Trump “Cares” about Corruption in Ukraine because It Ensures Paul Manafort Will Keep His Secrets

On August 2, 2016, Donald Trump’s campaign manager took a break from his campaign work for a secret meeting with his former employee, Konstantin Kilimnik. Kilimnik first pitched the meeting on 10:51AM on July 29 after meeting in person in Moscow with Viktor Yanukovych, explaining that, “It has to do about the future of [Yanukovych’s] country, and is quite interesting.” Paul Manafort accepted the meeting that same day, saying Tuesday was the best day for it. After Kilimnik returned to Ukraine on July 31, he told Manafort he needed two hours for the meeting and would arrive at JFK at 7:30 PM on August 2 for the meeting.

At the meeting, Manafort and Kilimnik discussed three things. First, they discussed a plan to make “peace” in Ukraine by creating an autonomous region in Donbas and getting Yanukovych “elected” to head it. Manafort later told Mueller’s team that he cut the meeting short before Kilimnik asked him to get Trump to come out for the peace plan, though Mueller’s team argued and Amy Berman Jackson agreed that Manafort was lying about what happened at the meeting.

After Rick Gates showed up (he came late), Manafort laid out for Kilimnik how the campaign planned to win Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.

Finally, Kilimnik told Manafort how he could get back on the gravy train of Oleg Deripaska and the Party of Regions. Specifically, Kilimnik explained what Manafort would have to do to get Ukrainian oligarchs Rinat Akhmetov and Serhiy Lyovochkin to pay him money that Manafort claimed they owed him from past work. Eight days later, on August 10, Manafort — who was badly underwater and working for Trump for “free” — would tell his accountant to book $2.4M in income from those oligarchs, to be paid in November.

This recognition of payment from Yanukovych’s allies just a week after meeting to talk about a way to help Yanukovych do Russia’s bidding is the only known instance of Ukraine interfering with people working directly for one of the candidates running for President. It is the only known instance of Ukrainian interference in 2016.

In early January, Manafort would meet with a senior Deripaska associate in a meeting set up by another Deripaska associate sanctioned along with a bunch of GRU officers to “recreat[e] old friendship” between Deripaska and Manafort.

Shortly thereafter (possibly the day he returned, on January 12), Manafort reportedly told Reince Priebus to undercut claims that Trump had close ties to Russia by debunking the Steele dossier, a strategy that — because the dossier turned out to be largely shit and possible disinformation — turned out to be wildly successful. As the DOJ IG Report describes in new detail, Christopher Steele had been working for Deripaska in an effort to help the oligarch settle his score with Manafort during the period he was working on the dossier.

From that point forward, Manafort would continue to pursue a “peace” plan in Ukraine that would give Russia what it wanted up until shortly before he was jailed in June 2018.

These are the events that about which Paul Manafort lied to prevent Mueller from fully understanding. To give Manafort an incentive to lie, John Dowd started telling him he would be “taken care of” in early 2018. Then, around the time he faced jail, Trump started making those pardon offers more explicit.

On June 15, 2018, the day the judge presiding over Manafort’s D.C. case was considering whether to revoke his bail, the President said that he “felt badly” for Manafort and stated, “I think a lot of it is very unfair.” And when asked about a pardon for Manafort, the President said, “I do want to see people treated fairly. That’s what it’s all about.” Later that day, after Manafort’s bail was revoked, t.he President called it a ” tough sentence” that was “Very unfair!” Two days later, the President’s personal counsel stated that individuals involved in the Special Counsel’s investigation could receive a pardon ” if in fact the [P]resident and his advisors .. . come to the conclusion that you have been treated unfairly”-using language that paralleled how the President had already described the treatment of Manafort.

These details — about what really happened in that meeting on August 2, 2016 and what Manafort did afterwards — are some of the things that Trump successfully obstructed the Mueller investigation in an effort to cover up.

And around the time Mueller publicly announced that Manafort had breached his plea deal by lying about all these things, Rudy Giuliani launched the campaign that would ultimately lead to getting the anti-corruption Ambassador in Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, fired, then would subsequently lead Trump to demand (in the same call while attacking Mueller) that the newly elected anti-corruption President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, gin up investigations into his opponents Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Rudy conducted that campaign, significantly, while consulting Manafort in prison, and the effort is, at least in part, an effort to give Trump an excuse to pardon Manafort so Manafort will continue to remain silent about what really happened.

