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Opinion
Timothy L. O'Brien

Why Mueller’s Manafort Case Isn’t About Trump

What exactly does the special counsel want from the president’s former campaign chairman?

What exactly does Mueller want from Manafort?

What exactly does Mueller want from Manafort?

Photographer: Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

When Paul Manafort’s first trial begins Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, a flotilla of criminal charges will greet him. President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager will hear of money laundering, bank fraud and tax fraud, as well as tales of multi-million dollar payments funneled through overseas bank accounts that allowed for lavish spending on clothing, antiques, houses, luxury automobiles and jewelry.

If the courtroom drama follows a script that Special Counsel Robert Mueller outlined in a 37-page, 32-count federal indictment, Manafort will also hear about the constellation of shell companies he used to both sanitize and process $75 million in payments from Ukrainian politicians and oligarchs.