Why did former Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort lie to prosecutors after striking a plea deal to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison?
It’s a question pundits have been trying to answer since news broke of the unexpected development Monday night. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team has announced in a filing that Manafort lied.
Some, like blogger and intelligence analyst Marcy Wheeler, have argued that prosecutors knowingly went along with Manafort’s lies during the proffering process because they believed that Manafort was feeding intel to the Trump team, which might then implicate the president in lies.
On CNN Monday, hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota discussed Manafort’s actions with a panel that included legal analysts Jeffrey Toobin and Matt Lewis.
The panelists laid out five possible theories for why Manafort lied to Mueller, ranging from arrogance to strategy to stupidity.
“When I saw this, I scratched my head. Paul Manafort, he had a path here to a reduced jail sentence—he just said ‘No, I don’t want to take that path,” Berman said. “It raises all kinds of questions. Does Robert Mueller have so much information about so many things that he can catch anyone lying? Does Paul Manafort not care about going to jail for longer? Or is he protecting some secret that’s worth going to jail for longer?”
Toobin said this is a “a very rare situation,” as defendants who flip normally give up everything they know.
“Why would you lie when you have a cooperation agreement?” Toobin asked. “Don’t do a cooperation agreement if you’re not going to tell the truth… Is he simply arrogant? Is he simply a congenital liar? Is he hoping for a pardon? Is there something huge that he’s protecting? All of those are possibilities.”
Commentator Matt Lewis agreed that “all those possibilities are plausible,” and that Manafort may just be so arrogant that he thought he could get away with lying.
“He’s been kind of a high-roller, a big deal, at least in terms of making a ton of money, a player on the Republican side, since the 1980s,” he said. “When you’ve had that many decades of doing things your way… it’s maybe understandable that you think you can get away with stuff.”
Lewis also thought Manafort may be trying to signal to Trump that he’s toying with prosecutors to get a pardon.
“Maybe this is a play to try to get a pardon, then this all goes away,” Lewis said. “But he needs to signal to Donald Trump that he’s not cooperating, well that signal has now been sent.”
Watch the segment below.
Trump’s ‘clown car’ economic team is totally unprepared to handle a financial crash: CNN’s Catherine Rampell
Washington Post economics columnist Catherine Rampell on Friday warned that President Donald Trump's team of economic advisers is woefully unprepared to handle a recession should one strike within the next year.
During a panel discussion of this week's economic news, which included a massive drop in the stock market after the U.S. Treasury yield curve inverted, Rampell explained why Americans should be deeply worried about the prospects of a recession under this president.
"They don't have a plan for what to do if things go wrong, and they could go wrong," she said. "We have this clown car of economic advisers... you have a guy who plays an economist on TV, you have a former Hollywood producer. This is not the dream team who will be handling a crisis if we face one."
CNN’s Anderson Cooper explains why Trump’s Israel gambit was a ‘potentially unconstitutional’ attack on Congress
CNN’s Anderson Cooper argued Thursday night on his show that President Donald Trump’s latest broadside against Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Minnesota and Ilhan Omar of Michigan was “potentially unconstitutional.”
Trump, who has routinely targeted the Muslim congresswomen and hypocritically accused them of anti-Semitism, urged Israel on Thursday to bar them from entering the country. Reports suggested that Trump has been pressuring Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to take this step, and the Israeli government wasn’t inclined not to. But after Trump tweeted his opinion, Israel made the ban official.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper compares Trump to Rogue from X-Men — because everything he touches dies
On Thursday, during an interview with comedian Stephen Colbert, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper invoked an obscure "X-Men" reference to characterize the destructive tendencies of President Donald Trump — and the way he politically poisons anyone who comes into contact with him.
"The pace of it, I think about the people who work in the White House," said Cooper. "I think President Trump — you know, Dorothy Parker said those born to the storm find the calm very boring. I don't know why he was born to the storm but that chaos—"
"Oh, he creates his own storm," said Colbert. "He takes a big bucket of seawater, throws it in his own face and says, 'I'm a sea captain.' We're going to ride it out, boys. Throw another bucket."