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.
‘It’s like Kindergarten’: CNN’s Anderson Cooper tears into Trump’s juvenile attacks on Kamala Harris’ name
On CNN Monday, anchor Anderson Cooper played clips of President Donald Trump making fun of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and deliberately mispronouncing her name.
"By the way, you know who's further left than Bernie is Kamala," said Trump in the clip. "She's the most liberal senator in America. Kamala. Kamala. Senator Kamala Harris is a sponsor of the Green New Deal, Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris. You pronounce her name wrong, she will go crazy. Kamala, like a comma. You like Kamala?"
"Obviously, not something he's done once or twice," said Cooper. "It's like Kindergarten, remember? When everyone used to make fun of people's names. It happens again and again and again, much like how, to this day, he still emphasizes President Obama's middle name, Hussein."
Trump’s DHS prepares to send federal agents to cities for election: ‘We have teams ready to go’
Homeland Security agencies are preparing for civil unrest as tensions climb leading into the last week of the presidential election.
"We have teams ready to go as needed ... we don't have any specific intelligence that suggests any particular threat of violence," said Ken Cuccinelli, the senior official performing the duties of the Homeland Security deputy secretary.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is putting personnel on standby through next week's election, according to a senior ICE official who spoke with CNN. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been regularly training personnel -- an extension of the deployments this summer, an agency official said.
Trump has become ‘The Incredible Shrinking President’ as Americans tune him out: Pennsylvania AG
On Monday, Pennsylvania's Democratic Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, hit back at President Donald Trump's threats that he would be "watching" the state for signs of voter fraud.
"What's your response to the president, who made those allegations without any evidence at all in your state?" asked anchor Wolf Blitzer.
"He says he's watching, about the only thing I have seen here in Pennsylvania is that Donald Trump has gone 0-5 in court challenges against us here," said Shapiro. "Court challenges where he has alleged widespread voter fraud, and yet never was able to back it up with a shred of evidence. That's why courts have dismissed these baseless lawsuits that he's filed. Apparently, now that he's lost in court time and time again, he's gone into the public square to spin a tale and tell these lies and attack our governor."