The Republican Party spent the entire day yesterday claiming that Donald Trump demanded those investigations out of concern for corruption in Ukraine. The Republican Party claimed, with a straight face, that the man who obstructed an investigation into what his own campaign manager did to get the pro-corruption pro-Russian party in Ukraine to pay him $2.4 million while he worked for Trump for “free,” opposed corruption in Ukraine.

This is the story the Democrats need to lay out over the next several weeks. The Republicans don’t much care that their arguments are transparently ridiculous. They care about defending a process that, at least in part, is an effort to make sure Paul Manafort never tells the truth about what happened in 2016.

66 replies
  1. Mike Adamson says:

    Very clearly laid out and easy to follow except that the Democrats won’t follow for whatever reason. It’s so frustrating.

  2. harpie says:

    Rudy’s back:
    5:36 AM – 13 Dec 2019

    Seems like a guy just genuinely concerned about corruption

    Links to:
    5:35 AM – 13 Dec 2019

    New: When Giuliani returned from Kyiv on Sat, Trump called him as his plane was still taxiing & asked: “What did you get?” Giuliani replied: “More than you can imagine.” W/@bykowicz @tggrove on Giuliani doubling down, even as friends urged him to lay low: [WSJ]

    [Sorry for the drive-by…traveling today—ARRRRRGH!]

  3. John Forde says:

    Trump is fighting corruption?
    1 Manafort in jail.
    2 Manafort not paid by Trump.
    3 Manafort paid $2.4M by Oligarch.

  4. John Hand says:

    It’s times like this, when the Democrats need a loud, clear, unequivocal voice calling out Trump, Giuliani, et. al., that I wish someone like Howard Dean were in still in charge of the party. Lacking a network, the Democrats best bet is a strong message consistently coming from the same people. Instead, we see a coalition of different voices from many individuals, a coalition that often confuses stories like the one Marcy tells here.
    I don’t think anyone “out there in TV-land” is telling this story. Or will tell it.

  5. Tracy Lynn says:

    Thank you, Marcy, for this post. This connects the information I’ve been reading here and elsewhere for the past couple of years and puts it into easy bite-sized pieces — perfect for laypeople like me!

  6. flounder says:

    I almost guarantee that the original agreement to provide missiles to Ukraine was a bribe: stop cooperating with the Manafort investigation and we will send you missiles. The original NYT report that Ukraine would no longer cooperate with Mueller was so very weird. In like three different places in the story it goes out of the way to say “Ukraine totally decided to do this on their own. No way were they pressured, no sir-ee Bob!” Then, when the election turned over the ruling party in Ukraine, I think Trump realized they could use the missiles as a bribe again, with fresh faces. Someone needs to poke around more in the late 2017-early 2018 timeframe because there is something hidden there…

    • Rayne says:

      The set up for the squeeze play began in 2016 not only with Manafort’s appointment to campaign manager but with the RNC’s platform wording during the convention:

      … Trump staffers wrote an amendment to Denman’s amendment that stripped out the platform’s call for “providing lethal defensive weapons” and replaced it with softer language calling for “appropriate assistance.”

      That amendment was voted on and passed. When the Republican Party releases its platform Monday, the official Republican party position on arms for Ukraine will be at odds with almost all the party’s national security leaders. …

      What does “appropriate assistance” mean? Proportional to compliance with Trump’s demands on behalf of Russia?

      • ducktree says:

        “Appropriate assistance” = the teddy bears and MRE’s that the Repubs kept drumming on as the only kind of assisstance that the Obama Administration had been providing to Ukraine, mebbe?

        • BeingThere says:

          Page was spending a lot of time in Budapest during the Aug/Sept 2016 timeframe. Rudy back there last week. What’s the deal with the location? Is it easy for Russians to travel to along with US citizens? Or is there some Orban link (his party used Cambridge Analytica during in the run-up to their last election)

    • Vicks says:

      The problem is that all it takes is a veiled comment from a Trump rep to get the wheels turning on things like dropping the Mannafort investigation
      Trump surrounds himself with people who are equally corrupt, so who exactly is going to step froward and spill the beans?
      It’s this bizarre sense of security that the group previously known as the Republican Party has wrapped itself in. It has created a hell hole where they operate from, where facts don’t penetrate and “honor” and integrity are for suckers.

