DALLAS (CBS11) – Legal experts say while the 12 count indictment against President Trump’s ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort is very serious, it doesn’t mention the President or any alleged collusion with Russia.
Bill Mateja was the Senior Counsel for James Comey when he was the Deputy Attorney General for President George W. Bush.
He says the indictment, “suggests there is no evidence of a crime because it has to fit the parameters of a crime. It doesn’t appear that there is.”
Mateja says the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller may be trying to get Manafort to flip — and tell investigators what he knows about the Trump campaign. “I’m sure that the Special Counsel has already reached out to Manafort to flip, to cooperate, and either Manafort said no, orManafort didn’t have any evidence that the Special Counsel thought would be of import in trying to pursue charges against additional individuals. Sometimes, you have to file an indictment in order to be a catalyst to get somebody to flip.”
SMU Political Science Professor Matthew Wilson says the indictment won’t have any impact on President Trump’s popularity with his core supporters.
“Barring some sort of revelations that directly and indisputably implicated Trump himself, their support for his administration is not going to change,” said Wilson.
Wilson says charges against Manafort though may make it more difficult for the President to get his agenda passed. “The President has wanted to put the Russia-collusion story to bed for a long time, and while nothing in this indictment suggests that he had any involvement, the fact that Manafort was close to him at least for a period of time, keeps the story alive.”
Democratic Congressman Marc Veasey of Fort Worth says the U.S. needs to get to the bottom of attempts by the Russians to interfere in the 2016 election. “Finding out exactly why Russians wanted to meddle in our elections is the most important thing all of us should be concerned about whether we’re Democrats or Republicans.”
Veasey also wants the President to create an independent commission to look into it. “All the President would need to do, he can do this in an executive order.”