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March 29, 2022
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While writing about the Hunter Biden laptop story, we still had the same nagging question: How did Paul Manafort, with all his heavy Ukraine-lobbying baggage, get to chair Donald Trump’s campaign in the first place? So we started looking.

Oddly, when we did a Yahoo search on that question, the first link that came up was to an entity called Just Security, funded in part by Open Society Foundations. What? Thanks, but no thanks, Yahoo; George Soros isn’t exactly the person to tell us the truth about Manafort (or anything else). Don’t click the link unless you want to see billionaire Soros staring back at you with those lifeless eyes, no doubt from his Bond villain-style subterranean lair, complete with piranha tank. All he needs is a white Persian cat.

https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org

The next story Yahoo selected for us appeared more promising: an article in Time magazine from October 2017, just a few days after he’d been indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller. The article says that in mid-2016, “when his nomination seemed in peril, Trump turned to a longtime acquaintance, Paul Manafort, who owned a condo in Trump Tower and had a political pedigree that peaked in the 1970 and ‘80s, despite Manafort’s reputation for representing foreign autocrats.”

Not much information there, but the Time article at least asks the question we’re asking: “How did such a colorful political operative, known for his international clientele and larger-than-life reputation, wind up trading in the jet-setting pace for one more domestic political campaign?” They said they found Trump’s decision to hire him “confounding.”

The problem with this article, though, is that its sources can’t agree on why Trump thought hiring Manafort would be a good idea.

The piece summarizes three basic theories and offers some interesting background on Manafort’s relationships with other Trump associates such as Roger Stone.

https://time.com/5003298/paul-manafort-indictment-donald-trump/

We also learn how Manafort and his baggage quickly became problematic and led to infighting. Too much of the campaign became about him.. Trump said “You’re fired!” on August 19, 2016. Manafort had chaired the campaign for only three months.

But as Columbo would say, “There’s something about this that bothers me...” The presence in Trump’s campaign of Manafort, with his previous work for a couple of pro-Russia political parties in Ukraine, seems all too convenient for those working so hard to falsely tar Trump as an ally of Putin. Is there more to this story than we have heard in the media?

Fortunately, we found a mother lode of information about Manafort, his dealings in Ukraine, and how they relate to what happened later with the Trump campaign and special counsel. It’s Andrew C. McCarthy’s book BALL OF COLLUSION, specifically Chapter 3. Read this chapter, and you’ll be taken on a guided tour of the Washington DC and Ukraine swamps, going back decades. And it’s swampier and murkier than you ever imagined, populated with Russians and Ukrainians, Republicans and Democrats.

In “An Old Story: Beltway Consultants as Agents of the Kremlin,” McCarthy explains that when the Soviet Union disintegrated at the end of 1991, “suddenly, a gravy train roared through the badlands of ‘gangster capitalism’...the spoils of a fallen empire that became available to the shrewdest and most ruthless bidders.” On one side were the oligarchs, who often came up from nothing in Soviet Russia through alliances with organized crime and corrupt government officials. On the other were the well-connected American lawyers and lobbyists who worked as political operatives.

This is the muck Manafort swam in, and I suppose there’s a certain skill in prospering there without ending up sleeping with the fishes in the Black Sea. As McCarthy puts it, “The guys with their snouts in the trough are the same guys who write and enforce the laws, the benefits accruing as they glide between the ‘public service’ and the private lobbying sides of the revolving door –- the door between political office and political consultancy, between law enforcement and law evasion.”

If you’re like me, when you read that sentence, you realize our own country can increasingly be described this way. We don’t have to go to Ukraine to encounter it –- it’s here.

In fact, you might be shocked at some of the names of Americans politicians and bureaucrats that turn up in this story: the venerable Bob Dole, John McCain (a lot), former FBI Director William Sessions, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller, Hillary (of course) and many more. I’ll quote one key paragraph: “Most Americans are not familiar with the fraught history and politics of Ukraine...the netherworld of Washington political lobbying for foreign interests –- especially for despots and Mafiosi-turned-magnates. When Hillary Clinton lost an election, and it came time for her progressive sympathizers and Republic anti-Trump agitators to pin her defeat on Russian espionage, it was easy to craft a narrative that painted Trump political consultants who’d worked for Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs as Putin’s puppets. All that was necessary was for the rest of us to forget the last quarter-century, to develop amnesia about Washington’s projection of post-Soviet Russia as a political and business partner, an effort that Mrs. Clinton herself had been in up to her neck...”

And though Manafort seems like a villain right out of Central Casting, McCarthy explains that in his role as a consultant he was toeing a line, constantly playing one sordid side against the other, and even playing Europe against Moscow. It was a balancing act. Claiming that Manafort was “Putin’s puppet” is revisionist history.

Read this chapter, and you’ll see how ridiculous it was to malign Manafort as an agent of Russia. Influence peddling is not the same thing as collusion. What he was doing as a consultant was the norm --- it was "unsavory but legal."

The various personalities in Manafort’s world are too numerous to mention here –- encompassing many of the people involved with the “dossier” –- but it’s not necessary to keep track of them all. There were Republican consultants, Obama consultants and Clinton consultants. In McCarthy’s words, “The Ukrainian politician is navigating a minefield of power centers, amid rampant corruption and organized crime.”

So in the end, given the pervasiveness of The Swamp, I guess it’s not so strange after all that someone with these shady connections ended up heading a presidential campaign –- Trump’s or anyone else’s –- though it sure came in handy for Trump’s enemies when they were looking for anything to attack. Keep in mind, too, that those from the most prestigious firms would not work for Trump. Heck, I’ll bet some would work for a corrupt Russian oligarch before they’d work for Donald Trump!

