Paul Manafort, by virtue of having been Donald Trump’s campaign chairman for a few months last summer, got all the headlines when he was arrested and charged by the FBI’s Special Counsel’s office on Monday…but it might have been another arrest that could spell the most trouble for the president. By all accounts, George Papadopoulos was not a significant player in the Trump campaign, but he has nonetheless been caught up in the web of Mr. Robert Mueller. The former campaign adviser accepted a plea deal after his arrest in July. And according to court documents that were unsealed on Monday, Papadopoulos has been a “proactive cooperator” with federal investigators in the months since his initial arrest.
Some are using that term to speculate that Mueller may have gotten Papadopoulos to wear a wire in an effort to help prosecutors make their Russian collusion case against the Trump campaign. According to the conservative website Hot Air, the term is explained in a 2001 court case as such: “Proactive cooperation is general understood to mean that the defendant will engage in some type of undercover work on behalf of the government, such as wearing a wire and/or meeting face to face with persons suspected of involvement in criminal activity.”
CNN legal commentator Jeffrey Toobin said Monday that the revelation about Papadopoulos could have the White House nervous about what Mueller knows.
“This says to me that Papadopoulos, between July and October, was wearing a wire,” surmised Toobin. “He was recording conversations secretly with people who are subjects and targets of this investigation. That’s the only reasonable explanation of what’s in those court papers. If he was wearing a wire this summer and fall, that is a whole new chapter of possibilities in this investigation and potentially a very, very big deal.”
Any fair reading of the Manafort/Gates indictments shows little to no relation to Mueller’s supposed mission, which is to determine if the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. The Papadopoulos revelations, however, are a whole ‘nother story. It is here that Mueller may have discovered his pressure point. Did the young adviser’s work with White House officials bear fruit that led to the arrest of Manafort? Or did he reveal confidential information that could lead Mueller to bring down a bigger fish in the West Wing?
We’ll refrain from speculating too much about this, because that’s exactly what Mueller and the Democrats want. So far, there’s been a lot of smoke and precious little fire. That’s the game. They want to keep Trump and his supporters in Congress on edge while the media feeding frenzy goes into overdrive. Whether any of this ever amounts to anything is secondary to the point, which is to make it nearly impossible for Republicans to push their agenda through to the president’s desk. That is also allows the Democrats to shield their own criminal activities from public view…well, that’s just gravy.