We’ve reached the asset forfeiture stage of the Trump-Russia scandal

Last June, Special Counsel Robert Mueller added a prosecutor named Adam Jed to his team whose specialty was asset forfeiture, making clear that they would eventually try to take financial assets away from Trump-Russia figures who participated in financial crimes. Ten months later we’re now entering the asset forfeiture stage of the Trump-Russia scandal, and it’s bad news for everyone involved – including Donald Trump.

Court filings released today reveal that Adam Jed has just stepped to the plate for the prosecution in the criminal case against Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. This means that, in addition to the array of felony charges and potential three hundred year prison sentence that Manafort is already facing, he’s about to start losing his properties if the court sees things Mueller’s way. Will this prompt a stubborn Manafort to finally relent and cut a plea deal against Trump? We’ll see. But either way, Trump now has a new problem.

The charges against Manafort, which range from money laundering to conspiracy against the United States, are in line with the kind of charges that Donald Trump can be expected to end up facing. It’s an open question, with little existing precedent, as to how far Mueller can take any prosecution of Trump while he’s still in office. In that sense, the Manafort criminal case is something of a test-run for the kinds of tactics that Mueller and his team might use to try to get around any legal limitations that the court might place on them while pursuing Trump.

In other words, Robert Mueller is now sending in an asset forfeiture specialist to begin trying to take away Paul Manafort’s assets and properties, even before the trial gets underway. It’s time for Donald Trump to worry that his assets and properties such as Trump Tower could be in line for forfeiture as well.

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