Good morning! Here are the top stories from this week that I think you will want to read. Topics include:
- A note on the Oscars
- Hillary: It's not jail, but a baby step in the right direction
- Maryland’s crazy, horrific, genocidal, Senate Bill 669
- Power is slipping away from Democrats and they know it
- The deeper significance of Hunter Biden laptop story, Part 3
- Pain from Ukraine: Manafort as Trump's campaign chair
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A note on the Oscars
By “Huckabee” pop culture guru Pat Reeder (http://www.hollywoodhifi.com)
Since I’m the resident showbiz historian, trivia expert and movie lover, it would normally fall to me to report on last night’s Oscarcast. But I didn’t watch it. And if I didn’t watch it, I can’t imagine who did.
Oh, I took a stab at it. But I only lasted until the end of the three-way monologue in which Regina Bell, Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer did lines about how sexist and racist Hollywood is (gee, it must be run by Republicans! Oh, wait...) and took a gratuitous swipe at Mitch McConnell (yeah, that’s who Americans are riled up at as they put their mortgage payments into their gas tanks – way to read the audience, ladies.) They ended by taunting viewers in Florida and chanting, “Gay, gay, gay,” proving that they not only didn’t understand what the NOT-“Don’t Say Gay” bill is, they also didn’t care if one of our most populous states immediately tuned out. Heck, I’m in Texas, and that’s the point where I switched to the “Hometown” marathon on HGTV.
By the way, were I writing their material, I wouldn’t be so eager to embrace the sexualizing of young children. Do you really want to remind the audience of what a hotbed of pedophilia Hollywood is? Or make us think about the former king of the Oscars, Harvey Weinstein, who’s currently doing a 23-year prison sentence for rape and facing additional charges? Since the holier-than-thou stars already seem to have forgotten about all that pesky MeToo business, here’s a reminder of it from Kyle Smith in 2018:
I caught up with the rest of the show later through reviews and clips, and it’s obvious that as with most of this year’s movies, I didn’t miss anything worth seeing. The only major nominees I saw were “Lucy and Desi” (I liked them; didn’t like the movie) and “Nightmare Alley,” because my wife Laura is a film noir fan. It was a remake of someone else’s original that was lavishly produced, only gorier, more lurid, not as well written and 40 minutes longer than the original. So pretty much the standard Hollywood product these days. That’s why most of the movies I saw in theaters in the past year were TCM revivals.
There were all the expected genuflections to current liberal political obsessions like trans people; plus the usual dumb production decisions, like replacing the tech awards with an idiotic Twitter poll, having “who the heck is that?” presenters instead of actual movie stars, and showing disrespect for the “In Memoriam” honorees by turning it into a production number. If they were going to set it to music, why not “Take Me When I’m Gone to Forest Lawn”?
But then the whole thing went permanently off the rails when Will Smith reacted to Chris Rock’s joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith by charging out of the audience and slapping Rock while twice yelling, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f---ing mouth!” That was bleeped on American TV, but went out over foreign broadcasts and is all over the Internet.
Instead of being arrested (and where was security, by the way?), Smith went back to his seat and was later rewarded with a Best Actor Oscar. He used his speech to cry, defend the assault as protecting his family, and apologize to the Academy (but not the guy he punched.) Several commentators noted that if it had been anyone else, he would have at least been removed if not arrested (and if he were white, charged with a hate crime), but certainly not rewarded and given an uninterrupted TV platform.
Incidentally, far funnier than Rock’s joke was a CNN commentator’s attempt to blame Smith’s assault on – you guessed it -- Donald Trump.
Now, you might argue that Rock’s joke was tasteless or cruel (and it was), and Smith was being gallant in defending his wife. But it’s hard to claim that this is the most glamorous, sophisticated night of the year when the most memorable moment was a star having a meltdown and assaulting a comedian for telling a joke he didn’t like while shouting the F-word twice. It made a WWE Smackdown look sophisticated. And these people dare lecture the rest of us on how we’re supposed to behave because WE’RE not tolerant enough?
