakers in the House”) to protect the investigation and the special counsel’s independence while incurring the wrath of “Fox News and the rest of the conservative propaganda apparatus, which treats any opposition to Trump as blasphemy and treachery.” Read more »


Cristian Farias in New York Magazine:

“The special counsel delivered.”

Mr. Farias says he is encouraged by the news on Monday, writing that “Donald Trump had no idea what just hit him.” He outlines the damning case against Mr. Papadopoulos and notes that the F.B.I. investigated those acts before Mr. Mueller was appointed to lead the investigation in May. That, he argues, “undercuts Trump’s repeated claims that the special counsel is on a witch hunt and that collusion never occurred.” Read more »


From the Center

Harry Litman and Mark Greenberg in The Los Angeles Times:

“If, however, the president were to pardon Manafort, Manafort’s lawyers would still need to ask the court to dismiss the charges. And at that point, Mueller could try to make the case that the pardon was invalid. It would be an unusual argument, but the unusual has become routine in the Trump era.”

What is stopping Mr. Trump from taking the advice of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and issuing a blanket pardon for anyone who may end up in Mr. Mueller’s cross hairs? Mr. Litman and Mr. Greenberg, both law professors at U.C.L.A., explain why this option may not be as appealing as it first appears. Read more »


Chris Cillizza in CNN:

“Why, if there was nothing to hide about his relationship — or attempted relationship with Russian officials — would Papadopoulos feel the need to put himself in serious legal jeopardy by lying about the timing of his conversations with ‘the Professor’?”

Of the two big announcements from the special counsel’s office on Monday, Mr. Cillizza finds the news of Mr. Papadopoulos’s plea to be far more damaging to the Trump administration than news of Mr. Manafort’s and Mr. Gates’s indictment. Read more »


Noah Feldman in Bloomberg:

“Trump could reasonably conclude that his best approach is to tough it out. The Manafort story raises the possibility that he could survive.”

The more complicated Mr. Mueller’s narrative is, the easier it is for Mr. Trump to obfuscate and avoid serious threat of impeachment. “The Manafort and Gates indictments show the game’s afoot,” he writes. “Now we will need to keep an eye on whether the game can be made comprehensible to the American people.” Read more »


Finally, From Our Readers

Joe in New York City:

“As a Republican who voted for President Trump, I question his judgment in ever associating with Paul Manafort. This is a disgrace, and reflects badly on them both.”

Read more about what New York Times readers had to say about Mr. Manafort’s indictment »


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Wendy Pettit

Wendy Pettit is a writer for NYT and writes for other publications on her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and her dog Zuko.

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