In part V we saw how Donald Trump’s poor judgment and lack of “give a shit” attitude, his branding and monetization of everything he touches is a direct cause of most problems besetting his administration. Scandal, ethics reviews, Senate inquiry and counter-intelligence investigations have plagued this recently installed White House. Most of the problems are Trump’s fault. Donald cares little about who he associates with, as long as they kiss the ring, rub his ego and equate everything to money.
Roger Stone, a disgusting creep, who is a self-described lobbyist, political consultant and “Republican operative” got together with Trump and they decided that Paul Manafort would make a great campaign chairman. OMG. This is the same guy who was making millions of dollars working against American interests in Crimea and the Ukraine. And between these two guys the only name they could come up with was Paul Manafort to chair the Trump campaign? That limiting of potential candidates for the job is mind bending, unless that already known relationship between Manafort and the Kremlin was considered a positive and defining qualification.
Once installed at Trump’s right arm, Manafort just two weeks before Trump was nominated as the Republican nominee for the president of the United States, he offered to “provide briefings” on the presidential race, through a European intermediary, to Russian oligarch and billionaire Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska is a known confidant of Vladimir Putin and because of his connections to organized crime has not been allowed to travel in the United States.
On July 7, 2016 Manafort wrote to his intermediary, “If he (Deripaska) needs private briefings we can accommodate.”
That quote came from an email that is part of thousands of documents turned over to investigators probing into allegations that the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russian operative to win the presidential election. At this point, there is no evidence that any such meetings ever took place. A spokesman for Deripaska dismissed the email exchange as, “consultants in the notorious beltway bandit industry.”
Anonymous sources told the Washington Post Wednesday that investigators theorize that the email thread “reflect Manafort’s willingness to profit from his prominent role along side Trump creating a potential opening for Russian interests at the highest levels of a US presidential campaign.”
Interestingly, many of the emails between an employee (Kilimnik) of the Manafort consulting firm and Manafort himself seemed to focus on millions of dollars that Manafort believed was owed to him by Ukrainian clients. Jason Moloni a Manafort spokesman said, “it was an innocuous effort to collect past debts.”
The emails are a tantalizing glimpse of the Russian connections to Manafort while he acted as Campaign Chairman for the Trump election campaign. In May 2016, many insiders were promoting a visit by Trump to Moscow, a suggestion that Manafort quickly rejected.
In August of 2017, a year after his firing from the campaign, Manafort had his house raided under a “knockless search warrant”. Boxes of evidence were taken from the Manafort residence during the raid, and some of that evidence is beginning to surface in public reports. Investigators apparently told Manafort during that raid that he was going to be indicted on criminal charges.
According to everyone involved, Russian aluminum billionaire Deripaska and Manafort had a business relationship in which Manafort was paid as an “investment consultant.” Many believe that Manafort’s “consultation” work included actively supporting Russian interests in Crimea and Ukraine and operating a campaign to undermine the independence in the former Russian satellites in direct opposition to United States interests.
In 2014 Deripaska sued Manafort in the Cayman Islands, claiming that Manafort had taken 19 million to “invest” and had not returned the money or shown any investment. That lawsuit is still moving through the court system. The Deripaska lawsuit is just a small irritation, but Manafort has serious legal problems and it seems that Manafort and Trump are about to square off in a potentially dangerous war, for both parties.
So, was Manafort attempting to monetize his political placement in the Trump campaign? Nothing would surprise me. I don’t understand why Trump would be upset with that possibility. After all the president seems to monetize everything he comes in contact with.
Another of the Trump inner circle for a while, at least, was retired Army General Mike Flynn. Here is another person that many advisors, and even an ex-president warned Trump to stay away from, but we know Trump would never follow such sage advice. As we now know, Trump has three primary motivators, money, money and more money. I guess I left out ego massage. So, regarding Flynn, my question would be, ‘what money was he bringing to Trump?’ That question is yet unanswered, however we do know that Flynn was making some serious money, probably peddling his ‘relationship’ to the president-elect of the United States.
Emerging information indicates that in addition to undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador, and Russian bankers linked to the Kremlin, Flynn was also actively promoting “a private sector scheme to build dozens of nuclear reactors across the Middle East.” He was in fact acting as a consultant and promoter of a pay for play deal. Politico headlined the story, “Flynn backed a for-profit nuclear scheme inside the Trump transition.” It is now known that Flynn was paid at least $25,000 to promote the plan. He told anyone that would listen that his “New Marshall Plan was a way to strength ties between Arabs and the United States.”
Such recent disclosures “underscore the way Flynn seemed to co-mingle his private consulting work prior to the election and his semi-official duties afterward–something that has drawn legal scrutiny and created political headaches for a Trump White House that granted him access to our country’s deepest secrets,” pointed out David Corn in a recent Mother Jones article.
Congressional investigators and Special Counsel Mueller are looking into Flynn’s activities as part of the Russian election meddling. Flynn’s behavior during the transition may have overlapped with undisclosed business dealings that involved trips and meetings with foreign nationals. Flynn’s plan to build a string of nuclear power plants across the Arab world died a swift death with Flynn’s departure from the White House.
Over multiple episodes in this series of posts several distinct patterns have emerged, none of them complimentary to the president. On January 11, Donald Trump the president-elect of the United States appeared on stage dressed in blue wool suit, white shirt, red silk tie and the mandatory American flag pinned to his lapel. This was his first press conference since his Electoral College win. The purpose of the press conference was meant to “address the subject of his business interests and conflicts, which has become-along with the questions about Russian involvement in the election-a primary controversy for Trump” stated Suzanna Andrews in a Vanity Fair article earlier this year.
In Part VII, the last installment of Behind The Curtain, Calamity Politics will take you to the most recent political headlines and point to a darkness that I have never felt before.
Calamity Politics is a progressive political log. Our intention is to illuminate the activities of our federal government and encourage political resistance. Hopefully we present relevant and engaging commentary on issues of the day with a progressive agenda clearly spelled out.
Join the Resistance
**Special thanks to Politico, Washington Post, New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Mother Jones for providing the names, dates and facts for this story.**