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Manafort and his Ukrainian connections

 

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Manafort is a political operative who worked for Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, steered the 1996 GOP convention and built two white-shoe D.C. lobbying shops. His international connections included anti-communist Angolan rebels and Ferdinand Marcos, the dictator of the Philippines.

Manafort influnced Yanukovych to adopt anti-Russian  course. He start working for  Yanukovich after he was depived of victory in election by the 2004 Orange Revolution. Feeling that his domestic political advisers had failed him, Yanukovich turned to a foreign company, Davis Manafort, which was already doing work for the Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov. While it’s difficult to track payments in foreign elections, a former associate familiar with Manafort’s earnings say they ran into the seven figures over several years.

Mr. Manafort is the scion of an immigrant family that built a construction business in Connecticut. A lawyer by education, he served briefly in the Reagan administration before devoting himself to politics and later to business How Paul Manafort Wielded Power in Ukraine Before Advising Donald Trump - The New York Times

A separate deal also funneled Russian-linked oligarchic money into Ukraine. In 2007, Mr. Manafort and two partners, Rick Gates and Rick Davis, set up a private equity company in the Cayman Islands to buy assets in Ukraine, and invited the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to invest, according to a court filing. Mr. Deripaska agreed to pay a 2 percent annual management fee to Mr. Manafort and his partners, and put $100 million into the fund, which bought a cable television station in the Black Sea port of Odessa, Ukraine, before the agreement unraveled in disagreements over auditing and Mr. Deripaska sued Mr. Manafort. The case is still pending.

... ... ...

Mr. Manafort pressed Mr. Yanukovych to sign an agreement with the European Union that would link the country closer to the West — and lobbied for the Americans to support Ukraine’s membership, as well, despite deep reservations because of the prosecution of Ms. Tymoshenko.


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[Sep 09, 2020] Proof of collusion at last! - IRRUSSIANALITY

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Guardian ..."
"... BNE Intellinews ..."
"... bne IntelliNews ..."
"... The idea, therefore, that Paul Manafort was an agent of influence for the Russian government flies against everything we know about what he actually did. As for Kilimnik, maybe he is a Russian intelligence agent – I'm not in a position to say. But if he is, he's a very weird one, who spent years actively pushing the Ukrainian government to pursue a policy which directly contradicted Russian interests. ..."
"... None of this, needless to say, appears in the US Senate report. Instead, the report chooses to focus on the apparently shocking revelation that Manafort shared Trump campaign polling data with Kilimnik, as if this sharing of private information was in some ways a massive threat to national security and proof that Manafort was working for the Russians. The fact that both Manafort and Kilimnik spent years doing their damnedest to undermine Russia is simply ignored. Go figure! ..."
Sep 09, 2020 | irrussianality.wordpress.com

PROOF OF COLLUSION AT LAST! SEPTEMBER 2, 2020 PAULR 18 COMMENTS

Despite the secondary roles played some bit part actors in the Russiagate drama, the central figure in allegations that Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government to be elected as president of the United States has always been Trumps' onetime campaign manager Paul Manafort. The recent US Senate report on Russian 'interference' in the 2016 presidential election thus started off its analysis with a long exposé of Manafort's comings and goings.

Simply put, the thesis is as follows: while working in Ukraine as an advisor to 'pro-Russian' Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, Manafort was in effect working on behalf of the Russian state via 'pro-Russian' Ukrainian oligarchs as well as Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska (a man with 'close ties' to the Kremlin). Also suspicious was Manafort's close relationship with one Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the US Senate claims is a Russia intelligence agent. All these connections meant that while in Ukraine, Manafort was helping the Russian Federation spread its malign influence. On returning to the USA and joining the Trump campaign, he then continued to fulfill the same role.

The fundamental flaw in this thesis has always been the well-known fact that while advising Yanukovich, Manafort took anything but a 'pro-Russian' position, but instead pressed him to sign an association agreement with the European Union (EU). Since gaining independence, Ukraine had avoided being sucked either into the Western or the Russian camp. But the rise of two competing geopolitical projects – the EU and the Russia-backed Eurasian Union – was making this stance increasingly impossible, and Ukraine was being put in a position where it would be forced to choose. This was because the two Unions are incompatible – one can't be in two customs unions simultaneously, when they levy different tariffs and have different rules. Association with the EU meant an end to the prospect of Ukraine joining the Eurasian Union. It was therefore a goal which was entirely incompatible with Russian interests, which required that Ukraine turn instead towards Eurasia.

Manafort's position on this matter therefore worked against Russia. Even The Guardian journalist Luke Harding had to concede this in his book Collusion , citing a former Ukrainian official Oleg Voloshin that, 'Manafort was an advocate for US interests. So much so that the joke inside [Yanunkovich's] Party of Regions was that he actually worked for the USA.'

If anyone had any doubts about this, they can now put them aside. On Monday, the news agency BNE Intellinews announced that it had received a leak of hundreds of Kilimnik's emails detailing his relationship with Manafort and Yanukovich. The story they tell is not at all what the US Senate and other proponents of the Trump-Russia collusion fantasy would have you believe. As BNE reports:

Today the Yanukovych narrative is that he was a stool pigeon for Russian President Vladimir Putin from the start, but after winning the presidency he actually worked very hard to take Ukraine into the European family. As bne IntelliNews has already reported, Manafort's flight records also show how he crisscrossed Europe in an effort to build support in Brussels for Yanukovych in the run up to the EU Vilnius summit.

On March 1, his first foreign trip as newly minted president was to the EU capital of Brussels. The leaked emails show that Manafort influenced Yanukovych's decision to visit Brussels as first stop, working in concert with his assistant Konstantin Kilimnik In a memorandum entitled 'Purpose of President Yanukovych Trip to Brussels,' Manafort argued that the decision to visit Brussels first would underscore Yanukovych's mission to "bring European values to Ukraine," and kick start negotiations on the Association Agreement.

The memorandum on the Brussels visit was the first of many from Manafort and Kilimnik to Yanukovych, in which they pushed Yanukovych to signal a clear pro-EU line and to carry out reforms to back this up.

To handle Yanukovych's off-message antics, Manafort and Kilimnik created a back channel to Yanukovych for Western politicians – in particular those known to appreciate Ukraine's geopolitical significance vis-à-vis Russia. In Europe, these were Sweden's then foreign minister Carl Bildt, Poland's then foreign minister Radosław Sikorski and European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule, and in the US, Vice President Joe Biden.

"We need to launch a 'Friends of Ukraine' programme to help us use informal channels in talks on the free trade zone and modernisation of the gas transport system," Manafort and Kilimnik wrote to Yanukovych in September 2010. "Carl Bildt is the foundation of this informal group and has sufficient weight with his colleagues in questions connected to Ukraine and the Eastern Partnership. ( ) but he needs to be able to say that he has a direct channel to the President, and he knows that President Yanukovych remains committed to European integration."

Beyond this, the emails show that Manafort and Kilimnik also tried hard to arrange a meeting between Yanukovich and US President Barack Obama, and urged Yanukovich to show leniency to former Prime Minister Yuliia Timoshenko (who was imprisoned for fraud).

It is noticeable that the members of the 'back channel' Manafort and Kilimnik created to lobby on behalf of Ukraine in the EU included some of the most notably Russophobic European politicians of the time, such as Carl Bildt and Radek Sikorski. Moreover, nowhere in any of what they did can you find anything that could remotely be described as 'pro-Russian'. Indeed, the opposite is true. As previously noted, Ukraine's bid for an EU agreement directly challenged a key Russian interest – the expansion of the Eurasian Union to include Ukraine. Manafort and Kilimnik were therefore very much working against Russia, not for it.

The idea, therefore, that Paul Manafort was an agent of influence for the Russian government flies against everything we know about what he actually did. As for Kilimnik, maybe he is a Russian intelligence agent – I'm not in a position to say. But if he is, he's a very weird one, who spent years actively pushing the Ukrainian government to pursue a policy which directly contradicted Russian interests.

None of this, needless to say, appears in the US Senate report. Instead, the report chooses to focus on the apparently shocking revelation that Manafort shared Trump campaign polling data with Kilimnik, as if this sharing of private information was in some ways a massive threat to national security and proof that Manafort was working for the Russians. The fact that both Manafort and Kilimnik spent years doing their damnedest to undermine Russia is simply ignored. Go figure!

[Feb 09, 2020] Key Witness Told Mueller Team That Russia Collusion Evidence Found In Ukraine Was Fabricated by John Solomon

Notable quotes:
"... By April 2018, Gates had reached a plea deal to testify against Manafort in a criminal case that ultimately resulted in Manafort's conviction on tax and illegal lobbying charges. As the day-to-day manager of Manafort's political consulting and lobbying efforts for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Gates handled Manafort's operations and was deeply familiar with when and how payments were made and from whom. ..."
"... Furthermore, Gates revealed that Manafort's team had confirmed with the party's former accountant that the black ledger could not be a contemporaneous document because the party's official accounting books burned in a 2014 fire during Ukraine's Maidan uprising. ..."
"... The Party of Regions accountant reached by Manafort's team told them that the black ledger was a "copy of a document that did not exist" and it "was not even [the accountant's own] handwriting," Gates told the prosecutors. ..."
Feb 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

0Authored by John Solomon via JustTheNews.com,

One of Robert Mueller's pivotal trial witnesses told the special prosecutor's team in spring 2018 that a key piece of Russia collusion evidence found in Ukraine known as the "black ledger" was fabricated, according to interviews and testimony.

The ledger document, which suddenly appeared in Kiev during the 2016 U.S. election, showed alleged cash payments from Russian-backed politicians in Ukraine to ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

"The ledger was completely made up," cooperating witness and Manafort business partner Rick Gates told prosecutors and FBI agents, according to a written summary of an April 2018 special counsel's interview.

In a brief interview with Just the News, Gates confirmed the information in the summary.

"The black ledger was a fabrication," Gates said.

"It was never real, and this fact has since been proven true."

Gates' account is backed by several Ukrainian officials who stated in interviews dating to 2018 that the ledger was of suspicious origins and could not be corroborated.

If true, Gates' account means the two key pieces of documentary evidence used by the media and FBI to drive the now-debunked Russia collusion narrative -- the Steele dossier and the black ledger -- were at best uncorroborated and at worst disinformation. His account also raises the possibility that someone fabricated the document in Ukraine in an effort to restart investigative efforts on Manafort's consulting work or to meddle in the U.S. presidential election.

Much mystery has surrounded the black ledger, which was publicized by the New York Times and other U.S. news outlets in the summer of 2016 and forced Manafort out as one of Trump's top campaign officials.

After gaining wide attention as purported evidence of Russian ties to the Trump campaign, the ledger was never introduced as evidence at Manafort's 2018 trial or significantly analyzed in Mueller's final 2019 report, which concluded that Trump did not collude with Russia to influence the 2016 election. No FBI 302 interview reports have been released either showing what the FBI concluded about the ledger.

Gates' interview with the Mueller team now provides a potential clue as to why.

By April 2018, Gates had reached a plea deal to testify against Manafort in a criminal case that ultimately resulted in Manafort's conviction on tax and illegal lobbying charges. As the day-to-day manager of Manafort's political consulting and lobbying efforts for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Gates handled Manafort's operations and was deeply familiar with when and how payments were made and from whom.

During a debriefing with Mueller's team on April 10, 2018, Gates was asked about the August 2016 New York Times article that first alerted the public to the existence of the black ledger and eventually led to Manafort's downfall.

"The article was completely false," Gates is quoted as telling Mueller's team in a written summary of the interview created by some of the attendees.

"As you now know there were no cash payments. The payments were wired. The ledger was completely made up."

When pressed as to why he was so certain, Gates explained the ledger did not match the way Yanukovych's Party of Regions made payments to consultants like Manafort.

"It was not how the PoR [Party of Regions] did their record keeping," Gates told the prosecution team, according to the written summary.

Furthermore, Gates revealed that Manafort's team had confirmed with the party's former accountant that the black ledger could not be a contemporaneous document because the party's official accounting books burned in a 2014 fire during Ukraine's Maidan uprising.

"All the real records were burned when the party headquarters was set on fire when Yanukovych fled the country," Gates told the investigators, according to the interview summary.

The Party of Regions accountant reached by Manafort's team told them that the black ledger was a "copy of a document that did not exist" and it "was not even [the accountant's own] handwriting," Gates told the prosecutors.

Gates' account to prosecutors closely matches what several Ukrainian officials have said for more than a year.

Ukraine's Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytskyy told me last spring that he believed the black ledger was not a contemporaneous document, and likely manufactured after the fact.

"It was not to be considered a document of Manafort," Kholodnytskyy said in an interview.

"It was not authenticated. And at that time it should not be used in any way to bring accusations against anybody."

Likewise, one of Gates' and Manafort's Ukrainian business partners, Konstantin Kilimnik, who is now indicted in the same case as Manafort but remain at large, wrote a senior U.S. State Department official in summer 2016 that the black ledger did not match actual payments made to Manafort's firm.

"I have some questions about this black cash stuff because those published records do not make sense," Kilimnik wrote the State official in August 2016.

"The time frame doesn't match anything related to payments made to Manafort. It does not match my records. All fees Manafort got were wires, not cash."

In December 2018, a Ukrainian court ruled that two of that country's government officials -- member of parliament Sergey Leschenko and Artem Sytnyk, the head of the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine -- illegally interfered in the 2016 U.S. election by publicizing the black ledger evidence.

While that ruling has been overturned on a technicality, the role of Sytnyk and Leschenko in pushing the black ledger story remains true.

In an interview last summer, Leschenko said he first received part of the black ledger when it was sent to him anonymously in February 2016, but it made no mention of Manafort. Months later, in August 2016, more of the ledger became public, including the alleged Manafort payments.

Leschenko said he decided to publicize the information after confirming a few of the transactions likely occurred or matched known payments.

But Leschenko told me he never believed the black ledger could be used as court evidence because it couldn't be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it was authentic, given its mysterious appearance during the 2016 election.

"The black ledger is an unofficial document," Leschenko told me. "And the black ledger was not used as official evidence in criminal investigations because you know in criminal investigations all proof has to be beyond a reasonable doubt. And the black ledger is not a sample of such proof because we don't know the nature of such document ."

In the end, the black ledger did prompt the discovery of real financial transactions and real crimes by Manafort, which ultimately led to his conviction.

But its uncertain origins raise troubling questions about election meddling and what constitutes real evidence worthy of starting an American investigation.

[Sep 29, 2019] Marie L. Yovanovitch blocked visa to the senior prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk

Notable quotes:
"... The senior prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk never got an answer, and he says it's because the visas were blocked by the U.S. Ambassador. The Ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch is a career diplomat (since 1986) who served under both Democratic and Republicans and was appointed to her present position in August 2016 by former President Obama. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | lidblog.com

Originally from: New Report Indicates Case Against Paul Manafort Is Fruit Of The Poisonous Tree - The Lid by Jeff Dunetz

The FBI knew the Steele dossier was nonsense before they used it to get the FISA court to issue the warrant to begin spying on Carter Page leading to the Russia collusion hoax. John Solomon of The Hill found a second document that the FBI knew contained false information, but they used it to get the search warrant against Paul Manafort anyway.

Per Solomon:

The second document, known as the "black cash ledger," remarkably has escaped the same scrutiny, even though its emergence in Ukraine in the summer of 2016 forced Paul Manafort to resign as Trump's campaign chairman and eventually face U.S. indictment.

Trending: Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) Introduces Motion To Censure Adam Schiff

In search warrant affidavits, the FBI portrayed the ledger as one reason it resurrected a criminal case against Manafort that was dropped in 2014 and needed search warrants in 2017 for bank records to prove he worked for the Russian-backed Party of Regions in Ukraine.

There's just one problem: The FBI's public reliance on the ledger came months after the feds were warned repeatedly that the document couldn't be trusted and likely was a fake, according to documents and more than a dozen interviews with knowledgeable sources.

When the NY Times reported the news about the ledger, they positioned it as a big scandal as they do with almost everything associated with Donald Trump:

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych's pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine's newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

( ) The papers, known in Ukraine as the "black ledger," are a chicken-scratch of Cyrillic covering about 400 pages taken from books once kept in a third-floor room in the former Party of Regions headquarters on Lipskaya Street in Kiev. The room held two safes stuffed with $100 bills, said Taras V. Chornovil, a former party leader who was also a recipient of the money at times. He said in an interview that he had once received $10,000 in a "wad of cash" for a trip to Europe.

Nazar Kholodnytsky, Ukraine's top anti-corruption prosecutor, told John Solomon that he had told his State Dept contacts and FBI agents that his colleagues who found the ledger thought it was bogus around the same time the Times published the story late August 2916.

"It was not to be considered a document of Manafort. It was not authenticated. And at that time it should not be used in any way to bring accusations against anybody," Kholodnytsky said, recalling what he told FBI agents.

This is the second incident of Obama's State Department ignoring Ukraine evidence. Two months ago we learned that senior member of Ukraine's Prosecutor General's International Legal Cooperation Dept. told John Solomon that since last year, he's been blocked from getting visas for himself and a team to go to the U.S. to deliver evidence of Democratic party wrongdoing during the 2016 election to the DOJ. The senior prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk never got an answer, and he says it's because the visas were blocked by the U.S. Ambassador. The Ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch is a career diplomat (since 1986) who served under both Democratic and Republicans and was appointed to her present position in August 2016 by former President Obama.

Solomon gives some more examples of the FBI being told the ledger was as real as a three-dollar bill. But that's when it gets really dicey because according to three of Solomon's sources, Mueller's team of political hitmen and the FBI were given copies of one of the warnings.

Because they knew the ledger was false Mueller and the FBI couldn't use the ledger to establish probable cause to investigate Manafort because it " would require agents to discuss their assessment of the evidence -- and instead cited media reports about it." Even though the feds assisted on one of those stories as sources

For example, agents mentioned the ledger in an affidavit supporting a July 2017 search warrant for Manafort's house, citing it as one of the reasons the FBI resurrected the criminal case against Manafort.

"On August 19, 2016, after public reports regarding connections between Manafort, Ukraine and Russia -- including an alleged 'black ledger' of off-the-book payments from the Party of Regions to Manafort -- Manafort left his post as chairman of the Trump Campaign," the July 25, 2017, FBI agent's affidavit stated.

Three months later, the FBI went further in arguing probable cause for a search warrant for Manafort's bank records, citing a specific article about the ledger as evidence Manafort was paid to perform U.S. lobbying work for the Ukrainians.

"The April 12, 2017, Associated Press article reported that DMI [Manafort's company] records showed at least two payments were made to DMI that correspond to payments in the 'black ledger,' " an FBI agent wrote in a footnote to the affidavit.

Guess who helped the AP with their story -- the DOJ's Andrew Weissmann who later moved to the special prosecutor's office and became Mueller's chief hit-man.

So just as they had done in the anti-Trump investigation "the FBI cited a leak that the government had facilitated and then used it to support the black ledger evidence, even though it had been clearly warned about the document."

Whether or not Paul Manafort deserved to be jailed is irrelevant. Part of the search warrants against him were lies that the prosecutors knew were false. The judgments against him should be tossed out because they contain the fruit of the poisonous tree. Our justice system promises equal justice for all, but the FBI and Special Prosecutor cheated in the case of Manafort.

There is much more to John Solomon's report. I recommend you click here and give it a read.

[Sep 04, 2019] Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig Acquitted Over Lying About Ukraine Work

Sep 04, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Assistant US Attorney Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez told jurors that Craig's status as a very experienced Washington attorney meant that he should have known better than to lie.

"It doesn't get more experienced than Mr. Craig," said Campoamor-Sanchez. "He's a man of position. He's very careful about what he does and how he does it."

Still, Campoamor-Sanchez added, Craig chose to conceal information in order to prevent potentially damaging details about his firm's work with Ukraine from surfacing . He said those details included payment arrangements for the report, which allowed the bulk of Skadden's more than $4 million fee to be provided by a wealthy Ukrainian businessman sympathetic to Yanukovych's government.

Ukraine's Ministry of Justice stated publicly in 2012 that it had agreed to pay Skadden about $12,000 for its work . Although Craig and his law firm did tell the FARA unit about the third-party payer situation, it declined to reveal the particular individual because he didn't want his identity disclosed. Much of the money Skadden received for the report was wired through a bank account in Cyprus controlled by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. - Bloomberg

The core of the US Government's case revolved around emails between Craig and a New York Times journalist, along with a hand-delivered copy of the Ukraine report to the journalist's Washington home prior to it being made public. Craig wrote that the Ukrainians "have determined" that the reporter should be allowed an exclusive first look at the report. Craig also offered to discuss the report.