  7. abe says:

    “Christopher Steele had been working for Deripaska in an effort to help the oligarch settle his score with Manafort during the period he was working on the dossier.” This needs more depth. what score? Didn’t Manafort owe money?
    Where is the worldwide commentary on what a POS Steele is?

    • Rayne says:

      This is exactly how disinformation works: extract just a snippet of the narrative and focus on it to the exclusion of the big picture. We’re not going to do that, Mr. One-Approved-Comment-to-Date. This is about the guy whose name appears in the headline on this post.

      The problem isn’t Steele who was a target for disinformation and character assassination in no small part because of his work on FIFA. The problem is much larger, the focus much wider; it’s Manafort who lied for at least a decade about tens of millions of dollars earned/loaned working for corrupt Ukrainians, and those corrupt Ukrainians’ pro-Russian efforts.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Or to put it another way: if Steele’s source network was essentially hacked in 2016, what do you think is happening right now with Giuliani, his sketchy contacts and his Google Translate app?

      • abe says:

        Legit questions aren’t disinformation. For example, why hasn’t Manafort been pardoned? T. does whatever he wants, w/ impunity. Mueller reprt over. Impched, not getting removed. Big picture = Manafort belongs in jail forever but why is he still there? secrets are safer when ur miserably sitting in jail?

        • Rayne says:

          Legit questions focus on the topic of the post which is Manafort, not Steele. And yes, why hasn’t Trump pardoned Manafort? Why aren’t you kicking around possible reasons why Trump hasn’t done this yet instead of focusing on someone who wasn’t indicted and who has been damaged by this ongoing conspiracy?

          Gee, no discussion at all why Trump’s minions are kicking around the idea of extra-constitutionally allowing Trump a third term in office to ensure the secrets are kept, either…

          • ab says:

            You do not get to decide what is on topic and what isn’t. If I had a reason to kick around why Manafort hasn’t been pardoned yet, then I would state so and not ask others. He should be out if he is so dangerous or valuable to secrets.
            It doesn’t seem right not to focus on Steele. At this point who hasn’t Steele been connected with Manafort, Deri, oligarchs, RU, Ivanka, FBI, DNC, GOP
            But I am not convinced he has been completely debunked – I entertain it b/c of statements by ewheel, Fiona Hill, others. Besides, there has got to be a tape of T. Maybe not the one touted, but something.

            “no discussion at all why Trump’s minions are kicking around the idea of extra-constitutionally allowing Trump a third term in office to ensure the secrets are kept, either” if secrets are kept is the same as Trump avoiding prosecution until death, then yes. Or how about this — it’s to get you in a frenzy instead of focusing on impeachment, economy, health care, budget cuts.
            Also, third term talk wasn’t in this article. Please stay on topic or at least to what is mentioned in the article.

            [Policing contributors’ and community members’ content is a no-no here. Stick to a single user name as sockpuppeting is also not permitted. /~Rayne]

        • emptywheel says:

          If he’s pardoned now two things happen: He can’t invoke 5A against testifying (not that he’ll care; he’ll just lie again, but still). More importantly, since he’s under indictment in NYS, he can be jailed in Rikers until that trial.

          • bmaz says:

            Not to mention, he creates a criminal record for when Trump is no longer President. Pardons are never going to be the magical elixir.

            • Rayne says:

              Apples =/= oranges. Commutation is NOT a pardon. Also Libby wasn’t called to testify any further once released to press the issue.

              Would be nice to see Manafort rattling the cage about commutation because Scooter.

              • darms says:

                Scooter’s sentence was commuted by GW but he was pardoned by Trump, my shorthand is confusing. Again, no 5A action probably as no one is likely looking or in a position to do anything…

            • bmaz says:

              Okay, first off we have a contributor here by the name of Peter. If you want to comment, please pick a differentiated name, so that nobody reading confuses you with our Peter, who has been here forever.

              Second, you are assuming a a New York State conviction that is nowhere close to being secure. Thirdly, you are concurrently assuming there is no other potential federal liability. Or are you assuming a federal pardon by Trump? Please tell.

  8. bmaz says:

    It is swell to disparage Steele and, obviously, all the rage these days. But giving Horowitz too much benefit of the doubt is not advisable either. Horowitz is as far from the unassailable font of truth and honesty as John Durham is. Or Chris Steele.

