Huckabee: Manafort sentencing has zero, zilch, nada, nothing to do with Russian ‘collusion’

By Mike Huckabee | Fox News

With the release of the “Mueller Report” reportedly just around the corner, the sentencing Thursday of one-time Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort to 47 months in prison offers a timely reminder that the whole Russia collusion narrative was never more than a fantasy of the Democrats and the mainstream media.

As numerous investigations and witness testimonies have already demonstrated, there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to elect Donald Trump as president. The entire justification for the Mueller probe was a farce, invented by former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign manager Robby Mook and the rest of the Clinton brain trust to justify their humiliating defeat in the 2016 presidential election.

Even U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III acknowledged that Manafort’s convictions were completely unrelated to the Russia collusion, about which the judge had previously expressed skepticism in open court.

“He is not before the court for anything having to do with colluding with the Russian government,” Ellis said in court.

It’s near-universally assumed by now that Mueller’s final report, however much of it the public eventually sees, will fail to show any evidence of collusion. So the same talking heads who’ve spent nearly two years whipping half the country into a frenzy about Russian collusion have to cling to what they do have: Manafort.

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The problem for them is that Manafort’s convictions illustrate just how empty Mueller’s net has come up after more than 21 months in this putrid fishing hole.

Paul Manafort was found guilty of tax fraud, bank fraud, and failure to report a foreign bank account. In addition to the 47-month prison sentence that Ellis gave him Thursday, Manafort will serve even longer because the judge in his other criminal trial threw out his guilty plea after determining he lied to Mueller’s investigators.

This is all very serious — and all very irrelevant to Russian election interference.

Manafort, plain and simple, is going to prison for things completely outside the original scope of Mueller’s investigation. All of his convictions stem from the shady lobbying businesses he ran with his associate Rick Gates long before joining the Trump campaign in 2016.

The same could be said about any of the myriad other indictments Mueller has brought against Americans who were unfortunate enough to have ties to the Trump campaign. The only illegal conduct Mueller uncovered either predates the Trump campaign or involves “process crimes” directly linked to Mueller’s investigation, such as those of George Papadopoulos, the former Trump aide who got a whopping 14 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

The fact is that after nearly two years of work, we still have no indication that the Mueller probe found so much as a single instance of actual Trump-Russia collusion. Cases such as Manafort’s are typically relegated to no more than a moment’s mention on the nightly news, but not this time.

The fake collusion narrative is simply too important to the media. They’ve invested too much of their capital and credibility, so they have no choice but to present Manafort’s crimes as evidence not only of Donald Trump’s supposed culpability but of Mueller’s efficacy.

For their part, the president’s detractors on Capitol Hill, particularly Democratic committee chairmen Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff, need the artificial stench of the Manafort sentencing to hang in the air as long as possible so that they can prepare to launch the second wave of their vile, politically motivated attack.

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