The Manafort Indictment
On Monday morning, President Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, surrendered to federal authorities. He faces 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States and financial crimes, stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russia's 2016 election meddling. But what happens now that Manafort has walked through the FBI field office's doors?
Perhaps at the forefront of everyone's minds is the possibility of Manafort "flipping." The rumors began last summer, when prosecutors warned Manafort he was a potential target in the investigation, igniting "speculation that Mr. Manafort might try to cut a deal to avoid prosecution," The New York Times writes. Trump's lawyer has dismissed rumors that Manafort would or could offer damaging information on the president, while Trump's close friend, Roger Stone, said of Manafort: "He's not going to lie."
Still, FBI investigations at the level of Mueller's historically follow a similar pattern, which includes circling inward from "peripheral figures first," Wired writes. With prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, an expert on "flipping witnesses," seen outside the grand jury room Friday, Wired adds that "there's no reason to think that this investigation will be any different."
Institutionally, the FBI's modus operandi and DNA is to target and dismantle entire whole criminal organizations — that's why federal cases usually take so long: The agency starts at the bottom or periphery of an organization and works inward, layer by layer, until it's in a position to build a rock-solid case against the person at the top. [Wired]
Axios adds that indicting Manafort could trigger a reaction from Trump himself, including "pardons or Mueller's firing, igniting a debate over executive authority."