Jurors also heard testimony from former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, who cooperated under a plea deal. Gates, during his work for Manafort's consulting firm, helped facilitate third-party payments to Skadden for its report.

At that time, both Manafort and Gates were advising Yanukovych, whom they helped get elected.

The government attempted to use Gates's testimony to paint Craig as a willing participant in the public relations plan for the Skadden report. But Craig's defense team cited Gates's past crimes, conspiracy and lying to federal investigators, to discredit his testimony.

" He is, in plain and simple terms, a con artist ," Murphy said during closing arguments. "This is a man who will do anything to get probation." - Bloomberg

In January, Skadden turned over $4.6 million it made in Ukraine in a deal struck with the Justice Department. The firm admitted that it should have registered for its 2012 and 2013 work, and that Craig made "false and misleading oral and written statements."


DEDA CVETKO , 10 minutes ago link

What a difference a president makes! You work for Trump - you are guilty as hell. You work for Clintons and Obamas, innocent, your honor.

The Deep State meets the American Justice. And they all lived happily everafter.

Kan , 21 minutes ago link

Did Bidens son register as a foreign representative after joining the Ukraine gas board for all those shekels before the color revolution party the CIA threw over there in crimea with british intel?

Does schumer register as a dual citizen and foreign agent he swore loyalty too when he got the citizenship in a foreign country? how about the other hundreds of isrhll foreign agents and dual citizens in congress and senate.. Lets not even talk about the CFR that holds every single position of power in Washington and is your deep state...

Are any of these people registered foreign agents? Hmm... still napping waiting for an american to show up and dismantle this crazy in DC.

Macho Latte , 30 minutes ago link

The 74-year-old Craig, a former top legal adviser to both Bill Clinton and Obama

Nuff said

[May 17, 2019] Andrew Weissmann, Top Mueller Prosecutor Who Built Paul Manafort Case, to Step Down

Mar 16, 2019 | www.thedailybeast.com

Andrew Weissmann -- who built the case against Paul Manafort and one of the most prominent members of Robert Mueller's team -- is reportedly stepping down from the special counsel investigation. It's the latest indication that Mueller's work is nearly complete. NPR reports that Weissmann will also leave the Justice Department and now plans to study and teach at New York University while working on preventing wrongful convictions. Manafort was sentenced to about 7 1/2 years in federal prison following two cases that stemmed from Mueller's investigation.

However, neither case involved alleged collusion with Russia.

One source told NPR that Weissmann's departure is a clear sign that Mueller's work is finally winding up -- it follows the departure of the most senior FBI agent working on the Mueller probe, Special Agent in Charge David Archey, who has started a new job as head of the FBI's office in Richmond, Virginia.

[May 11, 2019] Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire by KENNETH P. VOGEL and DAVID STERN

Notable quotes:
"... In an interview this month, Chalupa told Politico she had developed a network of sources in Kiev and Washington, including investigative journalists, government officials and private intelligence operatives. While her consulting work at the DNC this past election cycle centered on mobilizing ethnic communities -- including Ukrainian-Americans -- she said that, when Trump's unlikely presidential campaign began surging in late 2015, she began focusing more on the research, and expanded it to include Trump's ties to Russia, as well. ..."
"... Both Shulyar and Chalupa said the purpose of their initial meeting was to organize a June reception at the embassy to promote Ukraine. According to the embassy's website, the event highlighted female Ukrainian leaders, featuring speeches by Ukrainian parliamentarian Hanna Hopko, who discussed "Ukraine's fight against the Russian aggression in Donbas," and longtime Hillary Clinton confidante Melanne Verveer, who worked for Clinton in the State Department and was a vocal surrogate during the presidential campaign. ..."
"... Almost as quickly as Chalupa's efforts attracted the attention of the Ukrainian Embassy and Democrats, she also found herself the subject of some unwanted attention from overseas. ..."
"... Chalupa, though, indicated in an email that was later hacked and released by WikiLeaks that the Open World Leadership Center "put me on the program to speak specifically about Paul Manafort." ..."
"... In the email, which was sent in early May to then-DNC communications director Luis Miranda, Chalupa noted that she had extended an invitation to the Library of Congress forum to veteran Washington investigative reporter Michael Isikoff. Two days before the event, he had published a story for Yahoo News revealing the unraveling of a $26 million deal between Manafort and a Russian oligarch related to a telecommunications venture in Ukraine. And Chalupa wrote in the email she'd been "working with for the past few weeks" with Isikoff "and connected him to the Ukrainians" at the event. ..."
"... A DNC official stressed that Chalupa was a consultant paid to do outreach for the party's political department, not a researcher. She undertook her investigations into Trump, Manafort and Russia on her own, and the party did not incorporate her findings in its dossiers on the subjects, the official said, stressing that the DNC had been building robust research books on Trump and his ties to Russia long before Chalupa began sounding alarms. ..."
"... Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, a Ukrainian former diplomat who served as the country's head of security under Poroshenko but is now affiliated with a leading opponent of Poroshenko, said it was fishy that "only one part of the black ledger appeared." He asked, "Where is the handwriting analysis?" and said it was "crazy" to announce an investigation based on the ledgers. He met last month in Washington with Trump allies, and said, "of course they all recognize that our [anti-corruption bureau] intervened in the presidential campaign." ..."
"... Ukraine's minister of internal affairs, Arsen Avakov, piled on, trashing Trump on Twitter in July as a "clown" and asserting that Trump is "an even bigger danger to the US than terrorism." ..."
"... Avakov, in a Facebook post, lashed out at Trump for his confusing Crimea comments, calling the assessment the "diagnosis of a dangerous misfit," according to a translated screenshot featured in one media report, though he later deleted the post. He called Trump "dangerous for Ukraine and the US" and noted that Manafort worked with Yanukovych when the former Ukrainian leader "fled to Russia through Crimea. Where would Manafort lead Trump?" ..."
Jan 11, 2017 | www.politico.com

Manafort's work for Yanukovych caught the attention of a veteran Democratic operative named Alexandra Chalupa, who had worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison during the Clinton administration. Chalupa went on to work as a staffer, then as a consultant, for Democratic National Committee. The DNC paid her $412,000 from 2004 to June 2016, according to Federal Election Commission records, though she also was paid by other clients during that time, including Democratic campaigns and the DNC's arm for engaging expatriate Democrats around the world.

A daughter of Ukrainian immigrants who maintains strong ties to the Ukrainian-American diaspora and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, Chalupa, a lawyer by training, in 2014 was doing pro bono work for another client interested in the Ukrainian crisis and began researching Manafort's role in Yanukovych's rise, as well as his ties to the pro-Russian oligarchs who funded Yanukovych's political party.

In an interview this month, Chalupa told Politico she had developed a network of sources in Kiev and Washington, including investigative journalists, government officials and private intelligence operatives. While her consulting work at the DNC this past election cycle centered on mobilizing ethnic communities -- including Ukrainian-Americans -- she said that, when Trump's unlikely presidential campaign began surging in late 2015, she began focusing more on the research, and expanded it to include Trump's ties to Russia, as well.

She occasionally shared her findings with officials from the DNC and Clinton's campaign, Chalupa said. In January 2016 -- months before Manafort had taken any role in Trump's campaign -- Chalupa told a senior DNC official that, when it came to Trump's campaign, "I felt there was a Russia connection," Chalupa recalled. "And that, if there was, that we can expect Paul Manafort to be involved in this election," said Chalupa, who at the time also was warning leaders in the Ukrainian-American community that Manafort was "Putin's political brain for manipulating U.S. foreign policy and elections."

he said she shared her concern with Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S., Valeriy Chaly, and one of his top aides, Oksana Shulyar, during a March 2016 meeting at the Ukrainian Embassy. According to someone briefed on the meeting, Chaly said that Manafort was very much on his radar, but that he wasn't particularly concerned about the operative's ties to Trump since he didn't believe Trump stood much of a chance of winning the GOP nomination, let alone the presidency.

That was not an uncommon view at the time, and, perhaps as a result, Trump's ties to Russia -- let alone Manafort's -- were not the subject of much attention.
That all started to change just four days after Chalupa's meeting at the embassy, when it was reported that Trump had in fact hired Manafort, suggesting that Chalupa may have been on to something. She quickly found herself in high demand. The day after Manafort's hiring was revealed, she briefed the DNC's communications staff on Manafort, Trump and their ties to Russia, according to an operative familiar with the situation.

A former DNC staffer described the exchange as an "informal conversation," saying "'briefing' makes it sound way too formal," and adding, "We were not directing or driving her work on this." Yet, the former DNC staffer and the operative familiar with the situation agreed that with the DNC's encouragement, Chalupa asked embassy staff to try to arrange an interview in which Poroshenko might discuss Manafort's ties to Yanukovych.

While the embassy declined that request, officials there became "helpful" in Chalupa's efforts, she said, explaining that she traded information and leads with them. "If I asked a question, they would provide guidance, or if there was someone I needed to follow up with." But she stressed, "There were no documents given, nothing like that."

Chalupa said the embassy also worked directly with reporters researching Trump, Manafort and Russia to point them in the right directions. She added, though, "they were being very protective and not speaking to the press as much as they should have. I think they were being careful because their situation was that they had to be very, very careful because they could not pick sides. It's a political issue, and they didn't want to get involved politically because they couldn't."

Shulyar vehemently denied working with reporters or with Chalupa on anything related to Trump or Manafort, explaining "we were stormed by many reporters to comment on this subject, but our clear and adamant position was not to give any comment [and] not to interfere into the campaign affairs."

Both Shulyar and Chalupa said the purpose of their initial meeting was to organize a June reception at the embassy to promote Ukraine. According to the embassy's website, the event highlighted female Ukrainian leaders, featuring speeches by Ukrainian parliamentarian Hanna Hopko, who discussed "Ukraine's fight against the Russian aggression in Donbas," and longtime Hillary Clinton confidante Melanne Verveer, who worked for Clinton in the State Department and was a vocal surrogate during the presidential campaign.

Shulyar said her work with Chalupa "didn't involve the campaign," and she specifically stressed that "We have never worked to research and disseminate damaging information about Donald Trump and Paul Manafort."

But Andrii Telizhenko, who worked as a political officer in the Ukrainian Embassy under Shulyar, said she instructed him to help Chalupa research connections between Trump, Manafort and Russia. "Oksana said that if I had any information, or knew other people who did, then I should contact Chalupa," recalled Telizhenko, who is now a political consultant in Kiev. "They were coordinating an investigation with the Hillary team on Paul Manafort with Alexandra Chalupa," he said, adding "Oksana was keeping it all quiet," but "the embassy worked very closely with" Chalupa.

In fact, sources familiar with the effort say that Shulyar specifically called Telizhenko into a meeting with Chalupa to provide an update on an American media outlet's ongoing investigation into Manafort.

Telizhenko recalled that Chalupa told him and Shulyar that, "If we can get enough information on Paul [Manafort] or Trump's involvement with Russia, she can get a hearing in Congress by September."

Chalupa confirmed that, a week after Manafort's hiring was announced, she discussed the possibility of a congressional investigation with a foreign policy legislative assistant in the office of Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), who co-chairs the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus. But, Chalupa said, "It didn't go anywhere."

Asked about the effort, the Kaptur legislative assistant called it a "touchy subject" in an internal email to colleagues that was accidentally forwarded to Politico.

Kaptur's office later emailed an official statement explaining that the lawmaker is backing a bill to create an independent commission to investigate "possible outside interference in our elections." The office added "at this time, the evidence related to this matter points to Russia, but Congresswoman Kaptur is concerned with any evidence of foreign entities interfering in our elections."

•••

Almost as quickly as Chalupa's efforts attracted the attention of the Ukrainian Embassy and Democrats, she also found herself the subject of some unwanted attention from overseas.

Within a few weeks of her initial meeting at the embassy with Shulyar and Chaly, Chalupa on April 20 received the first of what became a series of messages from the administrators of her private Yahoo email account, warning her that "state-sponsored actors" were trying to hack into her emails.

She kept up her crusade, appearing on a panel a week after the initial hacking message to discuss her research on Manafort with a group of Ukrainian investigative journalists gathered at the Library of Congress for a program sponsored by a U.S. congressional agency called the Open World Leadership Center.

Center spokeswoman Maura Shelden stressed that her group is nonpartisan and ensures "that our delegations hear from both sides of the aisle, receiving bipartisan information." She said the Ukrainian journalists in subsequent days met with Republican officials in North Carolina and elsewhere. And she said that, before the Library of Congress event, "Open World's program manager for Ukraine did contact Chalupa to advise her that Open World is a nonpartisan agency of the Congress."

Chalupa, though, indicated in an email that was later hacked and released by WikiLeaks that the Open World Leadership Center "put me on the program to speak specifically about Paul Manafort."

In the email, which was sent in early May to then-DNC communications director Luis Miranda, Chalupa noted that she had extended an invitation to the Library of Congress forum to veteran Washington investigative reporter Michael Isikoff. Two days before the event, he had published a story for Yahoo News revealing the unraveling of a $26 million deal between Manafort and a Russian oligarch related to a telecommunications venture in Ukraine. And Chalupa wrote in the email she'd been "working with for the past few weeks" with Isikoff "and connected him to the Ukrainians" at the event.

Isikoff, who accompanied Chalupa to a reception at the Ukrainian Embassy immediately after the Library of Congress event, declined to comment.

Chalupa further indicated in her hacked May email to the DNC that she had additional sensitive information about Manafort that she intended to share "offline" with Miranda and DNC research director Lauren Dillon, including "a big Trump component you and Lauren need to be aware of that will hit in next few weeks and something I'm working on you should be aware of." Explaining that she didn't feel comfortable sharing the intel over email, Chalupa attached a screenshot of a warning from Yahoo administrators about "state-sponsored" hacking on her account, explaining, "Since I started digging into Manafort these messages have been a daily occurrence on my yahoo account despite changing my password often."

Dillon and Miranda declined to comment.

A DNC official stressed that Chalupa was a consultant paid to do outreach for the party's political department, not a researcher. She undertook her investigations into Trump, Manafort and Russia on her own, and the party did not incorporate her findings in its dossiers on the subjects, the official said, stressing that the DNC had been building robust research books on Trump and his ties to Russia long before Chalupa began sounding alarms.

Nonetheless, Chalupa's hacked email reportedly escalated concerns among top party officials, hardening their conclusion that Russia likely was behind the cyber intrusions with which the party was only then beginning to grapple.

Chalupa left the DNC after the Democratic convention in late July to focus fulltime on her research into Manafort, Trump and Russia . She said she provided off-the-record information and guidance to "a lot of journalists" working on stories related to Manafort and Trump's Russia connections, despite what she described as escalating harassment.

... ... ...

•••

While it's not uncommon for outside operatives to serve as intermediaries between governments and reporters, one of the more damaging Russia-related stories for the Trump campaign -- and certainly for Manafort -- can be traced more directly to the Ukrainian government.

Documents released by an independent Ukrainian government agency -- and publicized by a parliamentarian -- appeared to show $12.7 million in cash payments that were earmarked for Manafort by the Russia-aligned party of the deposed former president, Yanukovych.

The New York Times, in the August story revealing the ledgers' existence, reported that the payments earmarked for Manafort were "a focus" of an investigation by Ukrainian anti-corruption officials, while CNN reported days later that the FBI was pursuing an overlapping inquiry.

Clinton's campaign seized on the story to advance Democrats' argument that Trump's campaign was closely linked to Russia. The ledger represented "more troubling connections between Donald Trump's team and pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine," Robby Mook, Clinton's campaign manager, said in a statement. He demanded that Trump "disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort's and all other campaign employees' and advisers' ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities, including whether any of Trump's employees or advisers are currently representing and or being paid by them."

A former Ukrainian investigative journalist and current parliamentarian named Serhiy Leshchenko, who was elected in 2014 as part of Poroshenko's party, held a news conference to highlight the ledgers, and to urge Ukrainian and American law enforcement to aggressively investigate Manafort.

"I believe and understand the basis of these payments are totally against the law -- we have the proof from these books," Leshchenko said during the news conference, which attracted international media coverage. "If Mr. Manafort denies any allegations, I think he has to be interrogated into this case and prove his position that he was not involved in any misconduct on the territory of Ukraine," Leshchenko added.

Manafort denied receiving any off-books cash from Yanukovych's Party of Regions, and said that he had never been contacted about the ledger by Ukrainian or American investigators, later telling POLITICO "I was just caught in the crossfire."

According to a series of memos reportedly compiled for Trump's opponents by a former British intelligence agent, Yanukovych, in a secret meeting with Putin on the day after the Times published its report, admitted that he had authorized "substantial kickback payments to Manafort." But according to the report, which was published Tuesday by BuzzFeed but remains unverified. Yanukovych assured Putin "that there was no documentary trail left behind which could provide clear evidence of this" -- an alleged statement that seemed to implicitly question the authenticity of the ledger.

The scrutiny around the ledgers -- combined with that from other stories about his Ukraine work -- proved too much, and he stepped down from the Trump campaign less than a week after the Times story.

At the time, Leshchenko suggested that his motivation was partly to undermine Trump. "For me, it was important to show not only the corruption aspect, but that he is [a] pro-Russian candidate who can break the geopolitical balance in the world," Leshchenko told the Financial Times about two weeks after his news conference. The newspaper noted that Trump's candidacy had spurred "Kiev's wider political leadership to do something they would never have attempted before: intervene, however indirectly, in a U.S. election," and the story quoted Leshchenko asserting that the majority of Ukraine's politicians are "on Hillary Clinton's side."

But by this month, Leshchenko was seeking to recast his motivation, telling Politico, "I didn't care who won the U.S. elections. This was a decision for the American voters to decide." His goal in highlighting the ledgers, he said was "to raise these issues on a political level and emphasize the importance of the investigation."

In a series of answers provided to Politico, a spokesman for Poroshenko distanced his administration from both Leshchenko's efforts and those of the agency that reLeshchenko Leshchenko leased the ledgers, The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine. It was created in 2014 as a condition for Ukraine to receive aid from the U.S. and the European Union, and it signed an evidence-sharing agreement with the FBI in late June -- less than a month and a half before it released the ledgers.

The bureau is "fully independent," the Poroshenko spokesman said, adding that when it came to the presidential administration there was "no targeted action against Manafort." He added "as to Serhiy Leshchenko, he positions himself as a representative of internal opposition in the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko's faction, despite [the fact that] he belongs to the faction," the spokesman said, adding, "it was about him personally who pushed [the anti-corruption bureau] to proceed with investigation on Manafort."

But an operative who has worked extensively in Ukraine, including as an adviser to Poroshenko, said it was highly unlikely that either Leshchenko or the anti-corruption bureau would have pushed the issue without at least tacit approval from Poroshenko or his closest allies.

"It was something that Poroshenko was probably aware of and could have stopped if he wanted to," said the operative.

And, almost immediately after Trump's stunning victory over Clinton, questions began mounting about the investigations into the ledgers -- and the ledgers themselves.

An official with the anti-corruption bureau told a Ukrainian newspaper, "Mr. Manafort does not have a role in this case."

And, while the anti-corruption bureau told Politico late last month that a "general investigation [is] still ongoing" of the ledger, it said Manafort is not a target of the investigation. "As he is not the Ukrainian citizen, [the anti-corruption bureau] by the law couldn't investigate him personally," the bureau said in a statement.

Some Poroshenko critics have gone further, suggesting that the bureau is backing away from investigating because the ledgers might have been doctored or even forged.

Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, a Ukrainian former diplomat who served as the country's head of security under Poroshenko but is now affiliated with a leading opponent of Poroshenko, said it was fishy that "only one part of the black ledger appeared." He asked, "Where is the handwriting analysis?" and said it was "crazy" to announce an investigation based on the ledgers. He met last month in Washington with Trump allies, and said, "of course they all recognize that our [anti-corruption bureau] intervened in the presidential campaign."

And in an interview this week, Manafort, who re-emerged as an informal advisor to Trump after Election Day, suggested that the ledgers were inauthentic and called their publication "a politically motivated false attack on me. My role as a paid consultant was public. There was nothing off the books, but the way that this was presented tried to make it look shady."

He added that he felt particularly wronged by efforts to cast his work in Ukraine as pro-Russian, arguing "all my efforts were focused on helping Ukraine move into Europe and the West." He specifically cited his work on denuclearizing the country and on the European Union trade and political pact that Yanukovych spurned before fleeing to Russia. "In no case was I ever involved in anything that would be contrary to U.S. interests," Manafort said.

Yet Russia seemed to come to the defense of Manafort and Trump last month, when a spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry charged that the Ukrainian government used the ledgers as a political weapon.

