Could it be that Paul Manafort is the Angela Lansbury character Eleanor Shaw, the KGB handler and ruthless power broker working with the Communists to overthrow the U.S. government in The Manchurian Candidate (1962)?
On Monday, the New York Times reported that Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is under investigation in Ukraine for his role in advising the corrupt pro-Russian government of former President Viktor F. Yanukovych. Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief:
[G]overnment investigators examining secret records have found his name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort’s main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych.
Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.
In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies that helped members of Mr. Yanukovych’s inner circle finance their lavish lifestyles, including a palatial presidential residence with a private zoo, golf course and tennis court. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.
Mr. Manafort’s involvement with moneyed interests in Russia and Ukraine had previously come to light. But as American relationships there become a rising issue in the presidential campaign — from Mr. Trump’s favorable statements about Mr. Putin and his annexation of Crimea to the suspected Russian hacking of Democrats’ emails — an examination of Mr. Manafort’s activities offers new details of how he mixed politics and business out of public view and benefited from powerful interests now under scrutiny by the new government in Kiev.
The Washington Post today adds its own reporting, Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort named in Ukraine anti-corruption probe:
Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has been named in a corruption investigation in Ukraine, where officials are trying to track illegal payments from a pro-Russian political party that once hired the Washington-based political consultant.
More than $12 million in undisclosed cash payments were earmarked for Manafort by the party of Ukraine’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych, who fled Ukraine for Moscow after being ousted in 2014, according to a statement released Monday by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.
Manafort denied receiving any improper payments, saying in a prepared statement Monday that he has “never received a single ‘off-the-books’ cash payment.”
“The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical,” Manafort said, adding that he never worked for the governments of Ukraine or Russia and that he stopped working in Ukraine after the October 2014 elections there.
This is eerily similar to Manafort’s denials of Melania Trump’s plagiarism of a Michelle Obama speech, and his denial that Trump aids played a role in changes to the GOP platform regarding Ukraine. Both denials were later proved to be false. His tactic is to categorically deny everything and dismiss it as nonsense.
Manafort’s role in the Ukraine inquiry, first reported by the New York Times, serves as a reminder that Trump, who has faced bipartisan criticism for unusually friendly views toward Russia and has sought real estate deals there, has relied on advisers with personal and financial ties to Moscow and the former Soviet Union.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a former military officer whom Trump briefly considered naming as a running mate, was paid to give a speech and attend a lavish party with Russian President Vladimir Putin honoring the Kremlin-funded media company, RT Television. Another foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, has said he holds stock in Gazprom, the Russian energy firm, whose stock price has stumbled since the imposition of U.S. sanctions following the Russian invasion of Crimea.
Manafort’s Ukraine connections drew scrutiny during last month’s Republican convention, when the party platform committee weakened language that would have called for U.S. military support of Ukraine.
Martin Longman has a background piece on Paul Manafort at the Political Animal blog. Paul Manafort, Vladimir Putin, and the Southern Strategy:
Paul Manafort grew up in New Britain, Connecticut where his father served as mayor. Later on, he moved to Washington D.C. where he got undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown in the early 1970s. He’s not a child of the South. Jim Crow was never a way of life for him, and that makes him different from his old partners Lee Atwater and Charlie Black. I mean, I fundamentally disagree with the politics of the Southern Strategy but I can at least understand why some (white) people raised in the South would want the South to preserve its heritage and expand its political influence. The southern takeover of the Republican Party was a triumph for those folks, and if it involved some cynical and even hateful means, at least I can understand the ends. But what excuse does a Connecticut Yankee have for this behavior:
Since the 1980s, Manafort’s business partners have included Charles Black, who helped launch the Senate career of outspoken segregationist Jessie Helms, and Lee Atwater, who was behind the infamously racist Willie Horton ads run by the George H. W. Bush campaign.
And it was Manafort who arranged for Ronald Reagan to kick off his post-convention presidential campaign at the Neshoba County Fair just outside of Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three young civil rights workers were brutally murdered in 1964. In his relatively short speech, Reagan declared, “I believe in state’s rights…And I believe that we’ve distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the constitution to that federal establishment. And if I do get the job I’m looking for, I’m going to devote myself to trying to reorder those priorities and to restore to the states and local communities those functions which properly belong there.”
