This trial is not directly about collusion in 2016. It seems to have two purposes. First is to punish Manafort for his sins. There’s the sin he’s accused of in money laundering and tax evasion. Then there’s the sin of not cooperating with Mueller. It seems he set himself up with his own words. The second reason is to show Manafort, Gates and others had a connection to the Russians (he worked for the pro Russian candidate) and were as corrupt as hell. This is one of the predicates to building a collusion case against Trump. It only will show Manafort had connection with Putin’s organization so there would be one potential path to collusion. The stakes are high for both Mueller and Manafort. If Manafort walks Mueller’s case is wounded likely mortally. If Mueller wins obviously Manafort is screwed but that only the first small step for Mueller. It doesn’t prove collusion or anything about Trumps actions. It may give Mueller leverage on Manafort to turn in return for a light sentence but otherwise is only another small step in the path to collusion and Trump.