"Ukraine seriously complicated the work of Trump's election campaign headquarters by planting information according to which Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman, allegedly accepted money from Ukrainian oligarchs," Maria Zakharova said at a news briefing, according to a transcript of her remarks posted on the Foreign Ministry's website. "All of you have heard this remarkable story," she told assembled reporters.

•••

Beyond any efforts to sabotage Trump, Ukrainian officials didn't exactly extend a hand of friendship to the GOP nominee during the campaign.

The ambassador, Chaly, penned an op-ed for The Hill, in which he chastised Trump for a confusing series of statements in which the GOP candidate at one point expressed a willingness to consider recognizing Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea as legitimate. The op-ed made some in the embassy uneasy, sources said.

"That was like too close for comfort, even for them," said Chalupa. "That was something that was as risky as they were going to be."

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk warned on Facebook that Trump had "challenged the very values of the free world."

Ukraine's minister of internal affairs, Arsen Avakov, piled on, trashing Trump on Twitter in July as a "clown" and asserting that Trump is "an even bigger danger to the US than terrorism."

Avakov, in a Facebook post, lashed out at Trump for his confusing Crimea comments, calling the assessment the "diagnosis of a dangerous misfit," according to a translated screenshot featured in one media report, though he later deleted the post. He called Trump "dangerous for Ukraine and the US" and noted that Manafort worked with Yanukovych when the former Ukrainian leader "fled to Russia through Crimea. Where would Manafort lead Trump?"

The Trump-Ukraine relationship grew even more fraught in September with reports that the GOP nominee had snubbed Poroshenko on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where the Ukrainian president tried to meet both major party candidates, but scored only a meeting with Clinton.

Telizhenko, the former embassy staffer, said that, during the primaries, Chaly, the country's ambassador in Washington, had actually instructed the embassy not to reach out to Trump's campaign, even as it was engaging with those of Clinton and Trump's leading GOP rival, Ted Cruz.

"We had an order not to talk to the Trump team, because he was critical of Ukraine and the government and his critical position on Crimea and the conflict," said Telizhenko. "I was yelled at when I proposed to talk to Trump," he said, adding, "The ambassador said not to get involved -- Hillary is going to win."

This account was confirmed by Nalyvaichenko, the former diplomat and security chief now affiliated with a Poroshenko opponent, who said, "The Ukrainian authorities closed all doors and windows -- this is from the Ukrainian side." He called the strategy "bad and short-sighted."

Andriy Artemenko, a Ukrainian parliamentarian associated with a conservative opposition party, did meet with Trump's team during the campaign and said he personally offered to set up similar meetings for Chaly but was rebuffed.

"It was clear that they were supporting Hillary Clinton's candidacy," Artemenko said. "They did everything from organizing meetings with the Clinton team, to publicly supporting her, to criticizing Trump. I think that they simply didn't meet because they thought that Hillary would win."

Shulyar rejected the characterizations that the embassy had a ban on interacting with Trump, instead explaining that it "had different diplomats assigned for dealing with different teams tailoring the content and messaging. So it was not an instruction to abstain from the engagement but rather an internal discipline for diplomats not to get involved into a field she or he was not assigned to, but where another colleague was involved."

And she pointed out that Chaly traveled to the GOP convention in Cleveland in late July and met with members of Trump's foreign policy team "to highlight the importance of Ukraine and the support of it by the U.S."

Despite the outreach, Trump's campaign in Cleveland gutted a proposed amendment to the Republican Party platform that called for the U.S. to provide "lethal defensive weapons" for Ukraine to defend itself against Russian incursion, backers of the measure charged.

The outreach ramped up after Trump's victory. Shulyar pointed out that Poroshenko was among the first foreign leaders to call to congratulate Trump. And she said that, since Election Day, Chaly has met with close Trump allies, including Sens. Jeff Sessions, Trump's nominee for attorney general, and Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, while the ambassador accompanied Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine's vice prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, to a round of Washington meetings with Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), an early Trump backer, and Jim DeMint, president of The Heritage Foundation, which played a prominent role in Trump's transition.

•••

Many Ukrainian officials and operatives and their American allies see Trump's inauguration this month as an existential threat to the country, made worse, they admit, by the dissemination of the secret ledger, the antagonistic social media posts and the perception that the embassy meddled against -- or at least shut out -- Trump.

"It's really bad. The [Poroshenko] administration right now is trying to re-coordinate communications," said Telizhenko, adding, "The Trump organization doesn't want to talk to our administration at all."

During Nalyvaichenko's trip to Washington last month, he detected lingering ill will toward Ukraine from some, and lack of interest from others, he recalled. "Ukraine is not on the top of the list, not even the middle," he said.

Poroshenko's allies are scrambling to figure out how to build a relationship with Trump, who is known for harboring and prosecuting grudges for years.

A delegation of Ukrainian parliamentarians allied with Poroshenko last month traveled to Washington partly to try to make inroads with the Trump transition team, but they were unable to secure a meeting, according to a Washington foreign policy operative familiar with the trip. And operatives in Washington and Kiev say that after the election, Poroshenko met in Kiev with top executives from the Washington lobbying firm BGR -- including Ed Rogers and Lester Munson -- about how to navigate the Trump regime.

Weeks later, BGR reported to the Department of Justice that the government of Ukraine would pay the firm $50,000 a month to "provide strategic public relations and government affairs counsel," including "outreach to U.S. government officials, non-government organizations, members of the media and other individuals."

Firm spokesman Jeffrey Birnbaum suggested that "pro-Putin oligarchs" were already trying to sow doubts about BGR's work with Poroshenko. While the firm maintains close relationships with GOP congressional leaders, several of its principals were dismissive or sharply critical of Trump during the GOP primary, which could limit their effectiveness lobbying the new administration.

The Poroshenko regime's standing with Trump is considered so dire that the president's allies after the election actually reached out to make amends with -- and even seek assistance from -- Manafort, according to two operatives familiar with Ukraine's efforts to make inroads with Trump.

Meanwhile, Poroshenko's rivals are seeking to capitalize on his dicey relationship with Trump's team. Some are pressuring him to replace Chaly, a close ally of Poroshenko's who is being blamed by critics in Kiev and Washington for implementing -- if not engineering -- the country's anti-Trump efforts, according to Ukrainian and U.S. politicians and operatives interviewed for this story. They say that several potential Poroshenko opponents have been through Washington since the election seeking audiences of their own with Trump allies, though most have failed to do do so.

"None of the Ukrainians have any access to Trump -- they are all desperate to get it, and are willing to pay big for it," said one American consultant whose company recently met in Washington with Yuriy Boyko, a former vice prime minister under Yanukovych. Boyko, who like Yanukovych has a pro-Russian worldview, is considering a presidential campaign of his own, and his representatives offered "to pay a shit-ton of money" to get access to Trump and his inaugural events, according to the consultant.

The consultant turned down the work, explaining, "It sounded shady, and we don't want to get in the middle of that kind of stuff."

[May 11, 2019] Intel and Law Enforcement Tried to Entrap Trump by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Breaking news today, courtesy of the New York Times , is that a man with a long history of working with the CIA and a female FBI Informant, traveled to London in September of 2016 and tried unsuccessfully to entrap George Papadopolous. The biggest curiosity is that US intelligence or law enforcement officials fully briefed British intelligence on what they were up to. ..."
"... The FBI disingenuously claims they ran Azra Turk at Papadopolous because they were alarmed ostensibly by Russia's attempts to disrupt the 2016 election. But Papadopolous was not seeking out Russian contacts. He was being baited. It was Mifsud and others tied to British and US intelligence who were bringing up the "opportunity" to work with the Russians. ..."
"... The boomerang from the Democratic Party's failed attempt to connect Donald Trump to Russia's 2016 election meddling is picking up speed, and its flight path crosses right through Moscow's pesky neighbor, Ukraine. That is where there is growing evidence a foreign power was asked, and in some cases tried, to help Hillary Clinton . ..."
"... In written answers to questions, Ambassador Valeriy Chaly's office says DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa sought information from the Ukrainian government on Paul Manafort 's dealings inside the country, in hopes of forcing the issue before Congress. ..."
"... It's not just the left. I listened to Michael Tracey's interview with George Papadopoulos and was stunned to learn about the web of Deep State actors and how our Five Eyes allies were intimately involved in subverting our Presidential election. Papadopoulos even talks about U.S. military attachés, DIA guys, in on this coup. Listen to this Michael Tracey* interview and you will be shaken: https://youtu.be/ZjGLCCP_lPg ..."
"... Neoliberals and neoconservatives (ie zionists) were behind it and continue to push it. Trump ran to the left of Clinton on both domestic and foreign policy. That's why he won, and why the establishment must present his election as de facto illegitimate, because otherwise they would be forced to admit that the bipartisan convergence around both finance driven economic policy and war on terror interventionism that has described elite politics since Clinton has been a disaster for most ordinary Americans -- of all types and political persuasions -- and needs to be destroyed root and branch. ..."
"... What's the likelihood that Carter Page was a plant in the Trump campaign? After all, he had a history with the US IC and was used as bait in an FBI case to prove Russian operatives' recruiting efforts. It's thought he's the Under Cover Employee alluded to in this case, which resulted in the successful prosecution of Russian spies: ..."
"... Here's a National Review exclusive report in which a transcript of FBI's Deputy Assistant Director Jonathan Moffa's testimony reveals several Confidential Human Sources (including Christopher Steele), and more interestingly foreign "liasons" (Mifsud?) were employed by the bureau in this operation: ..."
May 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Intel and Law Enforcement Tried to Entrap Trump by Larry C Johnson

The preponderance of evidence makes this very simple--there was a broad, coordinated effort by the Obama Administration, with the help of foreign governments, to target Donald Trump and paint him as a stooge of Russia.

The Mueller Report provides irrefutable evidence that the so-called Russian collusion case against Donald Trump was a deliberate fabrication by intelligence and law enforcement organizations in the United States and the United Kingdom and organizations aligned with the Clinton Campaign.

Breaking news today, courtesy of the New York Times, is that a man with a long history of working with the CIA and a female FBI Informant, traveled to London in September of 2016 and tried unsuccessfully to entrap George Papadopolous. The biggest curiosity is that US intelligence or law enforcement officials fully briefed British intelligence on what they were up to. Quite understandable given what we now know about British spying on the Trump Campaign.

The Mueller investigation of Trump "collusion" with Russia prior to the 2016 Presidential election focused on eight cases:

  1. Proposed Trump Tower Project in Moscow
  2. George Papadopolous --
  3. Carter Page --
  4. Dimitri Simes --
  5. Veselnetskya Meeting at Trump Tower (June 16, 2016)
  6. Events at Republican Convention
  7. Post-Convention Contacts with Russian Ambassador Kislyak
  8. Paul Manafort

One simple fact emerges--of the eight cases or incidents of alleged Trump Campaign interaction with the Russians investigated by the Mueller team, the proposals to interact with the Russian Government or Putin originated with FBI informants, MI-6 assets or people paid by Fusion GPS, not Trump or his people. There is not a single instance where Donald Trump or any member of his campaign team initiated contact with the Russians for the purpose of gaining derogatory information on Hillary or obtaining support to boost the Trump campaign. Not one.

Simply put, Trump and his campaign were the target of an elaborate, wide ranging covert action designed to entrap him and members of his team as an agent of Russia.

Let's look in detail at each of the cases.

THE PROPOSED TRUMP TOWER PROJECT IN MOSCOW, according to Mueller's report, originated with an FBI Informant--Felix Sater.

Here's what the Mueller Report states:

In the late summer of 2015, the Trump Organization received a new inquiry about pursuing a Trump Tower project in Moscow. In approximately September 2015, Felix Sater . . . contacted Cohen (i.e., Michael Cohen) on behalf of I.C. Expert Investment Company (I.C. Expert), a Russian real-estate development corporation controlled by Andrei Vladimirovich Rozov.

Sater had known Rozov since approximately 2007 and, in 2014, had served as an agent on behalf of Rozov during Rozov's purchase of a building in New York City. Sater later contacted Rozov and proposed that I.C. Expert pursue a Trump Tower Moscow project in which I.C. Expert would license the name and brand from the Trump Organization but construct the building on its own. Sater worked on the deal with Rozov and another employee of I.C. Expert. (see page 69 of the Mueller Report).

Mueller, as I have noted previously , is downright dishonest in failing to identify Sater as an FBI informant. Sater was not just a private entrepreneur looking to make some coin. He was a fully signed up FBI informant. Sater's status as an FBI snitch was first exposed in 2012. Sater also was a boyhood chum of Michael Cohen, the target being baited in this operation. Another inconvenient fact excluded from the Mueller report is that one of Mueller's Chief Prosecutors, Andrew Weissman, signed the deal with Felix Sater in December 1998 that put Sater into the FBI Informant business .

All suggestions for meeting with the Russian Government, including Putin, originated with Felix Sater. The use of Sater on this particular project started in September 2015.

[For more on Sater please see my previous posts, Felix Sater--The Rosetta Stone for the FBI/CIA Conspiracy Against Trump? , Felix Sater and the Steele Dossier .]

GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS

Papadopolous was targeted by British and U.S. intelligence starting in late December 2015, when he is offered out of the blue a job with the London Centre of International Law and Practice Limited (LCILP) . The LCILP has all of the hallmarks of an intelligence front company. LCILP began as an offshoot from another company  --  EN Education Group Limited  --  which describes itself as "a global education consultancy, facilitating links between students, education providers and organisations with an interest in education worldwide".

EN Education and LCILP are owned and run by Nagi Khalid Idris, a 48-year-old British citizen of Sudanese origin. For no apparent reason Idris offers Papadopolous a job as the Director of the LCILP's International Energy and Natural Resources Division. Then in March of 2016, Idris and Arvinder Sambei (who acted as an attorney for the FBI on a 9-11 extradition case in the UK), insist on introducing Joseph Mifsud to Papadopolous.

It is Joseph Mifsud who introduces the idea of meeting Putin following a lunch in London:

"The lunch is booked for March 24 at the Grange Holborn Hotel,. . . . "When I get there, Mifsud is waiting for me in the lobby with an attractive, fashionably dressed young woman with dirty blonde hair at his side. He introduces her as Olga Vinogradova." (p. 76)

"Mifsud sells her hard. "Olga is going to be your inside woman to Moscow. She knows everyone." He tells me she was a former official at the Russian Ministry of Trade. Then he waxes on about introducing me to the Russian ambassador in London." (p. 77)

"On April 12, "Olga" writes: "I have already alerted my personal links to our conversation and your request. The embassy in London is very much aware of this. As mentioned, we are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump. The Russian Federation would love to welcome him once his candidature would be officially announced."

And it is Mifsud who raises the possibility of getting dirt on Hillary:

"Then Mifsud returns from the Valdai conference. On April 26 we meet for breakfast at the Andaz Hotel, near Liverpool Street Station, one of the busiest train stations in London. He's in an excellent mood and claims he met with high-level Russian government officials. But once again, he's very short on specifics. This is becoming a real pattern with Mifsud. He hasn't offered any names besides Timofeev. Then, he leans across the table in a conspiratorial manner. The Russians have "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, he tells me. "Emails of Clinton," he says. "They have thousands of emails."

Here again we encounter the lying and obfuscation of the Mueller team. They falsely characterize Mifsud as an agent of Russia. In fact, he has close and longstanding ties to both British and US intelligence ( Disobedient Media lays out the Mifsud mystery in detail ).

Mifsud was not alone. The FBI and the CIA also were in the game of trying to entrap Papadopolous. In September of 2016, Papadopolous was being wined and dined by Halper (who has longstanding ties to the US intelligence community) and Azra Turk, an FBI Informant/researcher ( see NY Times ).

The FBI disingenuously claims they ran Azra Turk at Papadopolous because they were alarmed ostensibly by Russia's attempts to disrupt the 2016 election. But Papadopolous was not seeking out Russian contacts. He was being baited. It was Mifsud and others tied to British and US intelligence who were bringing up the "opportunity" to work with the Russians.

CARTER PAGE

The section of the Mueller report that deals with Carter Page is a total travesty. Mueller and his team, for example, initially misrepresent Page's status with the Trump campaign--he is described as "working" for the campaign, which implies a paid position, when he was in fact only a volunteer foreign policy advisor. Mueller also paints Page's prior experience and work in Russia as evidence that Page was being used by Russian intelligence, but says nothing about the fact that Page was being regularly debriefed by the CIA and the FBI during the same period. In other words, Page was cooperating with US intelligence and law enforcement. But this fact is omitted in the Mueller report.

Mueller eventually accurately describes Page's role in the Trump campaign as follows:

In January 2016, Page began volunteering on an informal, unpaid basis for the Trump Campaign after Ed Cox, a state Republican Party official, introduced Page to Trump Campaign officials. Page told the Office that his goal in working on the Campaign was to help candidate Trump improve relations with Russia. To that end, Page emailed Campaign officials offering his thoughts on U.S.-Russia relations, prepared talking points and briefing memos on Russia, and proposed that candidate Trump meet with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

In communications with Campaign officials, Page also repeatedly touted his high-level contacts in Russia and his ability to forge connections between candidate Trump and senior Russian governmental officials. For example, on January 30, 2016, Page sent an email to senior Campaign officials stating that he had "spent the past week in Europe and had been in discussions with some individuals with close ties to the Kremlin" who recognized that Trump could have a "game-changing effect . .. in bringing the end of the new Cold War. The email stated that " [t]hrough [his] discussions with these high level contacts," Page believed that "a direct meeting in Moscow between Mr. Trump and Putin could be arranged.

The Mueller presentation portrays Carter Page in a nefarious, negative light. His contacts with Russia are characterized as inappropriate and unjustified. Longstanding business experience in a particular country is not proof of wrong doing. No consideration is given at all to Page's legitimate concerns raising about the dismal state of US/Russia relations following the US backed coup in the Ukraine and the subsequent annexation of Crimea by Russia.

Page's association with the Trump campaign was quite brief--he lasted seven months, being removed as a foreign policy advisor on 24 September. Page was not identified publicly as a Trump foreign policy advisor until March of 2016, but the evidence presented in the Mueller report clearly indicates that Page was already a target of intelligence agencies, in the US and abroad, long before the FISA warrant of October 2016.

While serving on the foreign policy team Page continued his business and social contacts in Russia, but was never tasked by the Trump team to pursue or promote contacts with Putin and his team. In fact, Page's proposals, suggestions and recommendations were either ignored or directly rebuffed.

The timeline reported in the Mueller report regarding Page's trip to Russia in early July raises questions about the intel collected on that trip and the so-called "intel" revealed in the Steele Dossier with respect to Page. Carter admits to meeting with individuals, such as Dmitry Peskov and Igor Sechin, who appear in the Steele Dossier. Page's meetings in Moscow turned out to be innocuous and uneventful. Nothing he did resembled clandestine activity. Yet, the Steele report on that visit suggested just the opposite and used the tactic of guilt by association to imply that Page was up to something dirty.

The bottomline for Mueller is that Page did not do anything wrong and no one in the Trump Campaign embraced his proposals for closer ties with Russia.

DMITRI SIMES

The targeting and investigation of Dmitri Simes is disgusting and an abuse of law enforcement authority. Full disclosure. I know Dmitri. For awhile, in the 2002-2003 time period, I was a regular participant at Nixon Center events. For example, I was at a round table in December 2002 on the imminent invasion of Iraq. Colonel Pat Lang sat on one side of me and Ambassador Joe Wilson on the other. Directly across the table was Charles Krauthammer. Dmitri ran an honest seminar.

The entire section on Dmitri Simes, under other circumstances, could be viewed as something bizarre and amusing. But the mere idea that Simes was somehow an agent of Putin and a vehicle for helping Trump work with the Russians to steal the 2016 election is crazy and idiotic. Those in the FBI who were so stupid as to buy into this nonsense should have their badges and guns taken away. They are too dumb to work in law enforcement.

Dmitri's only sin was to speak calmly, intelligently and rationally about foreign policy dealings with Russia. We now know that in this new hysteria of the 21st Century Russian scare that qualities such as reason and rationality are proof of one's willingness to act as a puppet of Vladimir Putin.

TRUMP TOWER MEETING (JUNE 9, 2016)

This is the clearest example of a plant designed to entrap the Trump team. Mueller, once again, presents a very disingenuous account:

On June 9, 2016, senior representatives of the Trump Campaign met in Trump Tower with a Russian attorney expecting to receive derogatory information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. The meeting was proposed to Donald Trump Jr. in an email from Robert Goldstone, at the request of his then-client Emin Agalarov, the son of Russian real-estate developer Aras Agalarov. Goldstone relayed to Trump Jr. that the "Crown prosecutor of Russia ... offered to provide the Trump Campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia" as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." Trump Jr. immediately responded that "if it's what you say I love it," and arranged the meeting through a series of emails and telephone calls.

