“La tirada” is Mexican slang for why something is happening. As the Paul Manafort case is proceeding there are many thoughts of what the Mueller investigators are after by prosecuting Manafort. The Trump supporters love to point out that the first Paul Manafort case – the ongoing one – does not involve Donald Trump or Russian collusion. They also argue that the alleged crimes were before Manafort went to work for the Trump campaign. Although there have been only five days of court hearings and arguably we’ve only heard one side of the issue, there are a few things we can glean from the hearings.

The evidence has suggested that Paul Manafort avoided paying taxes on income through accounting subterfuge. The subterfuge is taking in money – lots of it – outside of the country as income and then making it seem like it was “loans” so that he could spend it in America without paying taxes on it. The United States is one of the few countries that taxes income no matter where it is earned. If a U.S. citizen makes a dollar in México, the law requires the taxpayer to report it as income on their tax returns. The case against Manafort so far shows that Manafort made money that he did not report.

There is also the issue of foreign bank accounts. It is not illegal for Americans to hold bank accounts in other countries. What is illegal is not to let the IRS know that an American has foreign bank accounts. The Manafort court hearing has demonstrated that Paul Manafort lied to his accountants and the IRS about having foreign accounts.

Additionally, the hearing is establishing that Manafort committed fraud by lying to banks on loan applications. Manafort, according to the court hearing, lied to the banks about how much money he earned.

However, Donald Trump and supporters argue that the trial against Paul Manafort has nothing to do with the work Manafort performed for the Trump Campaign. They are right in that the trial focuses on work and money tied to the Ukraine between 2006 and 2014. Trump supporters also argue that the Manafort trial has nothing to do with Russian collusion.

But, there is a nexus to Russian collusion. However, before examining that it is important to note that the Trump supporters also argue that the Mueller investigation is outbounds in prosecuting Paul Manafort.

The question they should be asking themselves is, what does it matter who brings charges against someone that does not pay their taxes? Each of those arguing that Mueller is out of bounds prosecuting Paul Manafort for evading taxes forgets the inconvenient fact that their own taxes are higher due to citizens avoiding their responsibility to pay taxes. Thus, why argue that Mueller should not prosecute Manafort for tax evasion?

This gets us to “la tirada” of how the Manafort trial connects to Donald Trump.

It simply comes down to influence peddling.

The court has demonstrated that starting around 2016, Manafort’s business started to fail pressuring Manafort to commit fraud to keep his business going. The court testimony shows that Manafort depended on one client for his lavish lifestyle. The client was Viktor Yanukovych, “the golden goose,” who fled to Russia from the Ukraine. After fleeing, Yanukovych stopped paying Manafort millions.

Paul Manafort has one thing to peddle, and that is his access to power. This is important to understand this to appreciate “la tirada” of Mueller. Without his main client, Paul Manafort could not pay his bills. Manafort was resorting to fraud to keep his business viable.

Paul Manafort worked on the Trump Campaign from February 2016 and August 2016. Manafort worked for free. The important question thus becomes, why would Paul Manafort, who is relying on fraud to keep his consulting business afloat work for free? The answer takes us directly to Donald Trump.

By telling the world that he has a direct line to Donald Trump, Manafort is telling those seeking influence with the U.S. government that they must pay Paul Manafort for that access. Simply, Paul Manafort was hoping to bank his access to Trump to solve his business problem.

One does not need to look further than the controversy with Michael Cohen and the millions he was paid for access to Trump by large companies to understand how Manafort thought the possibility of solving his financial woes by selling access to Trump.

To be clear this does not prove Russian collusion, nor that Trump committed a crime. However, it explains what “la tirada” for prosecuting Manafort is.

In tomorrow’s post will see how incestuous the Paul Manafort connections are providing a better understanding of why prosecutors are going after Paul Manafort.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...