Speed Reads

Mueller Time

With Paul Manafort's trial about to start, Trump attacks Mueller investigation as an 'illegal scam'

The first trial of President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort starts Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, with jury selection. The selected jurors will hear a lot about the $30 million from Ukrainian political consulting that prosecutors say Manafort laundered illegally to avoid paying U.S. taxes. They won't hear anything about Russia or collusion with Moscow, even though the case is being prosecuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team. On Sunday, Trump attacked Mueller's investigation on Twitter, insisting there was "No Collusion!" and calling Mueller's investigation a "Rigged Witch Hunt" and "an illegal Scam!" led by alleged "Angry Dems." Trump also alleged that Mueller has "conflicts of interest" because he quit Trump's golf club once, continued to serve as FBI director under former President Barack Obama, and was a candidate Trump considered for FBI director.

Manafort's role as head of Trump's campaign is relevant to the case, The Associated Press notes, but not central. Manafort faces a second trial in Washington, D.C., on Mueller's accusation that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent, working with a Russian with alleged ties to Russian intelligence, and lied to the government. Manafort is the only American Mueller has charged who opted to fight his cases in court instead of cooperating with the government; five people cooperating with Mueller are among the 35 potential witnesses Mueller's team might call in the trial.