In considering the indictment of former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an associate, I am reminded of former Bill Clinton aide and defender James Carville's line about the ability of a grand jury to "indict a ham sandwich."

Manafort and a longtime business partner, Rick Gates, pleaded not guilty to all 12 counts against them. Manafort is under house arrest after posting an outrageously high bond of $10 million. Gates' bond was set at $5 million. George Papadopoulos, who was a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, has pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI about his foreign contacts with several top Russian officials.

Within hours of the announced indictments, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof rushed into print with a column titled "Will Manafort Sing? If so, it may mark the beginning of the end of this presidency." Look for more of this wishful thinking from the establishment, the Democrats and the mainstream media. 

What Manafort stands accused of has nothing to do with the 2016 election, or with Russian "collusion." No one, so far, has produced any evidence the Russians affected the election's outcome. This is all about overturning the results and keeping "the swamp" full for those who live in it.

Real collusion might be in the significant share of U.S. uranium sold to the Russians during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, followed by a $500,000 fee paid to her husband for a speech in Moscow and the millions of dollars that subsequently flowed into the Clinton Foundation from uranium investors.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and Congress should investigate that Russian connection, along with the role of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign (and the earlier Republican role) in creating an anti-Trump dossier that has been shown to be a fraud and yet was used to justify the appointment of Mueller.

Get breaking news sent instantly to your inbox

Among the many problems with this investigation is that it has no legal, subject or monetary limits. If Mueller and his associates are unable to prove collusion with the Russians, one can count on them coming up with something else. .

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are firing up investigations of their own, including long-overdue looks into various questionable and possibly illegal activities by the Clintons. Congress is the proper avenue for such investigations, not special counsels, who can "go rogue" if they wish.

These seemingly endless accusations and investigations are what so much of the country hates about Washington, the "D.C." that increasingly seems to stand for "dysfunctional city." No matter which party controls government, the other party does all it can, by whatever means, to undermine those elected. This behavior solves no problems. It is only about grabbing and holding onto power.

Given the many moving parts in the Mueller probe and the loss of focus on the primary reason for it, the government may have a difficult time proving its case in court. But with unlimited funds and a staff of lawyers who have Democratic affiliations, you can bet they will try to make more than a ham sandwich out of it.

Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist

0
0
0
0
0
You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.