Hello Prime subscribers. Have you read Rick Perlstein and Livia Gershon’s history of “voter fraud” — or, rather, unsubstantiated claims of “voter fraud” — in U.S.? If not, load it up and settle in: It’s long and fascinating.
Here’s what happened in Prime this week.
- Mueller “may need Manafort to flip so they have a witness they can use in court. This might explain Trump’s extreme agitation with the trial and Manafort’s thinly disguised play for a pardon,” a former federal public corruption prosecutor tells Josh Marshall.
- The Manafort trial came to a close this week, Caitlin MacNeal writes, following testimony from bank employees that alleged Manafort was given loans in exchange for offering favors to the bank’s CEO. The $9.5 million and the $6.5 million loans to Manafort were the largest and second largest loans the bank had ever made, David Kurtz notes.
- Now, as the jury deliberates, there’s nothing to do but wait. Manafort’s lawyers are pacing anxiously around, Caitlin MacNeal observes. And the judge gave reporters a jolt by suggesting “Mr. Trump” had arrived in court, Tierney Sneed writes.
- The White House seems to have asked public employees to sign NDAs. But these agreements are likely unenforceable.
- Something remains amiss with George Papadopoulos’ wife, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, Josh Marshall writes.
- There was a lot that was concerning about Kris Kobach’s race to become the Republican nominee for Kansas governor — an election that, as Secretary of State, Kobach was charged with overseeing. “Even after Kobach’s recusal,” Tierney Sneed writes, “concerns were raised about the fact that the deputy who is now overseeing the count, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker, donated to Kobach’s campaign.”
- One observer tells Allegra Kirkland: “Where irony comes into play here is he’s a tough-minded individual on fraud, but every time you see a decision being made that would help him [in the primary race], its not necessarily a strict constructionist decision. It’s a decision that would help Kris Kobach.”
- HHS secretary Alex Azar gave a speech bashing the Affordable Care Act as a “broken law” with “inherent instability.” He, of course, did not acknowledge the Trump administration’s role in breaking it.