To the all-white audience at the Neshoba County Fair, still simmering about a host of federal civil rights interventions, the location of the speech and the language of “states’ rights” sent an unmistakable message about restoring an imbalance of power in their favor.
Why would Manafort even want to get in bed with the rageoholics at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Mississippi? Why would he want to empower them?
It’s this mercenary value system that explains why Manafort has made a career out of advising monstrous dictators and conscienceless oligarchs. Manipulating people’s anger and insecurities into fear and rage has been his trademark for his entire career, which is why he could not care less about Trump’s negative influence on the body politic or his incitements to violence.
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I don’t know how anyone can not be suspicious that Manafort might have something to do with the way pilfered Democratic Party emails and text messages are being selectively released to do damage to Hillary Clinton for the benefit of Manafort’s newest client. The consensus among analysts and the intelligence agencies that Putin’s Russia is behind the hacking is very high, and obviously Trump believes it himself since he asked Russia to do more of it.
In any case, Manafort has been partnered up with folks like Charlie Black, Lee Atwater, and Roger Stone (the most notorious political ratf*ker of all time) for more than thirty years.
UPDATE: The New York Times reports that former FAUX News CEO Roger Ailes is now an adviser to Donald J. Trump as well. Ailes was previously a political adviser to President Richard Nixon, and part of the GOP ratfucker team.
These guys will have their own wing in the Southern Strategy Hall of Fame in Hell.
The number of people who know this history and can connect the dots is small, but that doesn’t mean that the message and the values of these racial villains has gone unnoticed.
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I’d like to point out that many of us were calling out the “White Hands” and Willie Horton and Southern Strategy stuff as morally reprehensible back when it was mainstream and standard Republican operating procedure. Trump isn’t really an outlier so much as a candidate for a time that is now in the rearview mirror. What’s different this time is that it’s not being done to empower the South or even to assist business in rolling back the regulatory state. It’s being done for no reason at all except to help Donald Trump.
And, as you can see by the alarmed response of the Republican Establishment, they have no interest in using a torn and frayed playbook to further the ambition of Donald Trump. Things would be different if it would work and if the prize were something worth having. I know this, because everyone was fine with it when another Connecticut Yankee, George H.W. Bush, used it to win power for himself and his allies. But that’s the thing.
Poppy Bush went along with empowering the South and allowing a conservative takeover of his party, but he also had real allies who benefited in the bargain.
If Trump has any allies at all, they’re his kids. And, if I were them, I wouldn’t even count on that.
“The Briefing” has been doing a fantastic job of putting together ads and videos for the Clinton campaign. The latest ad covers all the questions that have been raised about Trump’s ties to Vladimir Putin. What is Donald Trump’s connection to Vladimir Putin? | The Briefing.
David Atkins at the Political Animal blog asks the pertinent question the media has largely ignored, up until now. Just How Deep Do Trump and Manafort’s Putin Underworld Ties Go?:
How much does Trump and his team need to do before we start asking serious questions about whether they’re a Manchurian Candidate campaign actively working on behalf of a foreign nation? Trump’s campaign manager is deep in with Putin cronies, the Putin regime is very likely behind the hacking on Democratic organizations to benefit Trump, his campaign worked to soften anti-Putin and anti-Russia language in the GOP platform, and his finances and investments are enmeshed with Russian cronies–which may be a key reason why he refuses to release his tax returns.
Can you imagine what Fox News and Rush Limbaugh would be saying if these things were true of a Democratic candidate for president? They would be openly demanding a trial for treason and using “Rosenberg” as a nickname.
It’s astonishing what the Republican Party has been reduced to, and just how unprecedented this campaign has become.
UPDATE: The AP reported on Wednesday that Paul Manafort helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy. AP Sources: Manafort tied to undisclosed foreign lobbying. If accurate, this should raise questions about why Paul Manafort has any kind of role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.