The meeting was with a Russian attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya.

The Russian attorney who spoke at the meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had previously worked for the Russian government and maintained a relationship with that government throughout this period oftime. She claimed that funds derived from illegal activities in Russia were provided to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats. Trump Jr. requested evidence to support those claims, but Veselnitskaya did not provide such information.

Ignore for a moment that no information on Hillary was passed or provided (and doing such a thing is not illegal). The real problem is with what Mueller does not say and did not investigate. Mueller conveniently declines to mention the fact that Veselnitskaya was working closely with the firm Hillary Clinton hired to produce the Steele Dossier. NBC News reported on Veselnitskaya:

The information that a Russian lawyer brought with her when she met Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016 stemmed from research conducted by Fusion GPS, the same firm that compiled the infamous Trump dossier, according to the lawyer and a source familiar with the matter.

In an interview with NBC News, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya says she first received the supposedly incriminating information she brought to Trump Tower -- describing alleged tax evasion and donations to Democrats -- from Glenn Simpson , the Fusion GPS owner, who had been hired to conduct research in a New York federal court case.

Even a mediocre investigator would recognize the problem of the relationship between the lawyer claiming to have dirty, damning info on Hillary with the firm Hillary hired to dig up dirt on Donald Trump. This was another botched set up and the Trump folks did not take the bait.

EVENTS AT THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION

This portion of the Mueller report is complete farce. Foreign Ambassdors, including the Russian (and the Chinese) attend Republican and Democrat Conventions. Presidential candidates and their advisors speak to those Ambassadors. So, where is the beef? Answer. There isn't any. That this "event" was considered something worthy of a counter intelligence investigation is just one more piece of evidence that law enforcement and intelligence were weaponized against the Trump campaign.

POST-CONVENTION CONTACTS WITH RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR KISLYAK

Ditto. As noted in the previous paragraph, trying to criminalize normal diplomatic contacts, especially with a country where we share important, vital national security interests, is but further evidence of the crazy anti-Russian hysteria that has infected the anti-Trumpers. Pathetic.

MANAFORT

If Paul Manafort had rebuffed Trump's offer to run his campaign, he would be walking free today and still buying expensive suits and evading taxes along with his Clinton buddy, Greg Craig. Instead, he became another target for DOJ and intel community and the DNC, which were desperate to portray Trump as a tool of the Kremlin. Thanks to John Solomon of The Hill, we now know the impetus to target Manafort came from the DNC :

The boomerang from the Democratic Party's failed attempt to connect Donald Trump to Russia's 2016 election meddling is picking up speed, and its flight path crosses right through Moscow's pesky neighbor, Ukraine. That is where there is growing evidence a foreign power was asked, and in some cases tried, to help Hillary Clinton .

In its most detailed account yet, Ukraine's embassy in Washington says a Democratic National Committee insider during the 2016 election solicited dirt on Donald Trump's campaign chairman and even tried to enlist the country's president to help.

In written answers to questions, Ambassador Valeriy Chaly's office says DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa sought information from the Ukrainian government on Paul Manafort 's dealings inside the country, in hopes of forcing the issue before Congress.

Manafort was not colluding, but the Clinton campaign and the Obama Administration most certainly were.

Take these eight events as a whole a very clear picture emerges--US and foreign intelligence (especially the UK) and US law enforcement collaborated in a broad effort to bait the Trump team with ostensible Russian entreaties in order to paint Trump as a tool of the Kremlin. That effort is now being exposed and those culpable will hopefully face justice. This should sicken and alarm every American regardless of political party. Will justice be served?

notlurking , 03 May 2019 at 08:16 AM

we're not in Kansas anymore.....
Joe100 , 03 May 2019 at 08:43 AM
Great work!

I just read the following about special visas approved for some of the FBI "operatives" (from SD at CTH): "It wasn't just the CIA that was using spies to "dirty up" Trump associates. The FBI was doing it too. There was the infamous Natalia Veselnitskaya who is known for her part in the Trump Tower meeting. She had been banned from the country but got a special visa signed off by Preet Bahara of the FBI, Southern District of New York. Henry Greenburg, the known FBI informant who tried to entrap Roger Stone, also got a special visa. And I'm sure there are many more "

Gerard M , 03 May 2019 at 09:06 AM
IMO, there is no coming back from this. Apart from this Deep State coup attempt, we have seen that democracy is a shame, it's all theater. The Establishment (which includes GOP) is constantly working to undermine Trump and thwart his plans to do what the American people want and elected him for. What I've found quite disturbing is that the controlling puppet masters have not let up in trying to remove or neutralize Trump. As if they can't wait even 4 years to again fully stack the deck and regain total control. They are not willing to concede that 2016 was a political black swan event involving a celebrity billionaire American icon. And conceding and allowing this fluke to be rectified I'm 4 short years is worse than their pushback exposing the political system as a rigged game.

The events of the last 2.5 years have radically altered my views. I no longer have any faith in democracy (voting), the government, the federal courts, law enforcement, et al. And I can't see me regaining any faith in them. What I have seen in the past 2.5 years is kind of like finding out my wife of decades, whom I idolized, has been cheating with my friend from childhood, whom I would've laid down my life for. And all the other people close to me not telling me.

I now only have faith in only God and beagles.

Fred -> Gerard M... , 03 May 2019 at 10:40 AM
It's not the black swan event that concerns the guilty but the fear of just retribution by those who see just how black hearted the left has become.
Gerard M said in reply to Fred ... , 03 May 2019 at 12:25 PM
It's not just the left. I listened to Michael Tracey's interview with George Papadopoulos and was stunned to learn about the web of Deep State actors and how our Five Eyes allies were intimately involved in subverting our Presidential election. Papadopoulos even talks about U.S. military attachés, DIA guys, in on this coup. Listen to this Michael Tracey* interview and you will be shaken: https://youtu.be/ZjGLCCP_lPg

*Tracey, btw, is on the left. But like Glenn Greenwald and others on the left he is an honest journalist interested in the truth.

Ligurio said in reply to Fred ... , 03 May 2019 at 02:16 PM
The "left" was not behind and does not buy into this Russia psyop. Neoliberals and neoconservatives (ie zionists) were behind it and continue to push it. Trump ran to the left of Clinton on both domestic and foreign policy. That's why he won, and why the establishment must present his election as de facto illegitimate, because otherwise they would be forced to admit that the bipartisan convergence around both finance driven economic policy and war on terror interventionism that has described elite politics since Clinton has been a disaster for most ordinary Americans -- of all types and political persuasions -- and needs to be destroyed root and branch.

To see how and why the "left" differs from corporate identity-politicking liberals in the above regard consider how it is that Tulsi Gabbard is both the Dem candidate most respected by principled Trump supporters on this site and others and the Dem candidate most reviled, ignored, and slandered by DNC liberals and neocons alike.

The enemy to principled conservatives and the left in this country is the bipartisan establishment corporate neoliberalism of the RNC and DNC alike.

Fred -> Ligurio... , 03 May 2019 at 08:53 PM
That's as convenient a lie as any other.
akaPatience , 03 May 2019 at 11:56 AM
What's the likelihood that Carter Page was a plant in the Trump campaign? After all, he had a history with the US IC and was used as bait in an FBI case to prove Russian operatives' recruiting efforts. It's thought he's the Under Cover Employee alluded to in this case, which resulted in the successful prosecution of Russian spies:

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/evgeny-buryakov-pleads-guilty-manhattan-federal-court-connection-conspiracy-work

Anonymous said in reply to akaPatience ... , 03 May 2019 at 04:05 PM
Page is just a goofball grifter. He's not a plant. That is silly. When they saw names like Page and Manafort the Democrats pounced because they knew the could cast aspersions.

I'm not sure about Mifsud. I think it would be hard for Mueller to knowingly indict Papadop if Mifsud were an asset of the US (or even known to be an asset of allies). I think it is more likely Mifsud was a free agent.

All these guys Mifsud, Page, Papadop were grifters, not doing real work. Just running around trying to make a buck by claiming to facilitate meetings. It's a shame it bit them and not a crime to do what they did. At the same time, I can't help but see some kharmic justice. GET A JOB, you poly sci lightweights!

walrus said in reply to Anonymous... , 03 May 2019 at 06:11 PM
This anonymous commentator has never spent time in senior levels of business or government. There is a whole class of people who do not see themselves as Grifters but more as "ideas men".

The best offer valuable perspectives on the world, can really open doors and otherwise add value. At the other end of the spectrum are con men. Political campaigns and large corporations of any sort attract these people in droves. The skill in management is to sort the wheat from the chaff. Trump is good at that.

akaPatience -> Anonymous... , 03 May 2019 at 06:56 PM
Yes, Page often comes off as a bit crazy and incoherent. But he may be crazy like a fox. In the end he was never charged with ANYTHING and it's my understanding he represented himself legally throughout the investigation, opting not to hire counsel. I find it odd that others were prosecuted for process crimes but he escaped even THAT fate.

His participation in the Trump campaign, limited as it was, was nevertheless KEY in finally obtaining a FISA warrant after other attempts failed.

Consider it silly if you want. I view him at least worthy of suspicion. His hapless demeanor could be his schtick , when his education, experience and IC connections are taken into consideration.

Anonymous said in reply to akaPatience ... , 04 May 2019 at 06:09 PM
Page represents himself poorly even when he knows a lot is on the line. Look at how frustrated Gowdy got with him. Clearly Page didn't learn much from plebe year in terms of 5 basic responses. Compare the difference with Barr for instance.

While the Trident program is a big deal, every now and then USNA has mids that are diligent about getting good grades but not very smart. I knew one my year. Page is clearly in that vein. Don't miss that he didn't get into any elite program after graduation (SWO is the default). And that he was a poly sci major. The saying is "poly sci, QPR high" (QPR is quality point rating or GPA). Of course this is not to say there aren't some good SWOs or poly sci majors. But there's a definite correlation I'm noting. It fits with what his reputation is.

Furthermore, the guy has had an uneventful career, bouncing around. He went to a lower bulge bracket (not Goldman) and didn't seem to stick. And his Russian colleagues said he was an idiot and a boaster. We're not talking i-banker smart. Wouldn't trust him to do an NPV or other economic analysis. And then after that we have the grifting and the shmoozing.

Kid is a lightweight. A slightly less coffee-boy coffee boy.

catherine said in reply to Bill H ... , 03 May 2019 at 07:02 PM
''They cannot convict based on a law that was passed after the act was committed''

Money laundering has always been against the law of course....the NY law just firmed up the due diligence that is suppose to be done in transactions. I don't think there is a statute of limitations on things like fraud, tax evasion and money laundering but I will check it out to see

walrus said in reply to catherine... , 03 May 2019 at 04:37 PM
Catherine, in current PC thinking, merely passing the salt to a Russian guest at a dinner party makes you "an unregistered foreign agent" of Russia bent on implementing Putin's evil plans.

As for certifying real estate deals, the same crowd would view buying someone a MacDonalds hamburger as attempted bribery.

catherine said in reply to walrus ... , 03 May 2019 at 07:34 PM
''As for certifying real estate deals, the same crowd would view buying someone a MacDonalds hamburger as attempted bribery.''

Hardly. 7 million dollar cash deals for a condo thru a shell company is a red flag however..as is buying property for 1 million and selling it unimproved the next year for 2 million...or buying a house in LA 11 million and selling it 9 months later for 8 million. That 'in between money" is someone's pay off....that's how it works.

Money laundering is epidemic in the US and Europe....Israeli mafia, Russian oligarchs, African dictators looting their country's treasury and running it through a real estate washing machine deal. Far be from me to sweep the fairy dust out of Trump supporters eyes but, as I said, Trump's troubles are far from over. We will see what comes out in the future.

VietnamVet , 03 May 2019 at 05:40 PM
The soft coup against Donald Trump failed. He has to run hard and sure to win in 2020 to avoid an indictment in NY State when he leaves the Presidency. Corporate Democrats will do their damnedst again to put forth their weakest pro war candidate like the aged, apparently demented, Joe Biden. This fiasco and the recent coup attempt in Venezuela make the Keystone Cops appear competent.

I put this all down to Washington DC being completely isolated inside their credentialed bubble. It is just like corporate CEOs, who think they know exactly what they are doing. But, in reality, they are destroying the stabilizing middle class by extracting and hording wealth and turning mid-America into their colony. Globalist and nationalist oligarchs are after each other's throat over who controls the flow of money.

We live on a very finite world dependent on one sun in an expanding universe. Just like Boeing, Bayer or Volkswagen, the splintering world is starting to crash all around them. Even as they deny it, this is a multi-polar world now. It is not going back without a world war which would destroy civilization and could make the world uninhabitable for humans.

Bill H -> VietnamVet... , 04 May 2019 at 01:26 AM
And the best that our government can do is warn us not to wash our chicken before cooking it because washing merely spreads the salmonella that our food industry is unable to prevent from infecting it.
English Outsider -> VietnamVet... , 04 May 2019 at 01:15 PM
The trouble is that those CEO's do know exactly what they are doing. Making money the only way possible in a business environment in which outsourcing can sometimes be the only thing that pays.

The idea was that Trump was going to change that environment. Bannon calls its "economic nationalism" but in truth it's now just economic survival. Survival for those whose jobs are outsourced. Survival for the country as a whole, ultimately. That was Trump's core programme. It was the programme that made him different from all other Western politicians, "populist" or status quo. Do you see any sign that it's being implemented, or has that programme too got bogged down in the swamp?

Mad Max_22 , 03 May 2019 at 06:44 PM
Will justice be served? A good question.

If we are speaking about criminal justice, there is some chance that we will see persons such as Jim Comey, who persists in his smug higher calling act, prosecuted for what was a clear cut violation in divulging classified material through a lawyer intermediary to the NYT. I suspect the higher calling bit has been prompted in part because he knows that he screwed up both on the facts and in law and he is justifying his screw up to himself, and possibly also rehearsing his defense, with the rationale that he was only trying to do the right thing. Yeah, he may have had the facts all wrong, the Russians, etc, etc, but the worst that can be said is that he had been competent, there was no intent. That defense doesn't do much for the FBI's once held reputation for competence, but that appears to be gone anyway.

With regard to what will be turned up concerning the actual roots of the travesty, the heavily politicized faux investigation into the Clinton e mails and targeting of the Trump campaign on a predicate that is somewhere between nebulous and non existant, I think a criminal prosecution arising from that investigation, even if it is serious, is unlikely for two main reasons. First, what will be the charged violations? As best I can see right now, they will have to entail some imaginative application of fraud statutes, defrauding the FISC, defrauding the US, informants and assets lying to their handlers, or process crimes like Bob Mueller's partisan posse relied upon (ugly); and second, something like the Comey defense will interpenetrate all the individuals and entities involved: we may have been incredible bunglers, but that is the worst of it. We really believed these charlatans who conned us into this debacle. Sorry, but we thought we were doing the right thing.

Now if we are talking about seeing some kind of political or moral justice, I'm not too optimistic we will get much satisfaction there either and we will probably have to wait for history. The reason is that Barr will conduct this investigation by the rule book. That means that what we see developed through the process, indictment, prosecution, etc, is likely all,that we will ever see. Barr is very unlikely to produce a politcized manifesto to be employed as a smear weapon like the once reputable Mueller did.

Anyway, until we see a special FGJ empanelled, some search warrants executed, some tactical immunities offered, everything is on the come.

Jack , 03 May 2019 at 08:26 PM
All,

What probability do you assign that any top official will be indicted and prosecuted? I mean Brennan, Clapper, Comey & Lynch.

Second, what probability do you assign that Trump will declassify the relevant documents and communications like the FISA application,the originating EC, the tasking orders for FBI/CIA spying, etc.

blue peacock said in reply to Jack... , 04 May 2019 at 12:27 PM
Jack,

The question really comes down to Trump. Does he really want to expose the Swamp and pay the price or just use it for rhetorical & political purposes? When considering probabilities and looking at his track record in office on foreign policy relative to his campaign stance, I would say the probability is less than 30% that Brennan & Clapper will be indicted.

David Habakkuk -> blue peacock... , 04 May 2019 at 03:07 PM
bp,

The question is only very partly what Trump wants, in some abstract sense. Situations like this commonly have a strong escalatory logic. So one needs to ask whether or not he has rational reason to believe that unless he can destroy those who have shown themselves prepared to stop at nothing to destroy him, they will eventually succeed.

If the answer is yes - and while I think it may very well be, I am not prejudging the issue - then a key question becomes whether Trump will conclude that his most promising loption is to go after the conspirators by every means possible.

Involved here are questions about who he is listening to, and how competent they are.

But the escalatory processes are not simply to do with what Trump decides. In particular, a whole range of legal proceedings are involved. The referral in relation to Nellie Ohr is likely to be the fist of a good few. In addition, Ed Butowsky's lawsuits, and those against Steele, have unpredictable potentialities.

blue peacock said in reply to David Habakkuk ... , 04 May 2019 at 07:11 PM
David

The intelligence & law enforcement apparatus in collusion with the media and the establishment of both parties went after him hard. As Larry notes here, they went to considerable effort to entrap those related to his campaign to impugn him. Mueller spent $35 million trying to find an angle. Even after the Mueller report stated there was no collusion they're sill after him. So that's not going to end any time soon.

Trump may have good instincts but his judgment of people so far to staff his administration is not very inspiring. He had Jeff Sessions as his AG and he let him hang in there for nearly two years while Mueller ran riot. He's surrounded himself with neocons on foreign policy. It seems his only real advisor is Jared. Everyone else he's got around him are from the same establishment that's going after him. He hasn't taken advise from Devin Nunes, who has done more to uncover the sedition than anyone else. If he had he would have by now declassified all the documents & communications. The impression I have is his primary motivation is building his brand & less about governance and wielding power. Take for example his order to withdraw from Syria. Bolton & the Pentagon are thumbing their noses at him.

Well, there have been several criminal referrals prior to the recent one on Nellie Ohr. There's the McCabe referral and the 8 referrals by Devin Nunes. I've not read any report of the empaneling of a grand jury yet. I agree with you that these law suits have the potential for great embarrassment, however to hold those responsible for the sedition accountable will require iron will & intense focus on the part of Trump to get his AG to assign prosecutors who don't have the axe to "protect" the "institution" and to create an opportunity for public awareness of the extent that law enforcement & intelligence became a 4th branch of government. My opinion is that his skill is in his instinctual understanding of the current political zeitgeist and his ability to manipulate the media including social media to project his brand. He's not an operational leader making sure his team executes his vision & strategy.

akaPatience , 04 May 2019 at 07:11 PM
Here's a National Review exclusive report in which a transcript of FBI's Deputy Assistant Director Jonathan Moffa's testimony reveals several Confidential Human Sources (including Christopher Steele), and more interestingly foreign "liasons" (Mifsud?) were employed by the bureau in this operation:

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/05/fbi-official-testimony-surveillance-trump-campaign/

[Apr 16, 2019] Was Manafort a sacrificial lamb for CIA?

Apr 16, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Wow! Thanks for this history lesson. I had read Mueller past resume before but Manafort's connections throughout are also very interesting.

@Leveymg would enjoy your post very much and might even have a few things to add.

So why then I must ask, did they turn on Manafort?

Too splashy for their tastes?
A sacrificial lamb albeit CIA? up 9 users have voted.


span y Bob In Portland on Mon, 04/15/2019 - 8:21pm

Lee Harvey Manafort?

@Sirena From here it looks like he'll get a pardon from Trump, but the Agency has allowed many an agent to take the fall. There was the most famous, Lee Harvey Oswald. There was an agent named Edwin Wilson years ago who set up an arms company. He was busted for selling C4 to the Khaddafy regime back in the 1970s. Wilson went to jail but pleaded that he was working for US intelligence to try to get close the the Khadaffy regime. Wilson's group were also alleged to have trained members of the PFLP-GC to build bombs. A cell of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command were suspects in the Pan Am 103 bombing. By the way, Wilson's conviction was eventually overturned.

So there's that.

I had read Mueller past resume before but Manafort's connections throughout are also very interesting.

@Leveymg would enjoy your post very much and might even have a few things to add.

So why then I must ask, did they turn on Manafort?