    • Vicks says:

      Cagey is the word that came to mind when I watched his “presentation”
      In this sick game of “name your price” some players are simply harder to read.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m not disparaging Steele. I’m suggesting he and others were used.
      Lots of people in 2016 can say that, myself included.

      • bmaz says:

        The Mueller Report is 450 pages of detailed and supported delineation of what occurred. And it is incredibly damning to Trump and his cohort.

        Bob Mueller is, and always has been, a buttoned down starched shirt guy. It is not his fault that Democrats were cowards expecting him to breath fire for them, he is not, and has never been, that guy. The work and material is in the report though.

        • abe says:

          Disagree. During his testimony, he was quite willing to speak w/ regards to RU interference but “you’ll have to refer to the report” w/ respect to the WH interference/criminality. He wouldn’t even read the words from the report.
          He didn’t insist on interviewing 45 and cited expediency as the reason. Are u kidding me? Weak.
          Stop blaming the Dems for uniformed citizens. And uniformed citizens needed to hear Mueller speak to what was found, why he wrote a letter to Barr after Barr released the 4 page memo. Unwillingness to do so is weak and partisan. Maybe there were calculated reasons he was chosen to head the investigation.

          • P J Evans says:

            That’s exactly what bmaz means: Mueller expects people asking him questions to have read *at least* the executive summaries, if not the entire report.

          • bmaz says:

            No, I am most certainly NOT “kidding you”. It was not Mueller’s job to sell jack shit, only to investigate and report. Which he did in spades.

            And, in case you were not aware, there was nothing, and I mean nothing, compelling Mueller to submit such a thorough report. Yet, he did.

            It was never his scope or mandate to go sell the shit people on the internet were clamoring for, and that Congressional Democrats abdicated their duty in hopes of. Naw, that is on the Dems, and that is on the rubes. Mueller’s report is absolutely damning. Go read it.

            • Marinela says:

              Looking back, which is always easier, I agree democrats missed the opportunity to act on Mueller report. They waited on Mueller report instead of preparing in parallel, hire capable counsels in preparation to rolling the Mueller report. The WH didn’t wait, they blasted for 2+ years lies about Mueller investigation. Plus WH got Barr to roll out the Mueller report. When Trump fired Jeff S. democrats didn’t get the hint about what was to happen.

              Not sure why democrats are so weak, but the history will show how Trump got the power and consolidated, in part because the democratic party is not able to adjust to the current state of politics.

            • r helder says:

              which is why it is so infuriating that mueller’s ten “obstruction of justice” charges were not added as another article of impeachment. they are the clearest and most straightforward part of his report, relatively few redactions, and mueller had already done the the work for nadler’s committee, even had substantiating grand jury testimony ready as backup.
              i cannot fathom speaker pelosi’s reasoning here, though i usually have great respect for her decades of political acumen.

              • Eureka says:

                Yes, and I just want to point out explicitly that all signs (certainly post-MR and before the Ukraine call news broke) were that Nadler’s committee members were, in fact, intending to use the Mueller obstruction counts towards an obstruction impeachment article.

                I’d love to see their older and likely more complete drafts. History’s dime…

                • Vicks says:

                  I can’t help but think that congress has him cleanly nailed on constitutional offenses, the other items on the giant laundry list all seem to involve criminal offenses.
                  I have always assumed that taking down DJT will require working as many angles as possible.
                  The angle the democrats are working is clearly in their wheelhouse.
                  Using my theory they are acting with the sense of urgency required after catching Trump in the act of trying to cheat his way into another 4 years.
                  In the meantime regarding Ukraine, the freedom of information act is being used to gain more information by watchdog groups, and Rooty could be arrested any day by law enforcement.
                  Or not.
                  It’s easy to throw Dems under the bus and call them fools for expecting Mueller to save them but this fool thinks once burned the danger of waiting for the stars to align again should be obvious.
                  Again this is just a theory, but there are a handful of serious criminal investigations being worked, why not let the wheels of justice do their thing and congress go on record ASAP with these clear violations against our constitution?

                  • bmaz says:

                    I dunno, how about the thought that rocket docketing this one stupid phone call scenario, and ignoring the entirety of all the other crimeing by Trump effectively ratifies it by indicating it really doesn’t matter. How about that?

                    The emoluments Clause, the Article I prerogative, Separation of Powers, relentless obstruction of justice, rampant campaign finance violations and abuse….none of that matters, only this one fucking phone call scenario because that is what is most expedient and convenient for Nancy Pelosi and a precious handful of semi-Democrats she is determined to protect instead of the Constitution of the United States.

