Dershowitz: Manafort indictment is ‘all about leverage’
Alan Dershowitz appeared on Fox and Friends Monday morning to discuss the Mueller indictment of Paul Manafort. According to Dershowitz, this is all about strategy.
“They’re going after Manafort for something that apparently has nothing to do with Trump—years ago, his own business,” Dershowitz said. He continued,” But what they’re saying to him is ‘We gotcha now and we don’t care about that but if you can tell us something about Trump and the campaign and collusion, we’ll give you a get-out-of-jail card free.’
“So it’s all about leverage. That’s the way that prosecutors work.”
Dershowitz went on to say, “Manafort knows where the bodies are buried.” He added, “He was an intimate and if anything happened wrong in the campaign, and there’s no evidence that anything did, Manafort would know about it. Even if he wasn’t directly there he’d of heard about it.”
As for what will happen to Manafort now that he has surrendered himself to the FBI, Dershowitz said, “They’ll let him go. Bail will be set relatively low. He’s not going anywhere.”
Finally, Dershowitz said that the nature of the special prosecutor is to go after something. “That’s the danger of a special prosecutor. He has to go after somebody. He can’t just spend all the money and do nothing,” Dershowitz said. He continued, “Even if he can’t find anything related to what he was ultimately appointed for, if he can find little things, that’s going to be a victory for him. That’s the danger to democracy of the criminalization of political differences here.”
Meuller’s indictment of Manafort is strategic but will only pay off if Manafort has something to offer. The fact that he was only part of the campaign for about two months means the window of time when he had full access to what was going on is pretty short.
But even if Manafort has nothing of significance to offer, this is still a win for Democrats who demanded this special prosecutor on the back of claims about possible collusion and now have a scalp they can point to, even if that has nothing to do with the original purpose of the investigation.
This also means that this process could continue to drag on for months as Mueller pursues whatever leads he can draw out of Manafort. Democrats would no doubt prefer that this drags on right up to the 2018 election giving them a corruption issue to run their campaigns on. Meanwhile, the president can do nothing but wait to see if any more shoes drop.