Op-Ed

Dick Morris: Why the Manafort Trial Is Helping Trump

Combined Shape

In Rasmussen’s polling — the only daily tracking survey of President Donald Trump’s ratings and the only one testing likely voters — Trump has surged from a 44 percent approval rating on July 21 to 50 percent on August 2. Indeed, as the Paul Manafort case neared its trial date and then began, Trump moved from 46 percent to the current 50 percent level.

How is the Manafort trial helping Trump?

Since the average voter does not closely follow the daily flow of information about the special prosecutor and his case, it may be coming as something of a surprise that the political consultant’s trial has nothing to do with Trump. It concerns events that took place long before Manafort entered Trump’s life and in no way involved the president then or now.

The realization is slowly sinking in that this is a normal political corruption case about a consultant who made a killing working in Ukraine and did not pay taxes on the money. So what else is new? None of this has anything to do with Trump.

The massive staffing of the prosecutor’s office, the battles over evidence, the tiffs over immunity, the rumors of witnesses co-operating with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller are all part of a media feeding frenzy that has lasted over a year. But the main event is the man who isn’t there: Donald Trump.

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So evident is his omission that the mission of the prosecutor appears to have nothing to do with any corruption by the president. The average voter, who has patiently waited for the evidence to emerge will wonder: where’s Donald? And, learning that he’s not there and not likely to be involved, to feel somewhat cheated and misled by the media coverage.

So, seeing that none of the wild charges of collusion are coming true, the boy — or special prosecutor — who cried wolf has lost his credibility.

As Winston Churchill put it “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.” That’s how Trump must be feeling.

Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, “Rogue Spooks,” was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.

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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.




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