                    “I can’t help but think” maybe that is actually important too.

                    • Vicks says:

                      What is missing is how your game plan works in any sort of timely fashion.
                      I 100% understand the principals involved but the image that it presents is democrats allowing our country to burn so they can have a tidy case to present for the history books.
                      Again not arguing right and wrong just the urgency of shutting this Ukraine thing down before Putin can do any more damage

                    • bmaz says:

                      What is “missing from my game plan” is a minute fraction of what is missing from that of Nancy Pelosi’s. It is about FAR more than the Ukraine call, and to argue otherwise is ridiculous. And if you think this faux impeachment strategy being exercised is shutting anything with regard to Ukraine down, you are on drugs and ill informed.

                      The “damage” is happening right in front of your eyes. Take off the blinders and wake up. Seriously, what the fuck?

                    • Vicks says:

                      Again, your plan neglects any reference to a time frame.
                      Be more precise and make it a fair argument.

                      Everything you mentioned matters beyond belief.
                      They are being stonewalled by a corrupt admin who is building power by the day.
                      We/they/us tried waiting for all the ducks to get in a row thinking law and order were on our side.
                      Should we wait and see what happens next week with the evidence Barr is sitting on from Mueller’s report?
                      Or the financial’s on the Trump Hotel in Washington?
                      Maybe the sexual harassment case against him will see the light of day in a timely fashion?
                      I know they are looking into the military stays at the Scotland airport surely we should wait and see how that goes so they can add it to the shitpile of the Trump’s illegal fringe benny’s before presenting their case?
                      How about Trump’s taxes?
                      Surely exposing the background of the dude Trump appointed to head up the obstruction over at the IRS should be investigated and exposed before congress moves on impeachment?
                      This list is endless and sickening and I get what you are saying, but the day congress gets a (legal) grip against Trump’s firehose strategy will NEVER come.
                      The law is slow and precise and deliberate (as it should be.)
                      I believe adding the word “relentless” to slow and precise is what will eventually take down DJT, but for now I believe we have to take every opportunity available save this country before it’s too late.
                      Ukraine landed pre-packaged in their laps and I simply disagree with waiting for more stars to align to make a move.
                      Now the real question; how many people have you rounded up to go to your area’s rally tonight?
                      “Seriously what the fuck?” is a great question, but direct your anger accordingly.
                      We are all on the same team you know, it makes no sense to use righteousness over how a problem is solved to try to create factions

                    • bmaz says:

                      Listen here, and quit misrepresenting what is going on here. I specifically said until June or so. Did you miss that part, or just intent on false argument?

                      Yes, they are “stonewalling”. That is exactly part and parcel of my proposal, because the House should keep using the enhanced almost bulletproof power of the impeachment inquiry for as long as possible, including to get things that ought normally be available with regular oversight. Did you miss that before, or, again, simply being disingenuous?

                      You want to know where my “anger” is right now? It is with you for being naive and misrepresenting everything I have said. I thought you read this blog. Because our records indicate you have done so, and commented regularly, since at least February of this year. You have managed to comment prolifically since then, but cannot remember what you have read? Interesting.

                    • Vicks says:

                      You lost me?
                      A quick page scan for the word “June” turns up nothing posted by you and if “June” is your answer (thank you) i will stick to my argument that time is of the essence and IMHO “June” simply will not do.
                      The examples I listed simply scratch the surface of Trump’s corruption there are dozen more and one thing they have in common was/is the depth of their coverup.
                      The only reason Ukraine stands out is that there was a whistle blower that came forward and caught team Trump in the act and before all the shovels were out.
                      I agree that there are other things Trump has done equally or more horrible that need to be exposed, and I am simply suggesting that we need to take the lessons learned from the Mueller report (including a clear picture of what a successful obstruction strategy looks like) and not repeat the same mistakes.
                      June is as good a time as any to hope enough progress has been made to present a stronger case to the public, but IMHO History tells us June could just as easily show little or no progress and remind us all that a day delayed is always a good day for the opposition and I’m not sure I’m being the one who is “naive” when you are suggesting Dem give them 180 more days to cheat his way to another win.
                      I don’t claim to have the answer, it is a theory, an option and I apologize if you feel that presenting my own case is in some way twisting what you have said, that was not my intention.
                      I simply see an upside of making hay while the sun is shining on this Ukraine thing, and because I do believe in our legal system, allow the wheels of justice to keep turning/ hammering away at all of the other crimes in the hopper and ultimately justice will be served in our lifetime.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Hi “Vicks”. Perhaps you are only good for one thread at a time.