Too splashy for their tastes?
A sacrificial lamb albeit CIA?

span y Linda Wood on Mon, 04/15/2019 - 10:46pm
Yes,

@Sirena

I agree with Bob in Portland that any or all of the indicted and convicted in the current Spygate affair, except Gen. Flynn, will likely be pardoned or just serve light sentences. Papadopoulos' sentence was 14 days. He's on to the next thing. I think Flynn is a whistleblower and an enemy of the CIA, so I think they wanted him out of government even more than they want Trump out. But Manafort, Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Craig, et al, are all players, assets, "consultants," and informants. Even Deripaska has worked with Mueller in the past.

I had read Mueller past resume before but Manafort's connections throughout are also very interesting.

@Leveymg would enjoy your post very much and might even have a few things to add.

So why then I must ask, did they turn on Manafort?

Too splashy for their tastes?
A sacrificial lamb albeit CIA?

span y Sirena on Tue, 04/16/2019 - 12:52am
I agree w you

@Bob In Portland @Linda Wood
If one reads Seymour Hersh, the Obama Admin had an axe to grind w Gen Flynn in that he didn't go along w their narrative in Syria.

If anyone, he is the most sympathetic character to me of all and deserving of a pardon.
His crime...lying to the corrupt FBI.

#4

I agree with Bob in Portland that any or all of the indicted and convicted in the current Spygate affair, except Gen. Flynn, will likely be pardoned or just serve light sentences. Papadopoulos' sentence was 14 days. He's on to the next thing. I think Flynn is a whistleblower and an enemy of the CIA, so I think they wanted him out of government even more than they want Trump out. But Manafort, Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Craig, et al, are all players, assets, "consultants," and informants. Even Deripaska has worked with Mueller in the past.

#4 From here it looks like he'll get a pardon from Trump, but the Agency has allowed many an agent to take the fall. There was the most famous, Lee Harvey Oswald. There was an agent named Edwin Wilson years ago who set up an arms company. He was busted for selling C4 to the Khaddafy regime back in the 1970s. Wilson went to jail but pleaded that he was working for US intelligence to try to get close the the Khadaffy regime. Wilson's group were also alleged to have trained members of the PFLP-GC to build bombs. A cell of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command were suspects in the Pan Am 103 bombing. By the way, Wilson's conviction was eventually overturned.

So there's that.

span y gulfgal98 on Tue, 04/16/2019 - 5:38am
History

I find your tracking of the history of these characters fascinating. The more we know and find out about them, the more we will realize that this country is actually being run by a small and very interconnected group of people, all of whom have CIA or deep state connections.

While many here probably have already known this, I am just learning how connected they all are as a result of great essays such as yours, Bob. I hope you will continue to connect the dots for us in future essays.

span y The Voice In th... on Tue, 04/16/2019 - 10:05am
A Nomenklatura?

@gulfgal98
Sometimes I think this is true for all countries at all times.

I find your tracking of the history of these characters fascinating. The more we know and find out about them, the more we will realize that this country is actually being run by a small and very interconnected group of people, all of whom have CIA or deep state connections.

While many here probably have already known this, I am just learning how connected they all are as a result of great essays such as yours, Bob. I hope you will continue to connect the dots for us in future essays.

span y studentofearth on Tue, 04/16/2019 - 11:19am
Illusion of Democracy protects the ruling group from

@gulfgal98 accountability of their actions. A circular firing squad is created to keep the mass population in an unsettled state of finger pointing and self recrimination of who voted for who.

The first election I participated in was 1980. My whole adult life has been politically and economically rigged. It doesn't mean I wasn't able to fit through a few cracks, but those opportunities are only open for short periods of time. Then sealed and those that make it through are cajoled into believing they are special or more responsible than the "losers" or "undeserving".

Our danger and opportunity is when the ruling group passes the torch to family members rather than individuals who rose through the ranks due to competence.

1) A brighter light needs to be shown on those that have been identified on the "Group".

2) A full mapping of individuals, non-government agencies (non-profits) and corporations needs to be worked on, distributed and publicized. Basically identify all "legal persons" according to the current interpretation of the constitution.

3) A full mapping of international hiding spots for money, surveillance, directed violence and food control.

American's tendency to finger point needs to be deflected to the source of power. It would also help if we would stop focusing on identifying a messiah worthy of caring the torch to our salvation. Instead look at them as individuals doing their part in removing treads from the tapestry of illusion surrounding us. Those weak spots need to be expanded into holes to shine light a little deeper and walk/run/sit/fight/spend our way to better community.

I find your tracking of the history of these characters fascinating. The more we know and find out about them, the more we will realize that this country is actually being run by a small and very interconnected group of people, all of whom have CIA or deep state connections.

While many here probably have already known this, I am just learning how connected they all are as a result of great essays such as yours, Bob. I hope you will continue to connect the dots for us in future essays.

span y Bob In Portland on Tue, 04/16/2019 - 11:50am
Daniel Brandt

@studentofearth At one point Daniel Brandt made a graph connecting various people in the dark government. It wasn't very useful for me but was a great idea.

When I write these connect-the-dot pieces, it's to hint at how things are really done at the highest levels. I've used this simile before but these public performers are like a Shakespearean troupe. This month this guy plays MacBeth, that guy plays Polonius. When they get into Henry IV Polonius becomes Falstaff.

That Robert Mueller could be a good guy to liberals is a laugh, but he's wearing a new costume this time around.

Manafort is a miserable character and he generates little sympathy from me, but he's not the evildoer that Mueller makes him out to be. He's merely a diversion.

And the current play being performed is written by the Agency, not Shakespeare.

And the concept of fake news versus real news is impossible for most to plumb because there is so little truth shared with the public.

#5 accountability of their actions. A circular firing squad is created to keep the mass population in an unsettled state of finger pointing and self recrimination of who voted for who.

The first election I participated in was 1980. My whole adult life has been politically and economically rigged. It doesn't mean I wasn't able to fit through a few cracks, but those opportunities are only open for short periods of time. Then sealed and those that make it through are cajoled into believing they are special or more responsible than the "losers" or "undeserving".

Our danger and opportunity is when the ruling group passes the torch to family members rather than individuals who rose through the ranks due to competence.

1) A brighter light needs to be shown on those that have been identified on the "Group".

2) A full mapping of individuals, non-government agencies (non-profits) and corporations needs to be worked on, distributed and publicized. Basically identify all "legal persons" according to the current interpretation of the constitution.

3) A full mapping of international hiding spots for money, surveillance, directed violence and food control.

American's tendency to finger point needs to be deflected to the source of power. It would also help if we would stop focusing on identifying a messiah worthy of caring the torch to our salvation. Instead look at them as individuals doing their part in removing treads from the tapestry of illusion surrounding us. Those weak spots need to be expanded into holes to shine light a little deeper and walk/run/sit/fight/spend our way to better community.

[Apr 16, 2019] The Six Degrees of Paul Manafort caucus99percent

Apr 16, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

The Six Degrees of Paul Manafort

span y Bob In Portland on Mon, 04/15/2019 - 3:59pm Under the general rubric of conspiracy theory is the subset called "coincidence theory", which dismisses connections between people as mere happenstance in order to dismiss any thought of networks that exist beyond public scrutiny. But these networks do exist. Sometimes history takes decades to find them, but they exist. Let's take a peek at networks in Paul Manafort's life.

Manafort was an advisor for four Republican presidential candidates: Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and Bob Dole. Three of these men were connected to the CIA. Gerald Ford was on the Warren Commission and helped its conclusions of a single assassin by moving the bullet hole several inches up from JFK's back to the back of JFK's neck. It was an obvious fraud, and he should have been prosecuted as an accessory after the fact. There are other indications that he was involved with the CIA's mind control program prior to his political career. Ronald Reagan while governor of California blocked extradition requests from New Orleans DA Jim Garrison in the investigation into President Kennedy's murder. Reagan was governor at the time of JFK's brother's assassination in Los Angeles. I'll refer readers to Lisa Pease's A LIE TOO BIG TO FAIL about Reagan during that time. Reagan was also the spokesman for the Crusade For Freedom, a CIA psyop started in the 1950s which in conjunction with Radio Free Europe promoted former Nazis and fascists allied with Hitler during WWII and which imported many of these Nazis into the US. George HW Bush was the CIA Director under Ford, and investigations put him as a CIA agent or asset since his college days at Yale. I haven't looked at Bob Dole's history. But three out of four of Manafort's presidential employers had roots in the CIA.

If you look at Paul Manafort's history, he seems to work for sleazy dictators who were either put into power by the CIA, supported while in power by the CIA or taken out of power by the CIA. And sometimes killed by the CIA. I would suggest that Manafort's ultimate employer was the CIA. After the sitting president of the Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a US-backed coup in Ukraine back in 2014 (under Secretary of State John Kerry) Manafort stuck around there and helped the people who ousted Yanukovich. Even though Yanukovich was the duly elected president of Ukraine, he has been dismissed as a Russian agent because he saw that the terms of Russian treaties with Ukraine would be better for the economy than treaties with the European Union. Therefore, the US branded Yanukovich as a Russian agent.

Just to refresh everyone's memory William Barr worked for the CIA in the seventies until he got his law degree. He was named Attorney General by President GHW Bush (the first Bush president) during congressional and court investigations of Iran-contra, which was a CIA operation to illegally support the contras' attempt to overthrow the Nicaraguan government while also illegally arming both Iraq and Iran, allegedly in exchange for releasing hostages in Beruit. The interagency team investigating the kidnappings in Beruit was on Pan Am 103 and perished returning to the US.

Robert Mueller was the prosecutor in the Pan Am 103 case. He shifted the case to a couple of Libyan jamokes and away from a group of Palestinian terrorists operating in Frankfurt, Germany who allegedly were supplied the bomb used to bring down the airliner by Syrian arms and heroin smuggler Monzer al-Kassar. Al-Kassar was a major arms supplier for the Iran-contra operation. Robert Swan Mueller III has never himself been specifically identified as being a CIA employee. However, his uncle, Richard Bissell, was an officer high in the CIA ranks. Mueller's wife, Ann Cabell Standish, whom he married three years after the John F Kennedy assassination, was the granddaughter of Charles Cabell, Deputy Director of the CIA at the time of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, who was fired by JFK along with the above-mentioned Bissell and Allen Dulles. Ann Mueller's granduncle, Earle Cabell, the mayor of Dallas at the time of President Kennedy's assassination there, was revealed to have been a CIA asset in a recent declassification of JFK papers.

Curiously, Mueller's career has been marked with prosecuting cases that touch on CIA covert activities. He prosecuted John Gotti, who was on trial for distribution of cocaine which has been identified as having arrived in the US via Mena, Arkansas as part of the Iran-contra drug importation operation. Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas at the time.

Mueller prosecuted Noriega, who was the CIA's point man in Panama, where the CIA laundered money and moved cocaine and weapons for the contras during Iran-contra. The federal prosecutor in the Mena corner of Arkansas at the time of the Mena operations who steered clear of it was Asa Hutchinson, who went on to become George W Bush's first "drug czar". (More curiously, the person leading the failed attempt to uncover Iran-contra in the US Senate was John Kerry, who just happened to be a teammate of Mueller on their prep school lacrosse team many years earlier.)

Mueller prosecuted BCCI (the international bank which laundered mob and intelligence money) without seeing CIA fingerprints. Mueller became the Director of the FBI a week before 9/11. Look it up.

Some more: Go read Gregory Craig's Wiki page. Robert Mueller just indicted Craig along the lines of Manafort, a la aiding Russians (actually representing Ukrainians). Craig himself has an interesting past. He was the lawyer defending John Hinckley for the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, which, if succcessful, would have put GHW Bush into the White House; Craig defended CIA Director Richard Helms for his part in the coup of Salvador Allende; he was the State Department's director of policy planning under Madeleine Albright; Craig worked with Bill Clinton on his impeachment proceedings; he represented the Cuban father in the Elian Gonzalez case. Craig was on the other side of the Noriega case.

Mueller prosecuted Noriega and Craig defended him. Craig helped Obama flipflop his position over the FISA court and the big communications corporations who cooperated with them. Craig represented John Edwards. And, of course, he did work in UKRAINE.

I realize that some people in the left-right political universe will rejoice that a "Democrat" is being indicted, but Craig's history suggests that like Manafort, Mueller, Barr and others he represents a party across the river in Langley, Virginia. Very interesting, he and Mueller going toe to toe as Noriega was put behind bars without a hint of Noriega's Iran-contra work for Bush and the CIA. If you've got both the prosecutor and the defense attorney you're going to win the trial.

It's a small world after all, but you won't hear Rachel Maddow repeat long-winded linkages among these characters in her stories.

such a web we weave in order to deceive.

CIA psyops where ever you look. Curious or should I say Q reous? Cause Q sure seems CIA to me....or so says Seth Rich...no he said DNC=CIA. up 8 users have voted. —

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

span y Bob In Portland on Mon, 04/15/2019 - 8:33pm

DLC = DNC

@Lookout At some point the Democratic Party was rolled. Bill Clinton got the big speech at the 1988 convention. He certainly wasn't the speaker he became. That speech went on and on. Then next time around he won the presidency in a three-way race with a funny Texas billionaire and George Bush.

When Bill went to Oxford his classmates presumed he was CIA.

Our election of 1992 may have been to promote Clinton while taking the heat away from GHW Bush.

[Apr 09, 2019] Ukrainian Prosecutors Why Doesn t the U.S. Dept. of Justice Want Our Evidence on Democrats naked capitalism

Apr 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Wheels within wheels. This is from longtime investigative reporter John Solomon, writing in The Hill (emphasis mine throughout):

Ukrainian to US prosecutors: Why don't you want our evidence on Democrats?

Ukrainian law enforcement officials believe they have evidence of wrongdoing by American Democrats and their allies in Kiev, ranging from 2016 election interference to obstructing criminal probes . But, they say, they've been thwarted in trying to get the Trump Justice Department to act.

Here is some of what Ukrainian investigators have found. Solomon again:

Ukraine is infamous for corruption and disinformation operations; its police agencies fight over what is considered evidence of wrongdoing. Kulyk and his bosses even have political fights over who should and shouldn't be prosecuted. Consequently, allegations emanating from Kiev usually are taken with a grain a salt.

But many of the allegations shared with me by more than a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials are supported by evidence that emerged in recent U.S. court filings and intelligence reports. The Ukrainians told me their evidence includes:

Sworn statements from two Ukrainian officials admitting that their agency tried to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election in favor of Hillary Clinton . The effort included leaking an alleged ledger showing payments to then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort ; Contacts between Democratic figures in Washington and Ukrainian officials that involved passing along dirt on Donald Trump; Financial records showing a Ukrainian natural gas company routed more than $3 million to American accounts tied to Hunter Biden, younger son of then-Vice President Joe Biden , who managed U.S.-Ukrainian relations for the Obama administration. Biden's son served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings; Records that Vice President Biden pressured Ukrainian officials in March 2016 to fire the prosecutor who oversaw an investigation of Burisma Holdings and who planned to interview Hunter Biden about the financial transfers; Correspondence showing members of the State Department and U.S. embassy in Kiev interfered or applied pressure in criminal cases on Ukrainian soil; Disbursements of as much as $7 billion in Ukrainian funds that prosecutors believe may have been misappropriated or taken out of the country, including to the United States.

[Apr 08, 2019] Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

Notable quotes:
"... T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko , a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv. ..."
"... The New York Times should also explain why they didn't mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko's expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton's State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle . – Lee Stranahan via Medium ..."
"... Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS , which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier. ..."
"... Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign. ..."
Apr 08, 2019 | theduran.com

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran's Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort's corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Via Zerohedge


Ukraine's Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a " black ledger " of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

"Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information," Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill .

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton .

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. – The Hill

"According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign," said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill's John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

"It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton ," Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine's parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort 's wrongdoing in Ukraine .

"This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter." – The Hill

What The Hill doesn't mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort's Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan , who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko , a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn't mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko's expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton's State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle . – Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS , which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

"I recall they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian," Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS's sources were, according to portions of Ohr's testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. – Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election .

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official's decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump's then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election .

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump's then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump's election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions . The party's head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon's guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

[Mar 14, 2019] Manafort's Ukrainians were actually pro-West? - Habakkuk

Highly recommended!
Mar 14, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Habakkuk

Unfortunately, I have been taken up with the doings of another Christopher – surnamed Donnelly – whose antics with the 'Institute for Statecraft' and 'Integrity Initiative' seem just as ludicrous as those of Steele, and equally destructive.

I hope to come back to the implications of what has been coming out on your side about the dossier attributed to Steele in more depth in the none-too-distant future, particular if in fact the depositions made by him and David Kramer are unsealed reasonably promptly, but some background remarks may be worth throwing into the discussion.

It cannot be repeated often enough that an enormous amount of damage has been done as a result of people forming their impressions of MI6 from David Cornwell, aka John Le Carré, rather than Graham Greene.

A critical point is that, while if 'humint' is pursued by competent people, it can be invaluable, if pursued by incompetents, like so many of those Greene had known in his time in the wartime MI6, and portrayed so marvellously in 'Our Man in Havana', it is common for an 'echo chamber' to be set up, where people are told what they want to hear.

Those providing the 'echo' may genuinely share the delusions involved – or they may cynically exploit these, as part of a deliberate strategy of making the incompetents instruments of their own agendas (as MI5 and the Naval Intelligence Division did with the Abwehr during the war. MI6, largely incompetent apart from the section Philby ran, was marginal.)

That precisely this kind of 'echo chamber' had been set up by the Berezovsky group with people like Steele was the thrust of a pointed remark made by Andrei Lugovoi in the press conference on 31 May 2007 where he responded to the Crown Prosecution Service request for his extradition.

[Mar 11, 2019] Paul Manafort Eulogy for a Straw Man

Mar 11, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

No one weeps for Paul Manafort. The irony is that his sad but relatively uneventful life as a parasite of a corrupt political system would not have mattered a jot if special counsel Robert Mueller hadn't thought that he could bring down the president. That Trump is still standing means we need to prepare for Act II, what happens post-Mueller.

But first the eulogy. Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation in 2014 , centered on the sleazy consulting work he did for Ukraine's former ruling party. The surveillance was discontinued that same year and the FBI dropped the matter for lack of evidence. Then Manafort's less-than-three-month tenure as Trump's campaign chairman provided the good-enough-for-government-work hook when the FBI went fishing for ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives.

In the end, Mueller was only able to convict Manafort on eight counts (he failed on 10 others) involving false income taxes, failing to report foreign bank accounts, and bank fraud, all revolving around Manafort's lobbying and all largely prior to his work for Trump. The goal of repurposing the old surveillance data, the stuff that was literally not worth pursuing in 2014, was to pressure Manafort into somehow tying Trump into the collusion narrative. If Manafort hadn't joined the Trump campaign, he would almost certainly be a free man today.

No matter. The Mueller ploy came up dry. Oh there was all sorts of noise -- Manafort showed campaign polling data to someone foreign (not a crime) and some people he knew knew some of the people who knew Putin (also not a crime). It was all as sordid as you want it to be, just not very useful if you have to go to court and actually prove stuff to someone other than Rachel Maddow. In sentencing Manafort, the judge noted specifically that there was nothing "to do with colluding with the Russian government."

To drive home the non-point, Manafort was sentenced to only 47 months , with credit for nine months already served, which means with parole, maybe two years and change. It was well below even the minimum sentencing recommendations (about half of all federal sentences are) and a far cry from the "rest of his life" the media had been braying for. The Daily Beast took it personally, saying the light sentence "felt like a slap in the face for many watching the Russia probe." Rick Wilson tried to save face for his fellow liberals, expressing joy at seeing Manafort's physical deterioration while in custody. Summing up America 2019, a common theme across Twitter was to hope that Manafort, now age 69, dies in prison.

Though you would be forgiven for thinking that this was blood sport, Manafort's crimes were just white-collar tax stuff that at worst forms the basis of one of those lurid back page "how the mighty have fallen" stories. There is still another round of sentencing to go on Wednesday, this time with a supposedly vindictive judge (Google "concurrent sentences" before popping the champagne). CNN tells us that the superheroes of the Southern District of New York will some day prosecute Manafort separately (Google "double jeopardy" and put the bubbly back on the shelf) so he can't be pardoned by Trump.

Of course, any pardon will come either at the very end of Trump's only term or during his second term. Down the road, no newly elected Democratic president is going to start their administration off seeking revenge on the previous guys; it'll be all about healing and coming together. Obama excused torture, never mind tax crimes. Trump could also just leave Manafort to rot; he isn't very important.

Bottom line, history books 10 years from now will read: "Paul Manafort's lavish lifestyle, funded by corruption, came to an end in prison. He had nothing to do with Russiagate. He was just standing too close to Trump when he got caught." So think of him (and maybe Papadopoulos, Flynn, and Gates) as the weak curtain closer to Act I. Up next is Michael Cohen, the hoped for peppy tune that brings the audience back for Act II.

