Paul Manafort, Trump’s short-lived former campaign manager, is increasingly embroiled in the Russia scandal, and now it appears that the Trump campaign’s repeated cries of “But her emails!” were more hypocritical than we all thought. Manafort, it seems, is guilty of using his official campaign email to talk to a Ukrainian operative. We’ve known for awhile that Manafort worked with and supported pro-Russian actors there.
But more than that, he was talking to a Ukrainian political operative with possible ties to Russia via his official campaign email. The operative, Konstantin Kilimnik, is under scrutiny from both the FBI and the Department of State even though he claims he doesn’t have any ties to Russia. When Manafort spoke with him, he was pretty clear about the influence he had over the Trump campaign. Of course, Manafort’s spokesperson is saying that he was owed legitimate money for legitimate work done in Ukraine, and that the email exchanges are completely innocent.
On its face, that is ridiculous. If they were completely innocent, then Manafort could have, and should have, used his own email. As a businessman, that really should have occurred to him. Also, there would be no reason for him to talk about his influence over Trump and his campaign if this whole thing was totally innocent. One can email someone to say, “Hey, you owe me money for this work,” without giving details about unrelated things (like a presidential campaign).
Furthermore, some of his emails show that he was trying to give campaign briefings to a Russian billionaire with ties to the Kremlin.
All of this has been going on while Trump continues to whine all over Twitter that the Russia scandal is a “hoax,” and demanding to know why nobody talks about the totally biased and unfair coverage the media gave to Hillary.
This is a serious misuse of official email from a presidential campaign. The whole time, Trump cried about Hillary’s emails, up to and including calling on Russia to hack us and find the alleged 33,000 missing emails. Congressional investigators now have Manafort’s emails, along with many other things linking the Trump campaign to Russia.
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