                      And that explains why, despite your constant presence here since February, you just have no memory of things that have gone on here within that time. I suggest better searching. Here is the most recent reference I made. That is from so long ago as yesterday, I guess. Not to mention all the other times, but let us at least focus on the most recent one you have ignored. Thanks for playing Vicks.

  9. dude says:

    I’m sorry, but I need an organizational diagram for the relationships to become clear.

    Time One for the period (2010-2014):
    We put Putin/Russia at the top, he is connected directly below to Yanukovych for the time he was president of Ukraine. Either beside Yanukovych or between Putin and Yanukoviych is the Russian/Ukrainian Kilimnik–and connected beside Kilimnik is Manafort. Below Putin and beside(?) Yanukovich is Cypriot/Russian Deripaska. He is connected by dotted line to Manafort below. I presume from the discussion above that Rinat Akhmetov and Serhiy Lyovochkin are more-or-less beside Deripaska (but not connected to him) and are separate clients of Manafort with similar oligarchic ambitions in Ukraine as Deripaska. Does this sound right?

    A Time Two diagram swaps Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky for Yanukovych and all attached to Yanukovych move to one side/laterally. Z is not related by lines to Putin. Zelensky has below him his prosecutors and his former network TV boss who may be creating some tension with the new president. Not sure if the tv guy is related to Yanukovych or Putin.

    I think the American public needs something like this too if we want them to understand Manafort’s role.

  10. Cathy says:

    Quick copy edit: b[r]eached (1st sentence, 1st full graph after block quote).

    Appreciate the imagery of the original, though: the deal, stranded by Manafort’s bad faith, slowly and agonizingly collapses under its own weight (as opposed to the typically more violent but arguably quicker and perhaps more merciful imagery of Manafort just blowing it up).

  11. pseudonymous in nc says:

    The subsuming of convicted felon and scourge of Ukrainian politics Paul Manafort into “the campaign” remains staggering to me. “You know he has killed people in Ukraine? Knowingly.” It’s as if being in jail frees him from the narrative, even though he’s central to the narrative.

    Relatedly, there’s perhaps between the monetary incentives offered for Gates’s silence to John Dowd’s fundraising efforts in February 2018 — that would be the same John Dowd now repping Parnas and Fruman with an assist from Kevin Downing — but the amount that Dowd was reportedly offering in that WSJ story seems insufficient to to cover Gates’s costs.

    And as many others have noted, it seems odd for that detail to be mentioned in the sentencing memorandum only in passing. Either it meets the threshold of an investigation for witness-tampering, or it doesn’t.

    • emptywheel says:

      Dowd and Downing aren’t repping Parnas and Fruman anymore. They have real lawyers.
      And the reason we’re not talking about it is bc Dems are not talking about it. They need to go on offense.

  12. Yogarhythms says:

    Thank you for this thread our daily bread. “To give Manafort an incentive to lie, John Dowd started telling him he would be “taken care of” in early 2018.” I’m going out on a limb and suggest an interim vow of silence November 4 2020 Paulies Hostel closes due to pardon.

  13. Tony el Tigre says:

    Speaking of Rick Gates, the Feds were supposed to submit their sentencing recommendation Monday, then delayed it to Tuesday, then I have heard nothing

    Does anyone know what happened?

  14. Krisy Gosney says:

    Great reporting, thank you! Many people say the Russians or Trump have something on Nunes, McConnell, etc which is why they are protecting/defending Trump. But could it be that these guys simply were aware of, and turned a blind eye to, Manafort’s shenanigans and that is enough to hold over their heads and keep them in line?

  15. Maureen A Donnelly says:

    following an interesting Twitter thread by Lincoln’s Bible on Manafort and the ties to Fred Trump. Fascinating how the Russian mob at the Italian mob like gelato and took over. #WeAreAllRussiaNow.

    • Maureen A Donnelly says:

      ate the Italian mob. Time Mag article also: “How Donald Trump Hired and Fired Paul Manafort” . . . so many Russians up in our business.

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