Michael Cohen's Flip Was a Flop Do You Believe in the Deep State Now?

It is increasingly clear that Mueller is unlikely to unveil a bombshell, even as his long overdue freshman term paper is now dragging into junior year (no hurry; a nation is only waiting to learn whether its president is a Russian agent or not). Russiagate, in reality always more a hashtag than a caper, has devolved into a placeholder, a way to prep the public for the new plan, two years of Benghazi-like hearings looking for a crime.

Scratch that -- the Benghazi hearings will look even-handed and dull compared to what's to come. This is going to be two years of bread and circuses, with Elijah Cummings playing the calm but angry Morgan Freeman role (one kept waiting to hear him say "Now easy, young blood" to one of his freshman representatives at the Cohen hearing) while AOC and her posse own, scold, hot-take, slay, tear down, slam, and crush for the cameras. Insurance fraud! Real estate devaluation! A Trump golf course she has to drive past every day! Taxes! It's all a lot of capitalism and AOC knows from college that's bad, right? At least until it comes up empty in the harsh light of sobriety. A signed check with no tie to any crime but a convict's word is the smoking gun of impeachment? The gold standard on these things is a blue dress, kids.

Ever watch Law & Order ? Most episodes begin with a body on the ground. Watergate started with a break-in at Democratic national headquarters by people revealed to have direct ties to the Republicans. All things Trump began with the Left's collective disbelief that he won the election fairly. Everything since then -- everything -- has been a search for a crime to reverse November 2016.

The media is chock-a-block with articles, which, while they take for granted that the House will soon begin impeachment proceedings, offer no clear info on exactly what the grounds for that impeachment might be. Corruption is popular though the specifics are vague. Or maybe obstruction, a process crime like Mueller's well-worn perjury traps created out of the ashes of an investigation of no substance.

It really doesn't matter. Impeachment is the goal: someone will just have to find a reason because Trump must be guilty. The problem is that this is all an investigation in search of a crime. That sounded better three years ago when it began but today it's getting thin. Watching the pivot from Russiagate to generic corruption as the main driver just exposes how empty the process is. What was supposed to be the endgame, Mueller's work, is now being characterized as only the end of the beginning.

NBC is more straightforward in outlining the " reasons " for impeachment than most: "The lines of investigation run from Trump's campaign and White House operations all the way to his tax records and business dealings, and some Democrats are convinced they will ultimately be able to use their findings to tell the story of a president who has committed offenses for which he should be removed from office."

That seems to be the game plan for the next two years. What remains are two big questions. Will it work? And will it end?

Assuming something is cobbled together worth opening impeachment hearings over, the Republican majority in the Senate is still unlikely to convict. Trump will run for reelection in 2020. Will public opinion, empathy, following impeachment proceedings, help him as it did Bill Clinton? How many voters will see through this politicization of the constitutional process? How many Democrats who wanted real progress on health care and immigration will see this all as just a waste of time, their midterm votes squandered on a circus?

Then the last question: will this all end in 2020? Because if the endless investigation tactic seems to work this time around, you can bet that when the next Democrat takes the White House, she will wake up the day after her inauguration to find a special prosecutor and congressional hearings waiting. Ten years of taxes? How about we start with 20 and see where that goes? Now, Madam President, about this handwritten note in your junior high school yearbook

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan . He is permanently banned from federal employment and Twitter.

[Sep 18, 2018] The document alleges that a senior Israeli government official conspired with Manafort in 2012 to defame then-Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko by accusing her of maintaining ties with anti-Semitic groups.

Sep 18, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al September 17, 2018 at 5:59 am

Haaretz via Antiwar.com:
Israel's defense chief calls for probe into identity of top official embroiled in Manafort case

Special counsel Robert Mueller's office tells Haaretz that it cannot reveal more details regarding individuals who were not accused in the case
Noa Landau, Amir Tibon | Sep. 17, 2018 | 2:45 AM

The document alleges that a senior Israeli government official conspired with Manafort in 2012 to defame then-Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko by accusing her of maintaining ties with anti-Semitic groups. Manafort said that, as a result, American Jews would pressure the Obama administration not to support Yulia Tymoshenko, whose opponent was a client of Manafort's, the indictment says .

Cortes September 17, 2018 at 6:53 am
Reading JH Kunstler's take on the Manafort plea throwing up the Podesta involvement plus questions about how the Maidan developed

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/monsters-all-the-way-down/

leads me to wonder

Are Russiagate fans gonna need a bigger bag of popcorn?

[Sep 15, 2018] Dershowitz Says Manafort Plea Big Win For Mueller; White House Should Be Alarmed

Notable quotes:
"... That said, many - including Yahoo News's Michael Isikoff (the guy whose article containing info fed to him by Christopher Steele was used by the FBI to obtain Carter Page's FISA warrant) - have pointed to potential targets on the left. ..."
"... Those people include former Manafort associates Tony Podesta, Vin Weber and Greg Craig - all of whom failed to register as foreign agents in connection with work outside the United States, as well as members of the Obama administration . Of course, the thought of Mueller going after "the untouchables" seems a bit far fetched. ..."
"... The FSB ambition: to choose the least competent Presidential candidate and, unbeknownst to him, smooth his way to the White House. Thus Robert Meuller's inconvenient truth: If Donald Trump were competent enough to be entrusted with collusion, then he would be too competent for the FSB to achieve its ambitions! I bet the FSB people in charge are gobsmacked that The Donald hasn't been impaled on the 25th Amendment yet! ..."
"... I don't understand Dershowitz here. What could Manafort say that Papadopoulos and Flynn haven't already told Mueller? He was Trump's campaign manager for what three months? ..."
"... If anyone had something juicy on Trump it'd be Michael Flynn since he was in the Trump administration if just for a short time. This is about keeping this farce of a charade going as long as humanly possible. ..."
"... My guess -- a guess -- is that Mueller is under a lot of pressure from the Clinton Family including Brennan, Clapper et al to find something, anything, on enough people to make the last 2 years look legit to the Americans who watch CNN. ..."
"... My guess is that the CF has gone from supporting Mueller to making him scared. ..."
"... That should work for continuing the Conspiracy theory... It is all the DOJ, FBI, Sessions and now newcomer Manafort trying to BRING Down the POTUS. All of this is happening to such a great guy like Trump... Sad huh... ..."
"... Jesus you Trumptards are delusional. The average American is no more likely to take up arms against his masters than the North Koreans are. ..."
Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Harvard Law professor and prominent liberal Alan Dershowitz - who has been shunned by the liberal elite of late for defending President Trump - now says that the White House should be alarmed over Paul Manafort's plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller.

" Well of course they should be ," replied Dershowitz - though he added the rather large caveat that Mueller is "not a credible witness," and would be at best be a corroborating witness against Trump.

"There's nothing he can testify to that would probably lend weight to impeachment because he didn't have close contact with President Trump while he was president," said Dershowitz. " What they are looking for is self-corroborating information that can be used against Trump if they can make him sing and then there's the possibility of him composing, elaborating on the story ."

Dershowitz added that there is "no doubt" Mueller is trying to flip Manafort against Trump.

" Once he agrees to cooperate, he has to cooperate about everything , said Dershowitz. "There's no such thing as partial cooperation."

As for Trump pardoning Manafort? That's now "off the table," and that flipping on the President "opens up a lot of doors that probably haven't been opened before."

It's a "big win" for Mueller, Dershowitz concludes.

That said, many - including Yahoo News's Michael Isikoff (the guy whose article containing info fed to him by Christopher Steele was used by the FBI to obtain Carter Page's FISA warrant) - have pointed to potential targets on the left.

Those people include former Manafort associates Tony Podesta, Vin Weber and Greg Craig - all of whom failed to register as foreign agents in connection with work outside the United States, as well as members of the Obama administration . Of course, the thought of Mueller going after "the untouchables" seems a bit far fetched.


quintus.sertorius , 19 minutes ago

The Tribe plays both sides: Dershowitz the plant in Trump team has the same real loyalty as fellow tribesman Haim Saban or Sheldon Adelson. They want to blackmail Trump into fighting Israel's war in Syria.

radbug , 55 minutes ago

The FSB ambition: to choose the least competent Presidential candidate and, unbeknownst to him, smooth his way to the White House. Thus Robert Meuller's inconvenient truth: If Donald Trump were competent enough to be entrusted with collusion, then he would be too competent for the FSB to achieve its ambitions! I bet the FSB people in charge are gobsmacked that The Donald hasn't been impaled on the 25th Amendment yet!

ZazzOne , 1 hour ago

"Big Win For Mueller"? Only if he plans on going after the founders of the Red Shoe "Pedo" Club.....John and Tony Podesta! Though I highly doubt he'll ever go down that rabbit hole!!!!!

Straddling-the-fence , 2 hours ago

Once he agrees to cooperate, he has to cooperate about everything , said Dershowitz. "There's no such thing as partial cooperation.

That's asinine. There are terms to a plea agreement. Unless those terms encompass what is claimed above, then that is simply false.

KekistanisUnite , 3 hours ago

I don't understand Dershowitz here. What could Manafort say that Papadopoulos and Flynn haven't already told Mueller? He was Trump's campaign manager for what three months?

George Papadopoulos I don't know how long he was there but if really has nothing of value to offer then neither would Manafort.

If anyone had something juicy on Trump it'd be Michael Flynn since he was in the Trump administration if just for a short time. This is about keeping this farce of a charade going as long as humanly possible.

Econogeek , 3 hours ago

My guess -- a guess -- is that Mueller is under a lot of pressure from the Clinton Family including Brennan, Clapper et al to find something, anything, on enough people to make the last 2 years look legit to the Americans who watch CNN.

My guess is that the CF has gone from supporting Mueller to making him scared.

ThePhantom , 4 hours ago

i like to think Mueller is on the plate too, and this is his chance to save his own ass. Greg Craig and Podesta's names are out in all the papers .... they worked with manafort first and foremost....

no idea what dershowitz is talking about.. none.

Calvertsbio , 4 hours ago

Yea sure he is, the SPECIAL Counsel running the show to bring down corruption is "ON THE PLATE" yea, ok...

That should work for continuing the Conspiracy theory... It is all the DOJ, FBI, Sessions and now newcomer Manafort trying to BRING Down the POTUS. All of this is happening to such a great guy like Trump... Sad huh...

Doesn't make much difference how much of this BS is posted, no one is buying it anymore... Even FAUX news has basically given up on him... Everyone know that once it all comes out, it will be labelled by HIS SHEEPLE that it is all made up BS to take him down...

Hillary did it... no ! Sessions did it, nope, it was RYAN ? McConnell... lets keep the guessing game going... The Dossier did it...

BigJim, 4 hours ago

"The swamp critters better stop ignoring the Hillary/DNC side of this or the population is going to be marching in with pitchforks and guillotines."

Jesus you Trumptards are delusional. The average American is no more likely to take up arms against his masters than the North Koreans are.

[Sep 08, 2018] The Manafort and Cohen Convictions

Notable quotes:
"... Mueller's problem is that his entire investigation has been revealed to be permeated with illegality and dubious Constitutional premises. As the result of investigations by Congress, we know that as of December, 2015 British intelligence agencies were frantically signaling their fears about Donald Trump to Obama Administration intelligence officials, primarily the CIA of John Brennan. ..."
"... The British were demanding that Trump be taken out by whatever means because he was "soft on Russia." They were demanding that Trump be taken out by criminalizing the idea for which the American people ultimately voted, a rational relationship, rather than war, between the U.S. and Russia. ..."
"... By the early Spring, we now know Brennan was operating out of the CIA with a taskforce investigating Trump based on British "leads," despite multiple legal prohibitions against just such domestic activity by the CIA. ..."
"... That task force included Peter Strzok, the fired FBI agent who said he would do anything to prevent Trump's election. This operation included sending informants to plant fabricated evidence on peripheral figures in the Trump campaign, including George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. ..."
Sep 08, 2018 | larouchepac.com

The media posited that these two events, one by trial, one by plea, gave Robert Mueller new found credibility and "momentum' at a point where both were dissipating extremely rapidly. This claim, like the others we have examined here, has no relation to reality.

Mueller's problem is that his entire investigation has been revealed to be permeated with illegality and dubious Constitutional premises. As the result of investigations by Congress, we know that as of December, 2015 British intelligence agencies were frantically signaling their fears about Donald Trump to Obama Administration intelligence officials, primarily the CIA of John Brennan.

The British were demanding that Trump be taken out by whatever means because he was "soft on Russia." They were demanding that Trump be taken out by criminalizing the idea for which the American people ultimately voted, a rational relationship, rather than war, between the U.S. and Russia.

By the early Spring, we now know Brennan was operating out of the CIA with a taskforce investigating Trump based on British "leads," despite multiple legal prohibitions against just such domestic activity by the CIA.

That task force included Peter Strzok, the fired FBI agent who said he would do anything to prevent Trump's election. This operation included sending informants to plant fabricated evidence on peripheral figures in the Trump campaign, including George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. The fake evidence suggested that Trump was using Russian obtained "dirt" against Hillary Clinton. The evidence planting operations, mostly conducted on British soil, were designed to back up the bogus and otherwise evidence free and indefensible dossier authored by MI-6's Christopher Steele, paid for by the Clinton campaign, and promoted by the Department of State, Department of Justice, the FBI, and select reporters. The dirty British Steele dossier claimed that Trump had been compromised by Putin. Based on this, Trump was targeted in a full-set counterintelligence investigation by the FBI including surveillance of his campaign and anyone associated with it. The goal of this surveillance was to put those who were around Trump under an investigative microscope stretching back years to find any crime or misdeed for which they could be prosecuted. That is the illegal and unconstitutional backdrop to everything Robert Mueller has produced thus far. Nothing produced by Mueller has shown Trump to be a puppet of Putin as claimed by the British, the Clinton campaign, and the national news media. Nonetheless, the entire episode has damaged relations between the U.S. and Russia and between the U.S. and China, which was the British strategic goal in the first instance, continuing the dive into a new and dangerous Cold War. Trump has fought this at every step.

Paul Manafort was hired to handle delegate selection at the Republican National Convention and then as campaign manager. He worked for Trump for six months total until his legal problems became known and he resigned. He was charged by Mueller with tax, foreign agent registration act, and bank fraud offenses for his lobbying activities on behalf of the deposed government of Ukraine. That government was overthrown in coup in which John McCain played a critical role, a coup which empowered outright neo-Nazis. Christopher Steele, British intelligence, and the U.S. State Department also played major roles in the Ukraine regime change operation. Manafort was targeted by both Ukrainian and British intelligence because he, in effect, backed the perceived Russian side in the coup. For this, he was being investigated by the Obama Justice Department well prior to any campaign association with Donald Trump. Mueller simply adjusted the focus of this already political investigation, a focus aimed at turning Manafort into an asset against Trump by means of the terror of potential prison sentences numbering in the hundreds of years as the result of overcharged and duplicative indictments.

Michael Cohen, who worked with Trump as a lawyer, also had his share of prior legal problems, primarily related to taxes concerning his taxi medallion business in New York City. For months, the mainstream media has featured the claims of porn star Stormy Daniels claiming a one night stand with the future President, ten years ago, as if the nation could draw some lesson from Daniels about public virtue. Cohen apparently arranged to pay off Daniels and another woman concerning their allegations about sex with the President. Among other suspicious dealings, Cohen tape recorded conversations with his client, Donald Trump, during the campaign, a complete and total violation of legal ethics which would independently cost him his law license. For many months prior to his plea deal, Cohen has been a target of intense investigative interest based on his tax problems. In recent months, Cohen has repeatedly signaled that he was willing to betray the President and say whatever prosecutors in the Southern District of New York wanted him to say about Donald Trump in order to avoid jail. The problem is that prosecutors thought Cohen an obvious desperate liar and were not buying. Ultimately, the deal which Cohen struck has him claiming that candidate Trump asked him to pay hush money to the women, resulting in Federal Election Campaign Act violations. This is what the Justice Department claimed against John Edwards in a widely ridiculed and failed prosecution. It is exactly the type of claim by which the British and our Establishment impeached Bill Clinton.

Cohen hired long-time Clinton operative Lanny Davis to represent him in recent months and to make a deal. Following his plea, Davis claimed that Cohen had two made-up morsels to offer Mueller, in return for a reduced sentence, a claim that Trump knew about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer, and a claim that Cohen knew about Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton's emails. Davis has since admitted that both these claims were totally false and has had to walk them back publicly.

So, if you are tempted by the media t think that either of these "convictions" are germane to the President's fitness for office, or Robert Mueller's credibility, please, seek medical attention. The madness which now infects much of official Washington may have claimed you.

[Aug 25, 2018] One Holdout Juror Prevented A Ruling On All 18 Counts Against Manafort

Notable quotes:
"... Duncan described herself as an avid supporter of President Trump, but said she was moved by four full boxes of exhibits provided by Mueller's team – though she was skeptical about prosecutors' motives in the financial crimes case. ..."
"... Though Duncan said the jury was not political in its conviction, she said she was skeptical of prosecutors' intentions, which she implied were political. ..."
Aug 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Thu, 08/23/2018 - 08:10 655 SHARES Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

A juror who sat on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's case said on Fox News Wednesday night that a lone juror prevented a ruling on all 18 counts against Manafort. Juror Paula Duncan said a lone juror could not come to a guilty verdict on 10 charges, forcing judge T.S. Ellis III to declare a mistrial on 10 of Manafort's 18 counts.

"It was one person who kept the verdict from being guilty on all 18 counts," Duncan, 52, said. She added that Mueller's team of prosecutors often seemed bored, apparently catnapping during parts of the trial.

Fox News ✔ @FoxNews

"There was one holdout."

In an exclusive interview on @ foxnewsnight , Paul Manafort juror Paula Duncan said Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team was one holdout juror away from convicting Paul Manafort on all 18 counts of bank and tax fraud. https:// fxn.ws/2Mrmrzb

While the identities of the jurors have been closely held, kept under seal by Judge T.S. Ellis III at Tuesday's conclusion of the high-profile trial, Duncan gave a behind-the-scenes account to Fox News on Wednesday, after the jury returned a guilty verdict against the former Trump campaign chairman on eight financial crime counts and deadlocked on 10 others.

Duncan described herself as an avid supporter of President Trump, but said she was moved by four full boxes of exhibits provided by Mueller's team – though she was skeptical about prosecutors' motives in the financial crimes case.

"Certainly Mr. Manafort got caught breaking the law, but he wouldn't have gotten caught if they weren't after President Trump," Duncan said of the special counsel's case, which she separately described as a "witch hunt to try to find Russian collusion," borrowing a phrase Trump has used in tweets more than 100 times.

Though Duncan said the jury was not political in its conviction, she said she was skeptical of prosecutors' intentions, which she implied were political.

[Aug 25, 2018] Norman - If Paul Manafort Is Going To Prison, Tony Podesta Should Be Joining Him

Aug 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Thu, 08/23/2018 - 14:55 620 SHARES Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Duane Norman via Free Market Shooter blog,

Following a lengthy jury deliberation, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted on eight counts, including tax fraud, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, and bank fraud – even though jurors were still hung on another ten counts :

"If we cannot come to a consensus for a single count, how can we fill in the verdict sheet?" the jurors asked in the note.

"It is your duty to agree upon a verdict if you can do so," said Ellis, who encouraged each juror to make their own decisions on each count. If some were in the minority on a decision, however, they could think about the other jurors' conclusions.

https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=2381

me title=

Notably, the case has nothing to do with "Trump, the Trump campaign or the 2016 US election" – it has to do with work Manafort did with former Ukranian President Victor Yanukovych from 2005-2014. The case was referred to the federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) by Special Investigator Robert Mueller who also referred Democrat superlobbyist Tony Podesta for prosecution as part of similar work he did for Yanukovych.

All of this begs the question – if Tony Podesta committed the same crimes as Paul Manafort, why hasn't the SDNY brought charges against him?

Last year, Tucker Carlson exposed just how close Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group were to the Ukranian and Russian governments...

ZeroPointNow @ZeroPointNow

Former Podesta Group Exec: Paul Manafort was in PG offices "all the time" representing Russian political and business interests. # RussiaGate

2:50 AM - Oct 25, 2017
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ZeroPointNow @ZeroPointNow

"Tony Podesta was basically part of the Clinton Foundation," Podesta Group may be concealing financial transactions through art collection.