FYI: Please don’t claim that Will Smith is the exception. Here’s a story about Sally “The Flying Nun” Field threatening to physically assault Govs. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott (who’s in a wheelchair, by the way) because she disagrees with their views on unfettered abortion and sexualizing kindergartens.
There’s a famous book called “Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten.” Judging from this year’s Oscars, today’s celebrities act as if they’re still in kindergarten, and the only things they’ve learned there so far are sex lessons and gender politics.
Hillary: It's not jail, but a baby step in the right direction
Hillary’s campaign and the DNC broke the law. Of course, we knew that, but now it’s official.
Surprise –- the Federal Election Commission has actually been looking into the payments they made to law firm Perkins Coie to hide the funding of the Steele “dossier,” which played the central role in the whole “Russia Hoax” during and after the 2016 campaign. The Washington Examiner broke the story on Wednesday.
The Hillary campaign and the DNC did not admit to lying but essentially pleaded no contest.
As Nick Arama at RedState says of the “dossier” plot, “There probably has not been anything in history that has been so wrong and so damaging to the country against a political opponent.”
If you’re surprised that the FEC was daring to investigate anything having to do with HILLARY CLINTON, we were, too. Apparently, it took some doing to get this investigation off the ground. The Coolidge Reagan Foundation, self-described as “a First Amendment watchdog group,” filed a complaint in April of 2018, and I’m sure both Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan would be very proud of them for doing so. In our own digging, we found that the Foundation must have had trouble getting the FEC to act on their original complaint, so they filed suit, asking the court to declare that “the FEC’s failure to act on its administrative complaint is arbitrary, capricious, contrary to law, or an abuse of discretion and to compel the Commission to take action on its complaint.” Thank goodness the complainant persevered –- if they hadn’t made a stink, the FEC would’ve blithely let it drop.
In August of 2019, the Foundation filed a Notice of Dismissal without Prejudice, which I assume means the “capricious” FEC finally, grudgingly responded and opened their investigation. And now, the FEC has notified them by letter of their findings, though these won’t be published for another month.
Here’s a copy of the email letter that was sent by the FEC to Dan Backer at the Coolidge Reagan Foundation. You’ll see that the FEC, along with citing Hillary for America and DNC treasurer Virginia McGregor, did dismiss some other allegations that had been made against Christopher Steele, Marc Elias, Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS; we’ll have to look into what those statutes are. I imagine the FEC doesn’t want to touch those and has left that part of it to the special counsel. The FEC closed their case a few days ago, on March 25, and you know they had to be relieved to dispense with it.
As it turns out, the rules for describing payments/expenditures are very strict, and Hillary’s campaign and the DNC violated those rules when they slyly funneled payments to Fusion GPS through Perkins Coie. We knew they had transferred about a million dollars to Fusion GPS to pay for the “dossier,” but now we have an exact amount, to the penny: $1,024,407.97, which includes $849, 407.97 from the DNC and $175,000 from the Clinton campaign. (Did you know that out of the funds paid to Fusion GPS, Steele was paid only $168,000?) Instead of calling this what it was, “opposition research,” they falsely called it “legal services.” As grossly unethical as their actions were in creating that fake piece of garbage and hawking it to the FBI and the media, the legality or illegality of what they were doing, as far as the FEC was concerned, apparently came down to this one technical distinction.
“Opposition research,” the term that would've technically been legal, is quite a cleaned-up name for what this little “dossier” project was. In another example of laughable understatement, the FEC delicately said the DNC and Hillary campaign “misreported the purpose of certain disbursements.”
Chuck Ross at the Washington Free Beacon reported this story by saying the FEC had fined them for “secretly funding opposition research.” I think it’s important to make the distinction that they weren’t fining them for the research itself, as unethical as that was, but just for the “secretly” part. They didn’t report it right!
The Coolidge Reagan Foundation had wanted the findings of wrongdoing to go further, saying, “The fact that Hillary For America and the DNC procured something ‘of value’ from a foreign national --- provided by the Kremlin --- while failing to publicly acknowledge their relationship with Perkins Coie, amounts to false reporting in unprecedented fashion.” But the FEC chose not to go there, leaving it for John Durham’s special counsel to address.
