Paul Manafort — the spy who did not “collude”

“According to the report, Mr. Manafort was forthcoming: He briefed Mr. Kilimnik [Russian intelligence officer] on Mr. Trump’s path to victory and his strategy to win in battleground states.” 

source

Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign manager, a man fond of expensive jackets made out of things like ostrich, was a founding partner, with self-proclaimed “political dirty trickster” Roger Stone, of the longtime DC lobbying/campaigning firm Black, Manafort and Stone.   They were pioneers in campaigning for national elections (starting with Ronald Reagan’s presidential run) and then profiting as lobbyists by providing paid access to their candidates once in office.

Manafort later made millions grooming and helping Kremlin-backed Ukrainian politician Viktor F. Yanukovych become president of Ukraine.  Yanukovych’s successful presidential run, orchestrated by Manafort, was backed by pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs, as well as at least one Russian oligarch, Oleg V. Deripaska.   Would-be strongman Yanukovych was forced out of office for corruption and abuses of power by a popular uprising in 2014 and fled to Russia. 

Manafort felt he’d been stiffed out of millions in fees that were owed to him for his tireless efforts on behalf of Yanukovych and his pro-Putin backers.  The billionaire Deripaska believed Manafort owed him a small fortune on a business deal gone bad.   Manafort, needing money, volunteered to head Trump’s presidential campaign, working without a fee, for the promise of a big payday from his wealthy longtime associates in Russia and Ukraine.   

In the course of his work for the Trump campaign Manafort met with, communicated secretly with, and gave detailed, strategic voter and campaign information to, a Russian intelligence officer named Konstantin V. Kilimnik.   Manafort did this important but illegal work, with agents of a foreign adversary, to get his client Mr. Trump elected secretly, like a spy.   Thus concludes the Rubio-Cotton Report, volume five, released by the Senate Intel Committee yesterday.   The report Marco Rubio spins as proving once and for all that there was “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence.

Stone and Manafort are both convicted felons who lied under oath to the Mueller investigators, but the extent of Manafort’s direct ties to Putin’s intelligence service was revealed yesterday for the first time by the Senate report.

The following is from the New York Times article outlining what was revealed about Manafort’s extensive ties to, and communications with, a close longtime associate, Russian intelligence officer Konstantin Kilimnik. 

The report portrayed Mr. Manafort as deeply compromised by years of business dealings with those oligarchs. Collectively, they had paid him tens of millions of dollars, lent him millions more and may also have owed him millions.

These complex financial entanglements apparently figured in Mr. Manafort’s decision to give Mr. Kilimnik inside campaign information, including confidential polling data and details of Mr. Trump’s campaign strategy. The report builds on other evidence suggesting that Mr. Manafort hoped that Mr. Kilimnik would open up lucrative business deals with the oligarchs in return or that they would consider the value of the information as its own form of payment.

and:

The report said Mr. Kilimnik was Mr. Manafort’s link to Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who is close to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and has acted “as a proxy for the Russian state and intelligence services” since at least 2004, when Mr. Manafort apparently met him.

Mr. Deripaska, who has worked to install pro-Kremlin governments around the globe, initially hired Mr. Manafort as a political consultant, the report said. A group of pro-Russia oligarchs in Ukraine later became the financiers of Mr. Manafort’s operations to help Viktor F. Yanukovych, a politician aligned with Russia, become Ukraine’s president.

Mr. Manafort recognized the Kremlin’s interests, the report said. “This model can greatly benefit the Putin government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitments to success,” he wrote in a memo to Mr. Deripaska.

The report called Mr. Manafort’s efforts for the oligarch “in effect, influence work for the Russian government and its interests.”

No collusion, baby!!!   Nothing to see here!   Liberal fascist lies, unwittingly abetted by Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio!    Traitors, devils and darkness!!!!

Of course, the president’s enemies will try to spin this to make Manafort look guilty of spying or treason.   The New York Times continues, citing the Cotton-Rubio report released yesterday:

Despite questions about who was behind Mr. Kilimnik — both financially and politically — Mr. Manafort increasingly depended on him. But by 2014, the Ukraine work had dried up.

Mr. Yanukovych had been forced out as president after a popular uprising and fled to Russia. Mr. Manafort claimed the Ukrainian oligarchs had stiffed him out of millions for his work for Mr. Yanukovych. And Mr. Deripaska was trying to collect from Mr. Manafort for a failed private equity deal in Eastern Europe.

Now broke, Mr. Manafort volunteered to work for the Trump campaign, which hired him in March 2016. In a memo, Mr. Manafort offered to brief Mr. Deripaska on “this development with Trump.”

Mr. Manafort also speedily passed along the news of his new job to Mr. Kilimnik, who traveled to the United States specifically to meet him in May and again in August 2016. According to the report, Mr. Manafort was forthcoming: He briefed Mr. Kilimnik on Mr. Trump’s path to victory and his strategy to win in battleground states.

After he rose to campaign chairman, Mr. Manafort also instructed his deputy, Rick Gates, to periodically share confidential Trump campaign polling data with Mr. Kilimnik, including surveys showing what voters most disliked about Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent. Mr. Gates “understood that Kilimnik would share the information with Deripaska,” the report said.

The transfer of internal campaign data to a known Russian agent is “about as clear a coordination or cooperation between two entities as could be established,” said Senator Angus King, a Maine independent on the Senate Intelligence Committee who votes with Democrats.

The president’s enemies try to make it sound like secretly meeting with a member of a foreign intelligence organization and sharing detailed election polling and voter information with a country that later is shown to have hacked into electronic elections in all fifty states, in order to give their chosen candidate victories by tiny majorities in each key swing state, is some kind of nefarious crime, something akin to treason.

We never get tired of slinging these kind of outrageous, slanderous, libelous allegations against the best people, do we?

“According to the report, Mr. Manafort was forthcoming: He briefed [Russian intelligence officer] Mr. Kilimnik on Mr. Trump’s path to victory and his strategy to win in battleground states.”

SO?

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