3:00 AM - Oct 25, 2017
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...which was summed up in the below list originally complied by iBankCoin – detailing Manafort's close ties with the Podesta Group regarding Russian /Ukranian lobbying:

Trending Articles "Thank God This Is Happening" Russia Says Time Has Come To

With the US unveiling a new set of sanctions against Russia on Friday, Moscow said it would definitely respond to

https://c5x8i7c7.ssl.hwcdn.net/vplayer-parallel/20180615_1258/videojs/show.html?controls=1&loop=30&autoplay=0&tracker=90b4b385-c2e9-4d6a-b38a-a140e703cab8&height=362&width=643&vurl=%2F%2Fc5x8i7c7.ssl.hwcdn.net%2Fvideos%2Fdgv_zerohedge%2F20180825061647_5b80e7863c2b9%2Fdgv_zerohedge_trending_articles_20180825061647_5b80e7863c2b9_new.mp4&poster=%2F%2Fc5x8i7c7.ssl.hwcdn.net%2Fvideos%2Fdgv_zerohedge%2F20180825061647_5b80e7863c2b9%2Fdgv_zerohedge_trending_articles_20180825061647_5b80e7863c2b9_new.jpg

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me title=

Additionally, Zerohedge explained why this list is so significant:

emails obtained by the Associated Press showed that Gates personally directed two Washington lobbying firms, Mercury LLC and the Podesta Group, between 2012 and 2014 to set up meetings between a top Ukrainian official and senators and congressmen on influential committees involving Ukrainian interests . Gates noted in the emails that the official, Ukraine's foreign minister, did not want to use his own embassy in the United States to help coordinate the visits.

And this is where the plot thickens, because while the bulk of the press has so far spun the entire Ukraine lobbying scandal, which led to Manafort's resignation, as the latest "proof" that pro-Moscow powers were influencing not only Manafort but the Trump campaign in general (who some democrats have even painted of being a Putin agent), the reality is that a firm closely tied with the Democratic party, the Podesta Group, is just as implicated.

As AP further adds, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, a Brussels-linked nonprofit entity which allegely ran the lobbying project, paid Mercury and the Podesta Group a combined $2.2 million over roughly two years. In papers filed in the U.S. Senate, Mercury and the Podesta Group listed the European nonprofit as an independent, nonpolitical client. The firms said the center stated in writing that it was not aligned with any foreign political entity.

In other words, the Podesta Group was likely as much or even more complicit in any wrongdoing than Manafort was . Of course, none of this stopped Mueller from offering Podesta immunity – in exchange for testimony against Manafort:

Mike @Fuctupmind

BREAKING : Tucker Carlson announced that Robert Mueller offered Tony Podesta immunity to testify against Paul Manafort.

6:08 PM - Jul 19, 2018
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It is not as though Manafort is blameless or guilt-free in his conduct – and according to Corey Lewandowski, President Trump himself was not particularly fond of some of his conduct on the campaign trail, at one point lowering his helicopter to berate him via cell phone:

While were in the air, heading for Delaware, somebody -- I think it was Ann Coulter -- tweeted out a quote from Manafort saying that Trump shouldn't be on television anymore , that he shouldn't do the Sunday shows. And from now on Manafort would do all shows. Because he's the fucking expert, right? Not Trump, who had already turned the whole primary race on its head

"Yes, sir," Hope said, "Paul said he doesn't want you on TV."

Trump went fucking ballistic. We were still over the New York metropolitan area, where you can get cell service if you fly at a low altitude.

"Lower it!" Trump yelled to the pilot. "I have to make a call."

He got Manafort on the phone, "Did you say I shouldn't be on TV on Sunday??" Manafort could barely hear him because of the helicopter motor. But Trump said, "I'll go on TV anytime I goddamn fucking want and you won't say another fucking word about me! Tone it down? I wanna turn it up! I don't wanna tone anything down! I played along with your delegate charts, but I have had enough."

He got Paul on the phone and completely decimated him again verbally. Ripped his fucking head off. I wish I'd recorded it, because it was one of the greatest takedowns in the history of the world.

"You're a political pro? Let me tell you something. I'm a pro at life. I've been around a time or two. I know guys like you, with your hair and your skin "

and again, according to Lewandowski, Trump was unaware of Manafort's connections when he took the job, but was seriously unhappy about them after they were released to the press:

"It's all lies," Manafort said. "My lawyers are fighting it."

"But if it's in the paper someone has to give Trump a heads-up, because if it's in the paper, it's reality."

Just as Steve had thought, the story ran the next day, August 15, on Page One, above the fold.

"I've got a crook running my campaign," Trump said when he read it.

However, in spite of his apparent misgivings for Manafort, Trump has decided to support him – ostensibly because he did not cave to the outrageous demands of the Mueller " investigation ":

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump

I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. "Justice" took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a "deal." Such respect for a brave man!

6:21 AM - Aug 22, 2018
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So what is the SDNY doing, if they're not prosecuting Podesta? Simple – they're using Cohen's words to launch a new investigation:

Jeff Lewis @ChicagoPhotoSho

New York investigators have subpoenaed Michael Cohen as part of a probe into the Trump Foundation -AP

12:07 PM - Aug 22, 2018
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Trump of course understands why the Podesta Group investigation has been effectively ignored...

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump

....and why hasn't the Podesta brother been charged and arrested, like others, after being forced to close down his very large and successful firm? Is it because he is a VERY well connected Democrat working in the Swamp of Washington, D.C.?

7:04 AM - May 20, 2018
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...the Podesta brothers are both well-connected swamp creatures, on the same political team as the uber-politicized SDNY assigned to levy charges against them.

me title=

[Aug 25, 2018] Be Careful What You Ask For- Wasting Time with Manafort, Cohen, and Russiagate by Jim Kavanagh

Notable quotes:
"... First of all, the Democrats will now face increasing demands for impeachment from the impassioned members of their base whom they have riled up to see Trump as the epitome of the Putin-Nazi evil that threatens "our democracy." ..."
"... It would deeply undermine any notion that the political system holds the confidence of the people, and intensify division, disruption, and the sense of incipient civil war in the country more than any number of Russian Facebook posts. ..."
Aug 25, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

But these crimes are tax fraud, money laundering, and credit app padding that have nothing to do with Donald Trump, and campaign-finance violations related to what a critic of Trump aptly describes as "a classic B-team type of bumbling screw-up of covering up mistresses." I question the level of word play, if not fantasizing, necessary to claim that these crimes validate " this investigation of foreign subversion." None of them has anything to do with that. The perils of this, that, these, and those.

Do these results disprove that the Mueller probe is "a political investigation"? I think they imply quite the opposite, and quite obviously so.

Why? Because these convictions would not have occurred if Hillary Clinton had been elected president. There would be no convictions because there would have been no investigation.

If Hillary had been elected, all the crimes of Manafort and Cohen -- certainly those that took place over many years before the election, but even, I think, those having to do with campaign contributions and mistress cover-ups -- would never have been investigated, because all would have been considered right with the political world.

The Manafort and Cohen crimes would have been ignored as the standard tactics of the elite financial grifting -- as well as of parasitism on, and payoffs by, political campaigns -- that they are. Indeed, there would have been no emergency, save-our-democracy-from-Russian-collaboration, Special Counsel investigation, from which these irrelevant charges were spun off, at all.

... ... ...

Have you heard of the Podestas? The Clinton Foundation? Besides, the economic purpose of American electoral politics is to funnel millions to consultants and the media. Campaign finance law violations? We'll see how the lawsuit over $84 million worth of funds allegedly transferred illegally from state party contributions to the Clinton campaign works out. Does the media report, does anybody know or care, about it? Will anybody ever go to prison over it?

... ... ...

First of all, the Democrats will now face increasing demands for impeachment from the impassioned members of their base whom they have riled up to see Trump as the epitome of the Putin-Nazi evil that threatens "our democracy." If the Democrats insist these convictions are not just matters of financial hijinx, irrelevant to Mueller's "Russia collusion" investigation, and irrelevant in fact to anything of political substance; if they assert that the payoffs to Stormy and Karen (the only acts directly involving Trump) disqualify Trump for the presidency, then they will have no excuse but to call for Trump's impeachment, and act to make it happen. Their base will demand that Democratic candidates run on that promise, and if the Democrats re-take the House, that they begin impeachment proceedings immediately.

... ... ...

If they try to impeach and fail (which is likely), well, then, as happened to the Republicans with Clinton, they will just look stupid, and will be punished for having wasted the nation's political time and energy foolishly. And Trump will be strengthened.

If they were to impeach, convict, and remove Trump (even by forcing a resignation), a large swath of the population would conclude, correctly, that a ginned-up litigation had been used to overturn the result of the 2016 election, that the Democrats had gotten away with what the Republicans couldn't in 1998-9. That swath of the population would likely withdraw completely from electoral politics, leaving all their problems and resentments intact -- hidden for a while, but sure to erupt in some other ways. It would deeply undermine any notion that the political system holds the confidence of the people, and intensify division, disruption, and the sense of incipient civil war in the country more than any number of Russian Facebook posts.

. .. ... ...

...if they do move forward, that will initiate a political battle that will tear the country apart and end up either with their defeat or the victory of Mike Pence.

... ... ...

By the way, for those who think that Manafort's conviction portends a smoking gun, based on his work for "pro-Kremlin Viktor Yanukovych," as the NYT and other liberals persistently call him, I would suggest looking at this Twitter thread by Aaron Maté. It's a brilliant shredding of Rachel Maddow's (and, to a lesser extent, Chris Hayes's) version of the deceptive implication -- presented as an indisputable fact -- that Manafort's work for Yanukovych is proof that he (and by extension, Trump) was working for Putin. As Maté shows, that is actually indisputably false. Manafort was working hard to turn Yanukovych away from Russia to the EU and the West, and the evidence of that is abundant and easily available. It was given in the trial, though you'd never know that from reading the NYT or listening to MSNBC. As a former Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesman said: "If it weren't for Paul, Ukraine would have gone under Russia much earlier. He was the one dragging Yanukovich to the West." And the Democrats know this.

And if you think Cohen is harboring secret knowledge of Trump-Russia collusion that he's going to turn over to Mueller, take look at Maté's thread on that.

We are now entering a new period of intense political maneuvering that's the latest turning point in the bizarre and flimsy "Russiagate" narrative. I've been asked to comment on that a number of times over the past two years, and each time I or one of my fellow commentators would say, "Why are we still talking about this?" It was originally conjured up as a Clinton campaign attack on Trump, but, to my and many others' surprise and chagrin, it somehow morphed into the central theme of political opposition to Trump's presidency.

... ... ...

Russiagate was a pretext to dig around everywhere in his closet. Trump was clueless about the trap he was setting for himself, and has been relentlessly foolish in dealing with it. It is a witch hunt, and he's riding around on his broom, skywriting self-incriminating tweets.

There are a thousand reasons to criticize Donald Trump -- his racism, his stupidity, his infantile narcissism, his full embrace of Zionist colonialism with its demand to attack Iran, his enactment of Republican social and economic policies that are destroying working-class lives, etc. That he is a Kremlin agent is not one of them. His election was a symptom of deep pathologies of American political culture that we must address, including the failure of the "liberal" party and of the two-party system itself. That Donald Trump is a Russian agent is not one of them. There are a number of very good justifications for seeking his impeachment, starting with the clear constitutional crime of launching a military attack on another country without congressional authorization. That he is a Kremlin agent is not one of them.

Unfortunately, the Democratic Party and its allied media do not want to center the fight on these substantive political issues. Instead, they are centering on this barrage of Russiagate litigation -- none of which yet proves, or even charges, Russian "collusion" -- which they are using as a substitute for politics. And, in place of opposition, they're substituting uncritical loyalty to the heroes of the military-intelligence complex and "our democracy" that only a complete fantasist could stomach. I mean, when you get to the point that you're suspecting John Bolton's " ties to Russia " .

[Aug 18, 2018] Manafort jury asks judge to leave early on second day of deliberations

Notable quotes:
"... If convicted on all counts, Mr Manafort could face a sentence of up to 305 years in prison based on the maximum for each count, with the most serious charge carrying up to 30 years. However, if convicted, he likely would be given between seven and 12 years, according to a range of estimates from three sentencing experts interviewed by Reuters. ..."
"... Meanwhile Mr Mueller recommended in a court filing on Friday that a judge sentence former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos to up to six months in prison for lying to agents investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. ..."
Aug 18, 2018 | www.thenational.ae

Prosecutors accuse Mr Manafort of a complex effort to hide millions of dollars in income from Ukrainian politicians.

Mr Ellies earlier refused to release the names of jurors, saying he has received threats and fears for their safety as well.

The judge said he is currently under the protection of U.S. marshals. He declined to delve into specifics, but said he's been taken aback by the level of interest in the trial.

President Trump earlier said the case was "sad" and described Mr Manafort as a "good person."

If convicted on all counts, Mr Manafort could face a sentence of up to 305 years in prison based on the maximum for each count, with the most serious charge carrying up to 30 years. However, if convicted, he likely would be given between seven and 12 years, according to a range of estimates from three sentencing experts interviewed by Reuters.

Meanwhile Mr Mueller recommended in a court filing on Friday that a judge sentence former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos to up to six months in prison for lying to agents investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

"The government does not take a position with respect to a particular sentence to be imposed, but respectfully submits that a sentence of incarceration, within the applicable guidelines range of zero to six months imprisonment is appropriate and warranted," Mr Mueller said in the filing.

Mr Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to lying to FBI agents investigating possible collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 7.

[Aug 03, 2018] IMO TS Ellis will surprise ...

Aug 03, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Princeton, Harvard Law, Oxford law studies, six years in the navy, appointed by Reagan. This is a hard fellow to talk your way around in a courtroom.

Sayings from TS Ellis:

  1. "Don't roll your eyes at me." (to Mueller's crew in court.
  2. "My wife thinks your statement that you might not call Rick Gates as a witness is funny. Without him you do not have a case." (to the Muelleristas)
  3. paraphrasing "You don't want Manafort. You are here to impeach the president."
  4. "We do not try people for being rich, or throwing their money around." (in response to Muellerite fascination with Manafort's lack of taste in throwing money around.)
  5. "Sometimes prosecutors seek to make a witness sing. In others they seek to make them compose."

Ellis' federal courthouse (Eastern District of Virginia) is about half a mile from my house. I spent a lot of time there as a consultant and expert witness. I hope to never see the inside of the place again.

IMO Ellis is going to do something dramatic with the Manafort case that is now in his court. If he tosses the whole thing that will gut Mueller as a factor in The Resistance. pl

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/08/02/who-is-ts-ellis-look-at-judge-in-manafort-mueller-case.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._S._Ellis_III


Eric Newhill , 6 hours ago

Sir,
I've been following this. Seeing the same things you are. Fascinating that this case has gone to trial so quickly. If Ellis tosses the case or Manafort is found not guilty, then IMO, Mueller is finished. This could happen well before the mid-terms. Ellis will provide some quote worthy statements in throwing the case out that will be used to help justify getting rid of Mueller; will help it stick and help Trump with the fallout of the s__t canning. Part of me can't believe that Mueller would be so foolish as to put his part of the coup, and his reputation, at such risk, but another part says that the coup has always been built on shaky methods by sketchy incompetent people. If Mueller goes, then other dominoes begin to fall.
David Habakkuk -> Eric Newhill , 5 hours ago
Eric Newhill,

'another part says that the coup has always been built on shaky methods by sketchy incompetent people.'

Exactly. In addition, there is a very large element of sheer unmitigated hubris.

Pat Lang Mod -> David Habakkuk , 28 minutes ago
Massive hubristic infantilism.
Rob , 6 hours ago
I hope so, I have always thought the US more corrupt than most suppose, recent events have proven this, but I have always thought America one of the few places the rule of law prevails, where a man can get a fair trial, this needs to be proven. Ellis sounds an impressive character, a throw back to the Virginia gentry that has produced many notable historical figures, let us hope he doesn't disappoint.
Pat Lang Mod -> Rob , 29 minutes ago
You must be Canadian. The sanctimony is unmistakable.
Pat Lang Mod , an hour ago
http://www.foxnews.com/poli...

[Aug 02, 2018] Angry Bear " Let's Make a Deal

Aug 02, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

  1. likbez , July 31, 2018 11:38 pm

    Manafort situation now is difficult. But the crimes he is accused of were committed outside the election campaign period. He has some chances to fight them with a good lawyers team claiming the Mueller exceeded his mandate and engaged in the witch hunt against Trump.

    If we assume that Mueller is a hired gun of Clinton wing of Democratic Party, and his appointment was a gambit to impeach Trump, then he is also in a difficult position.

    1. Now a lot of people started raising unpleasant questions about his role in 911 cover-up. So he is investigated too.

    2. After spending taxpayers money for more than a year, the results were questionable. He suffered greatly from Strzokgate and Steele dossier saga,

    3. As Hillary aptly said" If that bastard wins, we all hang from nooses!" so I would assume that Trump digs out some skeletons too.

    4. If Rosenstein falls, Mueller is cooked. There are some people who would like to take revenge, and without "Lord-protector" in the Justice Department, he is very vulnerable.

    5. The direct interference of the intelligence agencies in the election and derailing Sanders now make all Russiagate saga a double-edged sword. There is also "the Sword of Damocles" over Dems due to Avan brothers scandal. Those can be played strategically.

    So this catfight between two factions of the US neoliberal elite might be very interesting to watch.

    In any case, Russiagate is just a smoke screen to cover the huge crack in the neoliberal state façade.

robert Waldmann , August 1, 2018 10:13 am

@Likbez, what Joel said (with compliments for the topical reference to Virginian congressional campaigns). Mueller is a lifetime Republican appointed bt lifetime Republican Rod Rozenstrein who was appointed by sometimes Democrat Donald Trump.

The probability that "is a hired gun of Clinton wing of Democratic Party" is, like the probability that you are a butterfly, one of those cases which help us decide if we can believe that a probability can really be exactly exactly zero.

For that reason only, your comment is not off topic.

likbez , August 1, 2018 3:18 pm

@Robert Waldmann August 1, 2018 10:13 am

@Likbez, Mueller is a lifetime Republican appointed bt lifetime Republican Rod Rosenstein who was appointed by sometimes Democrat Donald Trump.

This is just a deflection. Nobody can deny that we observe a fight between two factions of the US elite. Which is about the direction of the country. Russiagate is just a smoke screen.

And Mueller actions talk louder than words, or this superficial detail of his resume (Democratic Party after Bill Clinton can well be renamed into Moderate Republican Party).

Look at the composition of Mueller team and try to find people who might be sympathetic to Trump platform (not that he lasted long; he betrayed it in three month in office). All the team consists exclusively of rabid Clinton supporters. Who knows what is their main task without the necessity of Mueller telling them anything. And as we all know "Personnel is policy."

Now tell me again that he is a lifelong Republican ;-)

Also being a Republican (and moreover, being the head of FBI after 911, and one of the architects of transition of the USA into national security state) does not exclude actions against detractors from neoliberal globalization and neoliberalism even if they are fellow Republicans.

His loyalty is not to the Republican party, but to neoliberalism and Neoconservatism including neoliberal globalization, which is assaulted by Trump. Looks how smoothly neocons aligned with the Democratic Party during and after the elections.

[Jun 06, 2018] Konstantin Kilimnik Manafort Aide Is Mueller's 'Person A' by Franklin Foer

Such a deep provisionalism and burning desire to revive McCarthyism. "Russians under each bed" type of story... To this guy if you are not CIA agent, then you agent of GRU or FSB. And he does not understand that Manafort essentially pushed Yanukovich into Joe Biden hands.
If we consider all people who left Ukraine after EuroMaydan as Putin's agents, then it is unclear how EuroMaydan managed to sucessed with such an wast netwrok of Russian spies.
Also it is unknown to Foer that Yanukovich was a moderate Ukrainian nationalist, who flirted w and supported far right parties such as Svoboda and organizations, rise of which under his Presidency was the instrumental in his demise.
Jun 06, 2018 | www.theatlantic.com

But then , last winter, Robert Mueller described Kostya as a "long-time Russian colleague of Manafort's" with "ties to a Russian intelligence service." The reference came in a casual aside, buried in a brief arguing that Manafort should be subjected to stringent bail conditions. It was a strange way to inject such a crucial fact. But Mueller repeated the allegation a few months later, as if to remove ambiguity. These ties weren't vestiges of a distant past, but were said to be active through 2016. In a footnote, Mueller asked for permission to submit evidence substantiating the charge in a sealed filing.

