“Is Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, really a Russian agent?” sounds like something straight out of the McCarthy era, until you realize that he probably actually is a Russian agent. On Monday, the New York Times published the results of their investigation into Manafort’s decade-long career in Ukrainian politics. While it is unclear if Manafort is still on the payroll of pro-Russian leaders, the report reveals that he (as a man who has a lengthy history of helping dictators and other awful people repair their reputations) is the right man for the job of running Trump’s campaign.
Manafort even represented former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych (a pro-Russian dictator with ties to Trump’s BFF Vladimir Putin). The Times notes:
President Viktor F. Yanukovych, who owed his election to, as an American diplomat put it, an “extreme makeover” Mr. Manafort oversaw, bolted the country in the face of violent street protests. He found sanctuary in Russia and never returned, as his patron, President Vladimir V. Putin, proceeded to dismember Ukraine, annexing Crimea and fomenting a war in two other provinces that continues.Mr. Manafort was undaunted.
Within months of his client’s political demise, he went to work seeking to bring his disgraced party back to power, much as he had Mr. Yanukovych himself nearly a decade earlier. Mr. Manafort has already had some success, with former Yanukovych loyalists — and some Communists — forming a new bloc opposing Ukraine’s struggling pro-Western government.
“Until he joined Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign this year, Mr. Manafort’s work in Ukraine had been his most significant political campaign in recent years,” the Times reports, noting that it is “not clear that Mr. Manafort’s work in Ukraine ended with his work with Mr. Trump’s campaign.” Asked if Trump’s campaign manager was still on retainer, one of his “clients” refused to provide a simple “yes” or “no” answer, or to say how much Manafort had been paid.
This s interesting, given Trump’s decision to basically repeat Putin’s stance on the Ukraine recently — and, of course, the Russian hack of the DNC and Clinton campaign and Trump’s promise that Russia would be greatly rewarded if they were to execute more hacks targeting his main political rival, Hillary Clinton. Even more interesting is Trump’s insistence that anti-Russia language in the GOP platform be greatly softened (the one demand he made during platform discussions).
Basically, this might explain why Trump has spent much of his campaign since bringing Manafort on board sucking Putin’s d*ck, figuratively and possibly literally.
While the Times report does not definitively prove that Trump’s campaign manager is an agent of a foreign power, it would absolutely explain a lot.
Featured image via Salon