The first indictment issued in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation is a "boon" for President Donald Trump that'll let him continue to claim he's the victim of a "witch hunt," former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy says.
In a commentary for the National Review posted Monday, McCarthy asserted the indictment against Paul Manafort is "much ado about nothing… except as a vehicle to squeeze" the former Trump campaign manager.
"From President Trump's perspective, the indictment is a boon from which he can claim that the special counsel has no actionable collusion case," he wrote.
"It appears to reaffirm former FBI director James Comey's multiple assurances that Trump is not a suspect. And, to the extent it looks like an attempt to play prosecutorial hardball with Manafort, the president can continue to portray himself as the victim of a witch hunt."
And, according to McCarthy, the case "has nothing to do with what Democrats and the media call 'the attack on our democracy'" due to Moscow's meddling in the 2016 election allegedly in collusion with the Trump campaign.
McCarthy noted the indictment essentially charges Manafort and associate Richard Gates with conspiring to conceal from the U.S. government about $75 million they made as unregistered foreign agents for Ukraine and money-laundering.
"On first glance, Mueller's case, at least in part, seems shaky and overcharged," McCarthy wrote.
"Even from Paul Manafort's perspective, there may be less to this indictment than meets the eye," he added.
"[I]t's not so much a serious allegation of 'conspiracy against the United States' as a dubious case of disclosure violations and money movement that would never have been brought had he not drawn attention to himself by temporarily joining the Trump campaign."
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