By Warner Todd Huston
The whole country is talking about the indictment of former Trump campaign operative Paul Manafort, and the media is crowing that Trump is about to be “brought down,” but there is something missing in Manafort’s indictment that the media are doing their level best to ignore.
Robert Mueller was supposedly hired to investigate Democrat accusations that Donald J. Trump and his campaign “colluded” with Russia to make sure he would beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. There has yet to be any substantive proof of this claim, but Mueller was hired to investigate the claims, anyway.
Now, Mueller has handed down his first two indictments.
You can peruse all 31 pages of his indictment HERE.
But as you read through this document, you won’t find that any proof that Manafort or Russia colluded with Donald Trump. None. At . All.
Of all 12 charges facing Paul Manafort and former Trump volunteer advisor George Papadopoulos, none are linked to Donald Trump.
As Daily Caller points out, Trump’s name is amazingly absent in Mueller’s accusations:
The indictment related to the core of Mueller’s Russia probe, which began in May when the former FBI director was appointed special counsel, does not mention Trump’s name once. Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate Russian interference in the U.S. election, as well as any related issues, including possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
There is not a word of any “collusion” between Trump and Russia.
In fact, there isn’t any talk of Manafort’s work with Trump at all. The things Manafort was indicted for all occurred between 2006 and 2015, long before he even began working for Trump. It was also long before Trump even began running for office.
Manafort’s lawyer was quick to point out these facts.
“President Donald Trump was correct. There is no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with the Russia government,” Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing said on Monday.
So, what is Robert Mueller doing? Why was he charged with uncovering “collusion” between Trump and Russia, yet now he is charging people on things wholly unrelated to the very thing he is supposedly investigating?
The indictment of Papadopoulos does come closer to Mueller’s charge of searching out “collusion” with Russia. But it still doesn’t do anything to prove Trump was involved or that the connection was aimed at affecting the 2016 election.
Potentially more problematic for the Trump administration — but still well oversold by the mainstream media — was the announcement of a guilty plea of George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign policy adviser who has apparently been working with the Mueller investigation.
Papadopoulos, according to Bloomberg, pleaded guilty to lying to federal authorities about when he had contacts with a professor who was in contact with Russian officials. He had said the contacts were before he joined the Trump campaign, while it was later proven he was in contact with the professor after he joined the team.
While others in the Trump campaign were aware of Papadopoulos’ overtures, particularly toward a meeting with Vladimir Putin, Papadopoulos didn’t actually meet with Putin, and his calls for the presidential candidate to meet with the Russian president went unheeded by others in the campaign.
In the end, all Mueller really has on Papadopoulos is that he lied to investigators.
So, in the end, you shouldn’t fall for the media yapping about how Mueller’s efforts “proves” Trump “colluded” with Russia.
What we have so far does no such thing.