Paul Manafort's first trial begins

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Judge T.S. Ellis appears to be keeping his promise of a three-week trial: Paul Manafort’s trial in the Eastern District of Virginia is clipping along already. Jury selection, opening statements and the prosecution’s first witness — all took place on day one. We now know Manafort’s defense team’s strategy: blame Rick Gates, Manafort’s associate who has accepted a plea deal. How novel is that strategy? Is it likely to work? Ken White gives his take. Then, Josh asks Ken about the news last week that Robert Mueller is looking at President Trump’s tweets as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the election. Can a tweet be a crime? Can something as public as one of the president’s tweets qualify as obstruction of justice? Ken also gives a lesson on argument in the alternative, or as the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani put it: even if there was collusion, “collusion is not a crime.”




Sara Fay

Demonstrators outside the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, on the first day of the trial of Paul Manafort courtesy of Victoria Pickering.