A CNN panel on Tuesday broke down the latest revelations about the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election -- and the conclusion was more bad news for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
CNN political director David Chalian said that Mueller's specific mention of possible collusion-related charges in a Monday evening court filing shows that Mueller is ramping up pressure on Manafort to cooperate with his probe -- or else risk spending the rest of his life in prison.
"To me, I feel like this is now part of a 'drip, drip, drip' out of Mueller that seems to be a direct message to Paul Manafort, and trying to apply greater pressure to Manafort to consider, perhaps, flipping in this investigation," Chalian said. "Because everything that is coming out of the Mueller operation right now, every filing, you can read in there as if it's, like, a not-so-hidden message from Bob Mueller to Paul Manafort, 'I'm coming for you.'"
Legal analyst Paul Callan similarly said that the new revelations seemed to spell fresh trouble for Manafort, who has already been indicted on multiple charges related to foreign money laundering. Callan said that because the Department of Justice had specifically authorized Mueller to investigate Manafort's alleged money laundering activities, it means that his defense team doesn't have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to getting the charges thrown out.
"The money laundering, the connection to Ukraine, is highly relevant because the road to Russia leads through Ukraine," he said. "That's where Manafort had connections. Those were the early Trump administration connections."
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