As you might expect, President Trump has released a statement about this striking bit of news: “This was done, as I have stated many times, and is now confirmed, a hoax funded by the DNC and the Clinton Campaign. This corruption is only beginning to be revealed, is un-American, and must never be allowed to happen again. Where do I go to get my reputation back?”
The fines levied are a slap on the wrist: $105,000 for the DNC and just $8,000 for Hillary For America. (The amounts probably have to do with the size of the checks each wrote to Perkins Coie.) But the size of the fines is not the point. It has been officially determined that what they did was illegal.
That’s huge because it will likely have a bearing on other investigations and lawsuits in the works. Besides the special counsel investigation into the Russia Hoax, there’s also Trump’s sweeping lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, the DNC and many others, under the RICO Act, filed in federal court in Florida just a week ago. It sure doesn’t hurt his case to have this determination that Hillary and the DNC broke the law.
Dan Backer deserves a huge pat on the back for his refusal to go away and his enormously significant win. We appreciate what he had to say: “Hillary Clinton and her cronies willfully engaged in the greatest political fraud in history --- destroying our nation’s faith in the electoral process, and it’s high time they were held accountable. I hope this is only the beginning.”
As for Hillary, she just can’t stop with the hoaxing. Long after the Russia Hoax has been shown to be, well, a hoax...she's trying to keep it alive. (It must be noted that Trump made it easier for her and her friends in the media to maintain her lie with his unfortunate suggestion that Putin offer up dirt on the Bidens. Has he learned nothing?) On the very day her campaign was fined, Hillary deflected by tweeting: “As Putin bombs civilians in Ukraine and the world condemns him as a war criminal, Trump is...once again asking him for help besting his political opponents.”
Hillary, the law is not done with you.
Maryland’s crazy, horrific, genocidal, Senate Bill 669
Maryland is one of our bluest states (largely because so many people who get rich off of government live there.) Republicans can’t stop any crazy bill the Democrats want to enact. But as Mark Tapscott at PJ Media reports, Maryland Senate Bill 669 isn’t just crazy, it’s horrific, unconscionable and even genocidal.
Liberals fear the Supreme Court may soon overturn or limit Roe v. Wade, so blue states like California are already making moves to enshrine unfettered abortion into state law. But so far, nobody has taken it to such grisly extremes as Maryland. The new law would ban investigating or charging anyone for “experiencing a miscarriage, perinatal death related to failure to act, or stillbirth.” The “perinatal” period runs from shortly before birth to four weeks after.
That means if someone decides they don’t want their baby, they would have up to the time it’s four weeks old to let it die through neglect, and they couldn’t face charges. If someone even tried to investigate, the parents could sue. If you thought partial birth abortion was legalized murder, then this takes it even further. It is literally legalized killing of a baby up to four weeks old. And as Tapscott points out, it’s almost certain to pass over the Republican Governor’s veto.
Read the entire article, as upsetting as it is. It includes some valuable history on how, under ancient Roman law, a father had the right to kill his children. It was Christianity that ended that barbaric practice and made people see the intrinsic value of every child and the sacredness of every life. Liberals like to accuse those on the right of wanting to “turn back the clock,” but in their mindless hostility to Christianity and the sanctity of life, they’re the ones who are threatening to turn back the clock to the brutal era of 2,000 years ago.
Power is slipping away from Democrats and they know it
I’ve always thought that most Democratic policy ideas were wrongheaded, but only in recent years has the Party actually embraced and enacted the most wacked-out, rubber-room, lunatic fringe delusions of the far left. Now, incumbents are watching in despair as polls that they thought couldn’t possibly go even lower somehow set new world limbo records.
(That new NBC poll shows Biden’s approval is down to 40%, and approval of his handling of the economy has dropped below one-third to 32%. Again, I have to ask: who ARE those 32%?!)
Everything they’ve tried so far hasn’t worked: accusing anyone who opposes their insane agenda of being a hateful, sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic insurrectionist Nazi; blaming systemic racism for crime rates that are skyrocketing only in blue cities that have defunded the police and legalized crime; blaming greedy oil companies and an invasion Putin launched last month for gas prices that have been spiraling upward since the moment Biden took office last year; etc.