So he might not have had much to choose from. Remember how hard it was for him to find attorneys when he was impeached? Law firms that might've agreed to represent him were threatened and ostracized. We’ll keep looking for more on this story, but for now, this seems to be an explanation that actually makes sense. It could just be that Manafort was super-aggressive, had handled many campaigns, would actually take the job, and, hey, had a condo right there in Trump Tower. Where the FBI probably spied on him.

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Comments 1-10 of 17

  • Shirley Federick

    04/25/2022 11:16 AM

    Thank you for you column. At least I get truth from it. I quit reading the liberal new sites or watching their tv news. I am a child of the Most High. God bless you and your family.

  • Robert Overstreet

    04/25/2022 08:43 AM

    Considering all the corruption in Ukraine, why are Democrats & Republicans so quick to commit billions of US taxpayer $ to extend the Ukraine conflict. This looks like a fight between the Crips and Bloods gangs and we decided to back the crips!

  • tom jeffs

    04/25/2022 08:12 AM

    LEAVE ME A COMMENT, I READ THEM!

    do you agree that Section 230 should be for one and all UNTIL the judiciary formally determines a user to be a monopoly at which time that user immediately loses Section 230 protection ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    my bona fides include that I was 1 of 4 'regulars' to the Huckabee Show in NYC according to your audience producer Jennifer Lynn Ruth Rhule; you might even remember me as we had many rope line discussions; think moustache + muttonchops in NYC - - - - - - -

    I'm also a veteran of Israel Experience 2012 that David might even remember as he stayed with me as I fell behind many times due to my physical limitations that made me fall behind during that trip - - - - - - -

    finally, I'm the guy who donated all those red Huckabee45 polo shirts your family wore in Iowa when you were the candidate you now proudly talk about in the relaxium ads - - - - - - -

    if it's true you do read comments MIke then I'll look forward to seeing your reply to my comments, search my name in your database to see 'em all - - - - - - -

    and keep smiling Mike - - - - - - -

  • David Sabgir

    04/24/2022 11:00 PM

    Mike,
    At this point, you are just about the only one, I regularly follow, as I slowly pack for Boca Raton, Florida.
    Which reminds me of a balmy Spring night, when I engaged a gentleman in a light conversation as we were going to our respective vehicles in an upscale shopping area on Powerline Road.
    Turns out, this nondescript gentleman's niece was at that time, the managing attorney for the Mueller Team (I look ked them up,call Hillary supporters. He told me that his Niece indicated to him, with a wink, that Trump would be gone by the end of the year (2018?)

    I was an Administrative Judge etc for years and was disbarred through a criminal conspiracy organized by the Party that controls New York. The GrievanceTrial Judge (Referee) invented an appearing witness and the Appellate Judges showed no interest in the Absolute evidence of Judicial fraud and corruption and criminal conspiracy. The only complaining witness, admitted to his own community Rabbinical Court, that he was never, not for a single second, my law client, and that he was bribed by the prosecutor to commit perjury. After many years, the Rabbinical Court told me that the corrupt prosecutor threatened them with jail if they helped me. As the father of eight, whose life and family were destroyed, you can better understand why leaving New York is a Godsend.
    Nothing similar to what I have written on one toe, has never been reported in US history and I was advided by a Commonwealth judge, not in the history of the British Commonwealth. My main involvement with the corrupt complainant was that I purchased two frozen kosher chickens for Sabbath. According to the chief Rabbi for the Supervisory service of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, that corrupt rabbi
    stole the chickens from his employer!
    Please don't cry.

  • Dawna McElwain

    04/24/2022 10:10 PM

    We love to watch everything you have and this is just great reading. I read it to my husband because he has mobility problems. Thank You for real news and the laughs God Bless You.

  • joan t matthews

    04/11/2022 07:26 PM

    Yikes, I copied the daily mail link in the Hunter Biden story to share with others.
    Guess shat- it wasn't the words in a line as on your message -- It's photos!!
    OMG, the one of Hunter pulling hair + 2 others - that's what the 'message link' was !! Yikes.

  • tom jeffs

    04/11/2022 08:13 AM

    LEAVE ME A COMMENT, I READ THEM!

    I know you don't read our comments any more Mike ever since you created that new website 'Huckabee.tv' and also grew that beard - - - - - - -

    can you PLEASE ask pundits to replace 'human trafficking' which elicits crickets as it sails over the heads of us everyday people with words that will explain the true situation like 'SEX SLAVES' in all its various forms ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    my bona fides remain that I was 1 of 4 'regulars' of the Huckabee Show as per the audience producer Jennifer Lynn Ruth Rhule who you might remember (you OFTEN talked with me in the rope line for that show - think moustache with muttonchops in NYC) - - - - - - -

    I was also a veteran of Israel Experience 2012 whom David might remember since my mobility issues kept the two of us together often - - - - - - -

    finally, I'm the guy who donated all those red Huckabee45 polo shirts you guys all word in Iowa when you were a candidate, something of which you often remind us in your new relaxium ads - - - - - - -

  • Jo Gonzalez

    04/10/2022 10:49 PM

    As for Hunter, and his career, do you honestly think under "this" Justice System currently, that anything will come of this Crime Family?

  • Diana Baldwin

    04/10/2022 08:39 PM

    Mr. Huckabee good evening sir!
    Why don’t you just ask Donald Trump why he or his people hired Manafort?
    Thank you,
    Diana Baldwin

  • Carol Black

    04/10/2022 05:09 PM

    Why is gov abbot’s sending illegals to Washington, D.C., kidnapping & Biden sending illegals to various cities not kidnapping?