Donald Trump could face an increased likelihood of impeachment now that former campaign manager Paul Manafort has been thrown in jail, legal experts claim.
On Friday, a judge ordered that Manafort’s bail be revoked and he be sent to jail as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation lodged new charges of witness tampering against Manafort. As Newsweek noted, the judge’s action sparked immediate speculation that Paul Manafort may now begin cooperating with prosecutors and helping to build a case against Donald Trump, which could lead to his impeachment.
There had already been pressure on Paul Manafort to flip on Trump, especially after Manafort’s former business partner, Rick Gates, began cooperating with prosecutors earlier this year. As the Guardian reported, Gates was seen as a potential key to bringing the investigation to Donald Trump’s doorstep.
“Gates has appeared to be a relatively minor figure in the Trump/Russia probe,” the report noted. “But if he were to plead guilty to criminal charges connected to his earlier work as a lobbyist for a pro-Kremlin party in Ukraine, including allegations of money laundering, it would set off a chain of events that could bring Mueller’s investigation deep into the White House.”
Former Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara, who was famously fired by Trump early into his tenure as president, asked openly if the imprisonment would be enough for Manafort to finally flip and work with prosecutors against Donald Trump.
Others joined in speculation whether Paul Manafort would now have the motivation to flip on Trump, especially given what looks to be increasingly aggressive tactics from Robert Mueller to put the squeeze on Donald Trump’s former campaign manager.
Meanwhile, there is similar speculation that Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen could flip on the president as part of his own criminal investigation.
Donald Trump has made some oblique references to Manafort, including this week saying he felt bad for what he saw as unfair prosecution for crimes that took place years ago. Trump used similar language — focusing on “unfair” or targeted prosecution — when offering pardons to some political allies, including conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza.
In discussing that idea, Donald Trump also said that he believes he has the power to pardon himself, a point that has been debated by legal experts. But in raising it, Trump also appears to be testing what could be his own defense to criminal charges should they be brought, especially if Paul Manafort flips on him.