The politics of personal destruction and distraction just aren’t working any more. Voters practically got whiplash seeing how the switch from Republican policies to woke leftism crashed the country and destroyed their communities, schools and cities. They’re too smart to believe that America’s problems were caused by some bogeyman other than the failed leftist policies that clearly caused them, any more than they can be convinced that a muscle-bound six-foot hulk with male genitalia is a woman.
Democrats are now realizing that they are in the same position as Wile E. Coyote after he runs over a cliff and it takes him a moment to realize he’s about to plummet to the ground. He might try flapping his arms in a desperate attempt to fly, but it’s not going to work.
This is why we’re seeing panicked Democrats flail with “Hail Mary” plays like pressuring Biden to force their radical agenda on Americans with unconstitutional executive orders before they hit the electoral wall at 90 mph. Or the push to give Americans inflation-increasing “free money” to help cover rising costs due to the inflation they’re already causing. Or how about appealing to people’s envy by taxing billionaires? They’re unpopular, right?!
Then there’s the ridiculous call to impeach the only black SCOTUS Justice, Clarence Thomas, because they disagree with something his wife tweeted over a year ago. There are a lot more details, but it’s all so mind-numblingly stupid, I’ll just let legal scholar Jonathan Turley explain both what the Dems are caterwauling about this time and why, legally, it’s a giant load of bull leavings.
They sense that power is not just about to slip out of their hands, but voters are about to forcibly pry it from their hands and smash their fingers to ensure they never try to grab it again. In short, they are reaching peak desperation. Unfortunately, that means Republicans have to be careful and be prepared for anything, from unconstitutional power grabs in DC to attempts to change election laws or get their rivals taken off the ballot. As any hunter will tell you, an animal is most dangerous when it’s cornered.
The deeper significance of Hunter Biden laptop story, Part 3
Part 2 observed that many of the same people who originated the Russia Hoax also were involved in Trump’s impeachment over his (appropriate) phone call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. Paul Manafort, described as “ground zero for all manufactured Trump scandals,” was alleged to have dark dealings as a lobbyist in Ukraine, and we expressed curiosity as to how he, of all people, ended up as Trump’s campaign manager. George Soros, described as probably the most influential man in Ukraine, also ties into the story, through funding for an entity called the Democratic Integrity Project --- that name is so funny --- founded by Dianne Feinstein staffer and (yes) former FBI analyst Dan Jones, who gave Fusion GPS $3.3. million. Dan Jones brought in Hillary campaign chairman John Podesta, and their purported field of endeavor was –- egad –- to study how Russian intel operations were influencing elections.
Recall that during Trump’s impeachment, which would’ve been exposed as a joke if the existence of Hunter’s laptop had been revealed by the FBI, a parade of pro-Soros, pro-”Anti-Corruption” Action Center (AntAC) witnesses was brought in by committee chairman Adam Schiff. That’s about where we left off last week.
One quick update before we get into Part 3: Margot Cleveland has another great piece involving the laptop, this one analyzing the strategy behind the New York Times’ admission –- finally –- that it was real. First, she makes the point that if the laptop is real, that means the scandals are real, not “Russian disinformation” as was falsely maintained by so many, as calculated election interference. Like many, she also sees this admission as an attempt to “get ahead of the story” before it gets much worse. She outlines possible charges, some quite serious. Finally, she dissects the persuasive technique used by the NYT propagandists to downplay the seriousness and gain sympathy for Hunter. This last part, especially, is a must-read.
Back to Ukraine. As we said, when a new Ukrainian prosecutor tried to investigate Soros-funded AntAC, he met resistance from our own U.S. embassy staff. “We ran right into a buzz saw and we got bloodied,” is how one Ukrainian official put it. That buzz saw consisted of the Obama administration, the U.S. State Department, some in the FBI, and, of course, Soros and his Open Society Foundation.
John Solomon uncovered a memo dated around the time Manfort joined Trump’s campaign that contained a chart of people to BE investigated, including “some with ties to Manafort.” It’s thought that this refers to Ukrainian billionaire Dmitry Firtash, who was a business rival of Soros who had already been looked into on a civil charge of money laundering and cleared.
