Considering all of the players involved in the Trump-Russia scandal, it makes perfect sense why Paul Manafort would be the lone individual to insist on cutting a plea deal. He’s wealthier, more stubborn, and clearly more reckless than any of the others. However, what hasn’t made any sense whatsoever is why Special Counsel Robert Mueller selected Manafort for his first arrest. Until now, that is.
It seems as if Mueller has always wanted a trial in order to expose others that are involved, and given what we’ve learned of Manafort attempting to tamper with multiple witnesses against him, it’s all beginning to tie together.
Between this revelation, the fact that Manafort had previously been caught trying to use an op-ed in order to influence the jury pool, and not to mention his house arrest, it’s clear Manafort carries a big enough rope to hang himself and possibly others as well.
But when did all of this really begin taking shape? Mueller discovered something in Manafort’s cloud data storage, which included his encrypted apps. This started the dominos falling and now Mueller wants witnesses personal phones to investigate.
According to CNBC, Mueller began demanding in April that Trump-Russia witnesses begin turning in their phones so he could see if they too had been using encrypted apps to communicate. And surprisingly, these witnesses have voluntarily cooperated:
“Fearing a subpoena, the witnesses have complied with the request and have given over their phones, the sources said.
While it’s unclear what Mueller has discovered, if anything, through this new request, investigators seem to be convinced that the apps could be a key to exposing conversations that weren’t previously disclosed to them.[…]
On Monday, the special counsel filed a claim that Manafort tampered with witnesses after he was indicted in February for money laundering and illegally acting as a foreign agent.
For evidence, a deputy of Mueller’s listed two apps, WhatsApp and Telegram, that they say Manafort used to contact the witnesses in his case. The filing also says that those conversations were provided to Mueller in May, a month after witnesses say they were approached to provide their phones.”
Regardless, of what he has discovered, Mueller has these phones in his possession and is able see all the communications that various witnesses have had with Manafort and others involved in the scandal. I’d say there are strong odds that some incriminating information lies within them. We shall see, but the truth of the matter is none of this would have been possible had Manafort not walked as recklessly as he did.