That’s not to say the public did not learn anything from the Manafort trial. Indeed, if nothing else, outsiders got a glimpse into what Washington influence peddlers have gotten away with for decades. Manafort was convicted of shady dealing going back a long way. His behavior had been examined by the Obama Justice Department, which took no action against him. It was only because Manafort hooked up with Trump, and Trump then won the White House, and Democrats then pushed a Trump-Russia narrative to hobble the new president, and Trump then fired the director of the FBI — only through all of those circumstances — that Manafort got caught and his foreign money schemes exposed.
The importance of the financial crimes case against Manafort was never the financial crimes themselves. It was the prosecutors’ hope that, by charging the hell out of the offenses alleged, by playing hardball with the defendant with a guns-drawn-at-dawn search-warrant raid, by jailing him over a debatable obstruction of justice charge that Manafort could be pressured into spilling what prosecutors apparently thought were a lot of beans about the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.