For months, it’s seemed curious that Paul Manafort has been kept in solitary confinement since the beginning of the summer. At least since July, Manafort has spent 23 hours a day locked up with the sole exception of visiting his attorneys, the sort of treatment usually reserved for uniquely dangerous criminals, not white-collar felons. As of October, Manafort was wheelchair-ridden due to health problems, never explicated or directly tied to his confinement, but 23 hours a day in solitude certainly couldn’t have helped.
Legal reports claimed that Manafort was stuck in solitary to guarantee his safety. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s latest filing points to a more plausible reason: The White House couldn’t stop sticking its neck out for Manafort.
“In a text exchange from May 26, 2018, Manafort authorized a person to speak with an Administration official on Manafort’s behalf,” Mueller writes. “Separately, according to another Manafort colleague, Manafort said in February 2018 that Manafort had been in communication with a senior Administration official up through February 2018.”
The White House needs to stop cavorting with criminals in general, but this one in particular. Manafort was a dangerous hire, and once President Trump wanted to fire Manafort, he should have done so and then instructed everyone in his circle to cease all contact with him.
That members of Trump’s administration continued not only to subvert the law in contacting Manafort, but then to speak on his behalf even after the court placed a gag order on him is unconscionable.
Stop talking to Manafort. Stop talking for Manafort. Every shred of evidence points to Manafort’s independent guilt, a kind that doesn’t seem to directly implicate Trump in any way. Stick your neck out for a crook unnecessarily, and you just might find yourself under a guillotine.