Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s response to Paul Manafort‘s motion to dismiss the charges against him appeared to so thoroughly gut Manafort’s arguments, that it will likely result in the former Trump campaign manager cutting a deal, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said Tuesday.
Manafort had claimed that Mueller’s mandate was illegally overbroad and had no oversight, based on the general terms of his appointment order. Late Monday night, Mueller said in a court filing that a separate memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein specifically detailed his mandate, and he’s consulted with Rosenstein over the course of the investigation. Mueller attached a copy of the memo, redacting nearly all of the specific allegations he’s allowed to explore, but revealed the parts related to Manafort.
Toobin addressed the latest developments, and what the court filing revealed about the nature of the Russia probe.
“It’s not surprising but it just shows that the Mueller investigation is like an iceberg. Three quarters of it is just stuff you can’t see.”
Toobin went on to say that Mueller has shown that he’s been “meticulous” in doing everything by the book, and how “unlikely it is that Manafort will get the charges against him thrown out.”
So what does that mean for Manafort? When asked if he thinks the former Trump campaign manager could flip and cut a deal to cooperate with Mueller in light of this new court filing, Toobin said, “I think it’s a better than even chance.”
Assuming that the court sides with Mueller and denies Manafort’s motion to dismiss, there may not be much of a defense that Manafort could mount. Given that his co-defendant and associate Rick Gates already pleaded guilty and made a deal to cooperate with Mueller, Toobin thinks it’s very likely that Manafort will do the same.
“I think once these motions are declined, which I expect they will be, Manafort will come under enormous pressure, given that he’s just about 70 years old and is looking like — if he’s convicted after trial — he may spend the rest of his life in prison.”
[Image via CNN screengrab]