As most assumed, lobbyist and fired Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was indicted by Robert Mueller's investigation. This indictment had nothing to do with Trump's campaign. The investigation into Russian collusion by Trump has been an expensive, media-encouraged attempt to find some major smoking gun. So far, this "scandal" hasn't lived up to its hype; it's the Apple Watch of investigations.
They were able to get Manafort for whatever they wanted to with all the convoluted laws we have about taxes and foreign lobbying. As a famous New York judge once said of grand juries, "Prosecutors could get them to indict a ham sandwich."
Manafort's biggest crime in the partisan swamp of D.C. was being Trump's campaign manager.
According to an analysis by The Hill, of the 14 major federal agencies whose employees personally donated to presidential politics, "By the end of September 2016, about $1.9 million, or 95 percent, went to the Democratic nominee's campaign." Ninety-four percent of Department of Justice employee donations were to Hillary. If you don't think legal outcomes are based on biases or payback, ask the O.J. jury.
The Mueller team is full of Democrat donors. Even according to the hyper-left Washington Post, of the top investigators who donated heavily to Democrats, "James Quarles gave the most political donations out of the four — nearly $33,000 to various Democrats since 1999, Federal Election Commission records show. Recipients included Obama for America, Hillary for America and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee."
Like everything in Washington, the Justice Department is political. Its stock answer is, "We will go where the evidence leads us." But in a town that voted 90 percent for Hillary, that means, "We will go where we want the evidence to lead us, and leak it if it doesn't." Not surprisingly, the judge in the Manafort case is an Obama appointee.
The reality is that if you give the ex-FBI chief $10 million dollars, a big Democrat donor staff, and all our laws-layered-upon-laws in America, they will get 90 percent of us if they want to. It is like a policeman tailing your car for 1,000 miles: He will eventually find a reason to arrest you. But what should worry us all, Democrats included, is the question: Is this the legal system we want, one that indicts out of political vengeance?
I think Manafort probably did some slippery things; in that business, most do, including Hillary's besties, the Brothers Podesta. You start lobbying for foreign governments, wiring money, etc., and you can be indicted on a whole long list of U.S. laws. I predict this episode unveils further the seedy role lobbyists play in running D.C. and will strengthen Trump.
Swamp dwellers in D.C. like Manafort and Podesta didn't invent crime, they just improved on it. But if the crimes Manafort has been indicted for date back to 2006, why did the Department of Justice not get him then? That is the real question.
With all the problems in America, we continue to prosecute and incarcerate more citizens than the rest of the world. We are 4.4 percent of the world's population, and we have 22 percent of the world's prisoners. If you give government this many agencies, money, and vast and unaccountable powers, more of us will be arrested. Neither Hillary nor any political enemy needs to be harassed as a blood sport by this government morass.
By weaponizing criminal law for political gain, this "special counsel" is about to spend $20 million to indict some guys who really harmed no one. It is no surprise we have a huge budget deficit with all this waste and just had to do a budget deal to avoid another "fiscal cliff." When lawmakers go over the next fiscal cliff, I hope the tide is out.
Even liberal lawyer Alan Dershowitz says, "Criminalizing political differences hurts democracy." And GOP congressmen are mute as this governmental blunt object is swung. We must stand up to politically motivated prosecutions. Should America die next week, the police investigation would say there were no signs of struggle.
Contact Ron Hart, a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator, at Ron@RonaldHart.com or Twitter @RonaldHart.