The Scene:

As Rudi Giuliani challenges the Mueller Probe to put up or shut up, President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, faces trial for tax evasion and bank fraud. The prosecution has cast focus on Manafort's impossibly lavish spending - apparently such things as ostrich suits exist - and featured a gutpunching testimony by former Manafort deputy Rick Gates, who explained how the two committed bank and tax fraud.

The Takes:

UConn Daily CampusAlex Klein pulls no punches: "Not only did Donald Trump know that Paul Manafort was a swamp thing, he knew it better than most people."

•    He continues, "The writing on the wall would not have been much clearer if Manafort showed up to Trump Tower meetings with a GPS tracking bracelet fastened around his ankle."

•    Klein pictures an ominous, and all-too-possible outcome to the whirlwind saga: "One can only hope that President Trump is not craven enough to pardon any of his employees who are facing criminal charges....If the president interferes with the prosecution, he will show how similar he is to the kleptocratic strongmen with whom Paul Manafort made his devil's bargain."

UC Davis AggieNick Irving slams Manafort's actions and what they signal about political competition.

•    "The legal hiccups involving Paul Manafort and George Papadopoulos, both former Trump campaign advisors, demonstrated to any impartial observer the depths presidential teams will go to gain an election advantage."

Arkansas Traveler: Joah Clements focuses on the Manafort indictment as it fits within Republicans (like Matt Gaetz's) attitude: 

•    "If Republicans like Gaetz thought that Mueller’s dissection of politicians would end with the indictment of Manafort and Gates, then their attitude would undoubtedly be different. In reality, this apprehension has increased significantly since Mueller’s first two indictments, and Gaetz’s statement seems like evidence enough."

The Bottom Line:

If Mueller's probe is an iceberg, Manafort's trial its tip that breaches the surface. It is one of the first legal battles within the Mueller investigation that has seen the light of day, and received open coverage by the press. 

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