This was also the time when Glenn Simpson was doing oppo research on Trump and Manafort, and the DNC’s Alexandra Chalupa, from Ukraine, was bad-mouthing Manafort in America. She visited the Obama White House 27 times.
AntAC was the perfect vehicle for going after Manafort. But as Dan Bongino points out, if AntAC really had wanted to root out corruption in Ukraine, they might have taken a peek into Burisma’s showering of money on the American Vice President’s son. As Bongino puts it, “...when your benefactor is an enormous investor in the Democratic Party committing to spending millions to try and stop Trump, maybe that investigation isn’t very appealing.”
A Latvian investigative agency, the Office for Prevention of Laundering of Proceeds Derived from Criminal Activity, was actually trying to look into it, and they sent a memo to Ukrainian officials on February 18, 2016, notifying them that a transaction involving Hunter Biden and Burisma had been flagged.
Ukrainian officials failed to respond.
Later, when COVID hit, and hospitals and relief organizations needed all the help they could get, Soros gave $3 million –- not to help with THAT, but to Priorities USA Action, the Democrats’ Super PAC. It was earmarked specifically to fund a series of ads slamming Trump’s response to the virus. Soros had already just given them $2 million in January. Priorities indeed.
Bongino calls the Obama White House “an unofficial club for Ukraine obsessives.” There are other connections between AntAC (thus, Soros), the Obama White House and the FBI. Of these, Daria Kaleniuk, who now heads AntAC, met at the White House on December 9, 2015, with Eric Ciaramella, who would later come to fame as the anonymous “whistleblower” from Trump’s impeachment. At the time, he was a CIA employee working as a Ukraine (yes) specialist on the National Security Council. Later he was replaced in that position by Alexander Vindman, who also ended up testifying at Trump’s impeachment. Ciaramella had also worked with Joe Biden and John Brennan. It’s as I said: the same people just keep turning up again and again!
Since Ciaramella’s identity was kept secret during the impeachment, nothing was ever said about why he’d been moved out of the White House: he’d been accused of “leaking and working against Trump.” (Remember the huge concern with White House leaks during Trump’s early days in office?) That revelation would've done a lot to “impeach” this whistleblower.
As for the call from Trump to Zelenskyy that supposedly sparked the complaint, there was no wrongdoing in it at all. Certainly, no quid pro quo took place, because Zelenskyy got his military aid package and there was no investigation into Burisma and the Bidens, much as it was needed. Also, there was no cover-up, as Trump countered the false characterization of his call by releasing the full transcript himself. Of course, after that, Democrats continued to mischaracterize it and “mind-read” to cast his motives in the worst light they could, as they've always done with Trump about everything he's ever said or done.
Again, the laptop was central to the whole issue. It was evidence of the legitimate need to investigate the Bidens in Ukraine, and the FBI withheld it. Attorney General Bill Barr didn’t mention it, either, even after Biden lied about it, so the media were still able to present the false narrative that it was a Russian plot. Here’s the significance of Barr’s glaring omission.
Ciaramella filed a complaint about Trump’s phone call with Intel Community IG Michael Atkinson and also summarized it in unclassified letters to Intelligence Committee chairs Adam Schiff and Richard Burr. He claimed he had “received information from multiple government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”
It seems so strange to read those words now, as we know today that Hillary’s campaign is the one that did this very thing, through the solicitation of information for the Steele “dossier.” It was also pro-Hillary people in our State Department --- oh, and Joe Biden ---who tried to intimidate Ukrainian prosecutors who might have looked too closely at Hunter.
Bongino’s Chapter 8 in FOLLOW THE MONEY reveals even more connections and conflicts, some involving Adam Schiff and IG Atkinson, who defied a Justice Department order when he set events in motion to notify Schiff about the false whistleblower complaint. Highly recommended reading!
UPDATE: In very welcome breaking news, California Rep. Darrell Issa has announced that if (when!) Republicans take back the House this year, he will lead an investigation of the 2020 election-related suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.
The Epoch Times has a report --- it's "premium," but we'll have the full story coming up.
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Pain from Ukraine: Manafort as Trump's campaign chair
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.
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.
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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