(We occasionally will present and contrast view points that differ in insight. From time to time we will feature them here. Please read the 2 articles below) -Source-The Foundry- A guilty verdict in Northern Virginia didnt implicate President Donald Trump while a guilty plea in Manhattan did implicate the president but it could be difficult to prove he did anything wrong legal experts said. Still they agree the two events in court this week could mean trouble for the president although they differ on how much trouble. A jury in Alexandria Virginia found Trumps former campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty on eight counts of tax and bank fraud. The more direct problem for Trump however is that a former personal lawyer Michael Cohen implicated him in what prosecutors called a campaign finance violation. Heres a look at what could be next. 1. What Does This Mean for the Mueller Probe? Both cases could mean a lot for special counsel Robert Muellers investigation officially centered on Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election and any involvement by the Trump campaign. Mueller secured his first jury verdict with Manaforts conviction on eight counts even if the case was outside the original parameters of his investigation. The jury could not reach a decision on 10 other counts also unrelated to Russia prompting the judge to declare a mistrial on those charges. Thus far the special counsel has brought indictments against more than two dozen Russian operatives and secured guilty pleas on charges mostly unrelated to Russian interference from former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn Manafort associate Rick Gates and low-level Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. The U.S. Attorneys Office for the Southern District of New York brought charges against Cohen not Muellers team. However Cohen lawyer Lanny Davislongtime counsel to Bill and Hillary Clintonsaid Tuesday that his client has information that Muellers investigators would be interested in. Read More Article 2: Different Points of View: The President is a Crook Source-The Atlantic- So now its confirmed as a matter of legal record that President Donald Trump organized a scheme to violate federal election laws. He directed his longtime personal attorney to pay at least one woman for silence. That attorney got the money by lying to a bank to get a home-equity line of credit. Its a matter of legal record too that Trumps campaign chair was a huge-scale crook. Despite his desperate financial straits he volunteered to work for Trump for freeand Trump accepted. These two cases complete the beginnings of the story. They are not the story in full. The Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort cases are like the first rocky outcroppings a ship passes as it makes landfall. They are examples of the kind of people willing to work for Trumpand the way that those people carried on their business. They indicate why one of Trumps sons would write I love it" when offered stolen information about the Hillary Clinton campaign by a purported representative of the Russian government how so much doubtful money flowed into the Trump Organization after 2006 and why Trump dares not publish his tax returns. Manafort Cohen and Trump: The system is rotten. House Speaker Paul Ryans office replied to a query from The Washington Post about the Cohen case: We are aware of Mr. Cohens guilty plea to these serious charges. We will need more information than is currently available at this point." Of course a major priority of Ryans speakership has been to protect himself and his party against unearthing more information" about Trumps campaign Trumps businesses and Trumps finances. But despite his incuriosity more information will almost certainly head his way unless … Unless President Trump somehow finds a way to shut it down. It gets harder and harder to condemn an investigation as a witch hunt as it holds your closest associates accountable for major crimes. Who imagines that the Cohen plea and Manafort conviction represent the end of the trail? Pardons can protect the presidents associates from prison. But they cant protect the president issuing the pardonif anything they would worsen his exposure and enhance the impression of guilt.
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