All the while, Manafort and Kilimnik remained attached to each other. During the past few months, Manafort's inner circle has collapsed. Rick Gates, his primary American deputy for the past decade, pleaded guilty and began supplying evidence against him. Manafort's ex-son-in-law also cut a deal to cooperate with Mueller. Through it all, Kilimnik has continued to trail after Manafort. When Manafort allegedly hatched a ploy to tamper with witnesses this past February, Kilimnik seems to have served as his loyal co-conspirator. When Manafort wanted a dose of positive press, Kilimnik attempted to arrange an op-ed in the Kyiv Post.

When I recently emailed Kilimnik, he responded quickly. He wanted to let me know that he disapproved of the media's coverage of Manafort, including my own, which he ascribed to "a hatred against certain people in the US Government." He told me, "I don't want to play a role in this zoo." I replied and asked Kilimnik about his present whereabouts, a question he left hanging. In December, Robert Mueller hinted, in passing, that Kostya had relocated to Russia. When I asked around Kiev, nobody had any evidence to the contrary. It was a prospect that Kostya suggested was a possibility last year in a text to Christopher Miller. "I hope I am able to get out of the country. Before 'patriots' start hunting me down." Fleeing the accusation of spying for Vladimir Putin, he has apparently taken refuge with him.

Franklin Foer is a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He is the former editor of The New Republic and the author of World Without Mind .

[May 04, 2018] Judge Mulls Dismissal Of Manafort Charges, Sharply Questioned Mueller Overreach Zero Hedge

May 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Judge Mulls Dismissal Of Manafort Charges, "Sharply Questioned" Mueller Overreach

by Tyler Durden Fri, 05/04/2018 - 11:39 4.1K SHARES

Like most motions to dismiss, Paul Manafort's was initially viewed as a long-shot bid to win the political operative his freedom and get out from under the thumb of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

But after today's hearing on a motion to dismiss filed by Manafort's lawyers, it's looking increasingly likely that Manafort could escape his charges - and be free of his ankle bracelets - because in a surprising rebuke of Mueller's "overreach", Eastern District of Virginia Judge T.S. Ellis, a Reagan appointee, said Mueller shouldn't have "unfettered power" to prosecute over charges that have nothing to do with collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

Ellis said he's concerned Mueller is only pursuing charges against Manafort (and presumably other individuals) to pressure them into turning on Trump. The Judge added that the charges brought against Manafort didn't appear to stem from Mueller's collusion probe. Instead, they appeared to be the work of an older investigation into Manafort that was eventually dropped.

"I don't see how this indictment has anything to do with anything the special prosecutor is authorized to investigate," Ellis said at a hearing in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, concerning a motion by Manafort to dismiss the case.

It got better: Ellis also slammed prosecutors saying it appeared they were using the indictment of Manafort to pressure him to cooperate against Trump. Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty and disputes Mueller's assertion that he violated U.S. laws when he worked for a decade as a political consultant for pro-Russian groups in Ukraine.

"You don't really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud," Ellis said. "You really care about what information he might give you about Mr. Trump and what might lead to his impeachment or prosecution. "

According to Bloomberg, Ellis is overseeing one of two indictments against Manafort. Manafort is also charged in Washington with money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent of Ukraine.

* * *

Manafort's lawyers had asked the judge in the Virginia case to dismiss an indictment filed against him in what was their third effort to beat back criminal charges by attacking Mueller's authority. The judge also questioned why Manafort's case there could not be handled by the U.S. attorney's office in Virginia, rather than the special counsel's office, as it is not Russia-related . A question many others have asked, as well.

Ellis has given prosecutors two weeks to show what evidence they have that Manafort was complicit in colluding with the Russians. If they can't come up with any, he may, presumably, dismiss the case. Ellis also asked the special counsel's office to share privately with him a copy of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein's August 2017 memo elaborating on the scope of Mueller's Russia probe. He said the current version he has been heavily redacted.

At that point, should nothing change materially, Manafort may be a free man; needless to say, a dismissal would set precedent and be nothing short of groundbreaking by potentially making it much harder for Mueller to turn other witnesses against the president.

[Apr 09, 2018] New photos reveal Robert Mueller and Paul Manafort both worked with former Ukraine President in 2013

Apr 09, 2018 | theduran.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged Paul Manafort, President Trump's former Campaign Manager, for working with former Ukrainian Presidnet Viktor Yanukovych in 2013.

Mueller failed to mention that he also worked with Yanukovych in 2013 six months before John Brennan, John McCain, Victoria Nuland, and their EU partners, lead a bloody neo-nazi coup to overthrow the Yanukovych government.

Last week a memo was released showing Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein directing the Mueller investigation to look into allegations that Paul Manafort

"Committed a crime or crimes arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government before and during the tenure of President Viktor Yanukovych."

According to the The Gateway Pundit , in the memo there is no indication that Rosenstein or Mueller offered that Mueller interacted with the former Ukrainian President as well. But then again, Rosenstein and Mueller have so many conflicts of interest in this case that it is accurately labeled a "witch hunt".

Jack Posobiec tweeted out over night the link between Mueller and Yanukovych

Robert Mueller is prosecuting Manfort for doing work in Ukraine for Viktor Yanukovych back in 2013

Here is Robert Mueller hanging out in Ukraine with Viktor Yanukovych back in 2013

What is going on here? pic.twitter.com/HQZ1zzjctR

-- Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) April 6, 2018

The Ukrainian Embassy in the United States shared on Facebook a picture of Robert Mueller with the President Yanukovych in 2013. The post was dated June 6, 2013

"We are grateful to American side for support of our efforts aimed at settlement of frozen conflicts, ensuring control over conventional arms in Europe and combating trafficking. We count on further support and cooperation with USA within the OSCE in order to enhance stability and security in the area which is under jurisdiction of the given organization," the President said at the meeting with FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The Head of State reminded that since the beginning of 2013, Ukraine had been presiding in the OSCE. "We determined priorities of our presidency in close cooperation with member-states of the OSCE. I am pleased to note that we have a constructive cooperation with Washington in this sphere," the President emphasized.

"Ukrainian-American cooperation efficiently develops in many spheres of mutual interest. Your visit is very interesting for Ukraine and relations between our law enforcement bodies have established good traditions of cooperation and communication in the course of 20 years. I am confident that there is a potential for further broadening of cooperation," Viktor Yanukovych said.

He stressed that Ukraine paid particular attention to the issue of combating terrorism. We have adopted a number of documents aimed at increasing the efficiency of such work.

"The level of cooperation between central executive governmental bodies involved in anti-terrorist actions is pretty high. The Security Service elaborated respective documents, they were reviewed and approved by respective Presidential Decree," the Head of State noted.

The President emphasized that Ukraine is very close to signing the Association Agreement with the EU in November. "There are some preparations left but I hope that we will fulfill everything and sign the Agreement," he said.

In his turn, FBI Director Robert Mueller expressed gratitude to the President of Ukraine for the assistance provided after the explosions in Boston. "I would like to focus on the most important issue for us – the issue of combating terrorism. I would like to say thank you for the assistance provided to us after the Boston Marathon," he noted.

FBI Director also informed that in the course of his meetings in Ukraine, he planned to discuss a number of issues of mutual interest.

Who only knows what the issues of mutual interest were!

Via The Gateway Pundit

This is not the first interaction Mueller had with the Russians. In 2009 Mueller hand delivered uranium to the Russians on an airport tarmac per the request of Hillary Clinton. Mueller also was Head of the FBI when the Obama Administration sold 20% of US uranium to the Russians in the Uranium One deal.

Mueller also reportedly visited Moscow before he visited the Ukrainian President in 2013.

How can Mueller be investigating Manfort for business with the Ukraine and Russia when Mueller is as suspect as Manafort ever was? Shut it down!

[Jan 05, 2018] TOP STORY OF THE DAY Manafort Lawsuit Will Likely Shut Down Deep State Mueller Investigation!

Notable quotes:
"... arose or may arise ..."
Jan 05, 2018 | www.thegatewaypundit.com

Today's report on the filing of a suit against the "Deep State" DOJ, Rosenstein and Mueller by Paul Manafort is a HUGE story. Manafort's suit is likely to shut down Mueller investigation!

No wonder the MSM came out with the Bannon – Trump story today. Whenever a huge story comes out about Criminal and Corrupt Mueller and Rosenstein and the Deep State led DOJ, another story is released by the MSM to change the subject in the media. Today the MSM talked about Breitbart's Steve Bannon's remarks about members of President Trump's family. These remarks have not yet been substantiated. However, the much bigger story in the news is that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort sued the DOJ, Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein and is demanding the Mueller investigation be shut down!

We have reported for months on the many criminal and corrupt actions taken by numerous parties related to the Mueller investigation. Mueller never should have taken on the job in the first place due to numerous conflicts. He is best friends with fired leaker and former FBI Director James Comey. He met with Comey shortly before Comey testified with Congress and for this alone he should have recused himself. The team Mueller built to attack President Trump and have him removed is all Deep State attorneys and crooks. Mueller's record in the past is scattered with actions that let the Clintons off Scott free on numerous occasions when they should have been put in jail.

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But the perhaps one of the most damning aspects of the Mueller investigation is that it was not legal . The corrupt Mueller investigation is tasked with finding a crime that does not exist in the law. It is a legal impossibility. Mueller is being asked to do something that is manifestly unattainable.

FOX News Legal Analyst Gregg Jarrett stated in an article a couple of months ago the fact that the entire Mueller investigation is lawless. Jarrett argued that –

Shortly after the indictments[against Papadopoulos and Manafort] were unsealed, the media's spirits were suddenly boosted when the special counsel revealed that a former adviser to Trump pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian national during his time on the Trump campaign. Surely this was evidence of illegal "collusion," right?

Wrong. George Papadopoulos pled guilty to a single charge of making a false statement to the FBI. He was not charged with so-called "collusion" because no such crime exists in American statutory law , except in anti-trust matters. It has no application to elections and political campaigns.

It is not a crime to talk to a Russian. Not that the media would ever understand that. They have never managed to point to a single statute that makes "colluding" with a foreign government in a political campaign a crime, likely because it does not exist in the criminal codes.

Jarrett then turned his attention to Corrupt Hillary –

It is against the law for the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to funnel millions of dollars to a British spy and to Russian sources in order to obtain the infamous and discredited Trump "dossier." The Federal Election Campaign Act (52 USC 30101) prohibits foreign nationals and governments from giving or receiving money in U.S. campaigns. It also prohibits the filing of false or misleading campaign reports to hide the true purpose of the money (52 USC 30121). This is what Clinton and the DNC appear to have done.

Most often the penalty for violating this law is a fine, but in egregious cases, like this one, criminal prosecutions have been sought and convictions obtained. In this sense, it could be said that Hillary Clinton is the one who was conspiring with the Russians by breaking campaign finance laws with impunity.

But that's not all. Damning new evidence appears to show that Clinton used her office as Secretary of State to confer benefits to Russia in exchange for millions of dollars in donations to her foundation and cash to her husband. Secret recordings, intercepted emails, financial records, and eyewitness accounts allegedly show that Russian nuclear officials enriched the Clintons at the very time Hillary presided over a governing body which unanimously approved the sale of one-fifth of America's uranium supply to Russia.

If this proves to be a corrupt "pay-to-play" scheme, it would constitute a myriad of crimes, including bribery (18 USC 201-b), mail fraud (18 USC 1341), and wire fraud (18 USC 1343). It might also qualify for racketeering charges (18 USC 1961-1968), if her foundation is determined to have been used as a criminal enterprise.

The US statutory law is clear and Jarrett points it out. He concluded with the following –

Until now, no one had legal "standing" to argue in court that the appointment of Mueller was illegal. The criminal charges [against Manafort and Papadopoulos] change all that. The two defendants will be able to argue before a judge that Mueller's appointment by Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein violated the special counsel law.

As I pointed out in a column last May, the law (28 CFR 600) grants legal authority to appoint a special counsel to investigate crimes. Only crimes. He has limited jurisdiction. Yet, in his order appointing Mueller as special counsel (Order No. 3915-2017), Rosenstein directed him to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump." It fails to identify any specific crimes, likely because none are applicable.

To put it plainly, Mueller is tasked with finding a crime that does not exist in the law. It is a legal impossibility. He is being asked to do something that is manifestly unattainable. Today as reported by Cristina Laila at TGP, Manafort sued the DOJ, Mueller and Rosenstein because what they are doing is not supported by US Law. This is the biggest story of the day! Manafort is suing to have the Mueller investigation shut down!

Manafort's case argues in paragraph 33 that the special counsel put in place by crooked Rosenstein gave crooked and criminal Mueller powers that are not permitted by law –

  1. But paragraph (b)(ii) of the Appointment Order purports to grant Mr. Mueller further authority to investigate and prosecute " any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation." That grant of authority is not authorized by DOJ's special counsel regulations. It is not a "specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated." Nor is it an ancillary power to address efforts to impede or obstruct investigation under 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).
If Manafort wins this case – which it appears according to the law he will – the entire investigation would be deemed illegal – which it is – and therefore legally would have to be shut down – which it should be.

[Jan 04, 2018] The first open statement the Mueller investigation is a witch hunt and has too broad scope specifically for this purpose

This was actually a brilliant legal move on the part of Manafort.
Jan 04, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

Originally from: Paul Manafort Sues Mueller and Asks a Judge to Narrow the Russia Investigation - The New York Times

President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, sued the special counsel on Wednesday and asked a federal court to narrow his authority...

... ... ...

Mr. Manafort's lawsuit gives voice to one of the common grievances Mr. Trump's supporters have with Mr. Mueller: None of the charges he has brought answer the central question of his inquiry. Mr. Mueller is investigating the Russian government's meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether anyone close to Mr. Trump was involved.

Mr. Manafort argued in the lawsuit that Mr. Mueller had gone too far. He sued both Mr. Mueller and Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who appointed Mr. Mueller. The lawsuit said Mr. Rosenstein had improperly given Mr. Mueller the authority to investigate "anything he stumbles across while investigating, no matter how remote."

Mr. Manafort asked a federal judge to reject Mr. Mueller's appointment as overly broad and to dismiss the indictment against him. He also asked for a court order prohibiting Mr. Mueller from investigating anything beyond Russian meddling in the election.

[Jan 03, 2018] Paul Manafort Sues DOJ, Robert Mueller And Rod Rosenstein Full Lawsuit Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... Manafort and Gates face a total of 12 criminal charges related to money laundering and failure to file federal disclosures. Both Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to appear again before the judge in the criminal case on January 16. ..."
"... More like "the special counsel doesn't have authority to investigate literally anything" since the charges against Manafort have absolutely NOTHING to do with Trump-Russia. You can't charge someone with a crime when the evidence was obtained illegally... ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Wed, 01/03/2018 - 15:07 24 SHARES

Paul Manafort, who served as the campaign chair for then-candidate Donald Trump's presidential campaign from March to August 2016, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The suit brought Wednesday in US District Court in Washington where Manafort and another former Trump campaign aide, Robert Gates, were charged, contends that the order Rosenstein signed to appoint Mueller "exceeds the scope of Mr. Rosenstein's authority to appoint special counsel as well as specific restrictions on the scope of such appointments" and challenges Mueller's decision to charge Manafort with alleged crimes that they say have nothing to do with the 2016 campaign, but rather relate to lucrative lobbying work Manafort and his deputy did for a former Russia-friendly government in Ukraine . That work ended in 2014, the suit says. Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates deny the allegations in the charges.

The focus is on a part of the Rosenstein order that says that Mueller may investigate "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation." The Manafort lawyers say that goes beyond what the law allows Rosenstein to empower Mueller to do.

Further, the Rosenstein order gives Mueller " carte blanche to investigate and pursue criminal charges in connection with anything he stumbles across while investigating, no matter how remote from the specific matter identified as the subject of the appointment order ," the lawsuit says.
Manafort and Gates was arrested in October and charged with money laundering and acting as an unregistered foreign agent during his work as a lobbyist for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and his party of regions. None of the charges brought against Manafort pertain to his work with the Trump campaign.

The legal action represents the latest tack in a broader effort by supporters of the President to push back on the special counsel. Some Republicans have begun publicly calling for Mueller's probe to be shut down. Manafort's attorneys have echoed the President's criticism that Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election is pursuing crimes that never happened.

Manafort and Gates face a total of 12 criminal charges related to money laundering and failure to file federal disclosures. Both Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to appear again before the judge in the criminal case on January 16.

Full lawsuit below ( pdf link )


detached.amusement -> Countrybunkererd Jan 3, 2018 3:22 PM

so basically he's saying "its not trump-russia, so it doesnt matter if I broke the law"

sounds like a sort of chewbacca defense to me

is hillary going to try to use that same defense too? lol

Countrybunkererd -> detached.amusement Jan 3, 2018 3:30 PM

Hillary's defense is "What difference, at this point, does it make?" My comment is directed to the fact that we each need 22 sets eyeballs to be able to keep up with all news. Reading headlines is not keeping up with news and to your point of his defense it is more along the lines of "the special council does not have the ability to charge him because it shouldn't have been in existence in the first place" based on my first cursory read of it .

Otsegoflesh -> detached.amusement Jan 3, 2018 3:32 PM

More like "the special counsel doesn't have authority to investigate literally anything" since the charges against Manafort have absolutely NOTHING to do with Trump-Russia. You can't charge someone with a crime when the evidence was obtained illegally...

tyberious Jan 3, 2018 3:20 PM

The need to challenge the legality of the special prosecutor "Since the expiration of the independent counsel statute in 1999, there has been no federal law governing the appointment of a special prosecutor. Upon the law's expiration in 1999, the Justice Department, under Attorney General Janet Reno, promulgated procedural regulations governing the appointment of special counsels."

And there has be evidence on wrong doing before appointment!

[Nov 08, 2017] More 'Fake News,' Alas, From the New York Times The American Conservative by Andrew J. Bacevich

Notable quotes:
"... Third, Manafort's efforts mattered bigly. In 2010, he helped Victor F. Yanukovych become president of Ukraine. An unquestionably nasty piece of work, Yanukovych was, according to Farkas, "Putin's man in Kiev." Yet like it or not, he came to power as the result of democratic election. In 2013, Yanukovych opted against joining the EU, which along with NATO, had, in Farkas's words, "experienced a burst of membership expansion" right up to Russia's own borders. ..."
"... In response to Yanukovych's action, "the Ukrainian people," that is, the enlightened ones, "took to the streets," forcing him to flee the country. Rather than bowing to the expressed will of the people, however, Russia's Vladimir Putin "instigated a separatist movement" in eastern Ukraine, thereby triggering "a war between Russia and Ukraine that continues to this day." ..."
"... To accept Farkas's account as truthful, one would necessarily conclude that as Manafort was hijacking history, the United States remained quietly on the sidelines, an innocent bystander sending prayers heavenward in hopes that freedom and democracy might everywhere prevail ..."
"... Furthermore, Russia was not alone in its meddling. The United States has been equally guilty. When "the Ukrainian people took to the streets," as Farkas puts it, the State Department and CIA were behind the scenes vigorously pulling strings. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland believed it was incumbent upon the United States to decide who should govern Ukraine. ("Yats is the guy," she said on a leaked call). Nuland would brook no interference from allies slow to follow Washington's lead. ("F–k the EU," she told the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.) ..."
"... That Ukraine is, as Farkas correctly states, a torn country, did not give Nuland pause. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. policymakers have assigned to themselves a magical ability to repair such tears and to make broken countries whole. The results of their labors are amply on display everywhere from Somalia and Haiti to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Now add Ukraine to that sorry list. ..."
"... Even so, can't we at least assume Nuland's motives were morally superior to Putin's? After all, President Putin is clearly a thug whereas Nuland is an estimable product of the American foreign policy establishment. She's married to Robert Kagan, for heaven's sake. ..."
"... This is why we should disband politically oriented NGO's. In essence, a country is only a democracy if it is pro-U.S. Resistance is futile. Meddling at this level will only bring about more conflict, instability and military obligations will follow. It is good to be king but it is also quite expensive and ultimately ruinous. ..."
"... Imperialism rules other peoples against their will, necessitating for its survival the lessening of democratic accountability at home, too, since it lessens the importance of citizens' own concerns, also requiring for its warmaking security keeping voters in the dark. ..."
"... Make that, More 'Fake News,' Of Course From the New York Times. Saturated with Fake News of various manifestations, the NY Times and its rancid analog Washington Post on the other end of the Crony-Elite NY-DC axis are unreadable. ..."
"... Given a ham-fisted EU run by Elite hacks in Brussels that is white washing Europe's Christian legacy, mandating overbearing economic and social controls and absorbing millions of net negative migrants, the Czechs, Poles, Hungarians and Balts seem to be having second thoughts. BTW, The Russians will not and do not want to invade those countries. As the EU spins out of control and the One Belt One Road initiative develops, Russia only needs to ask them what direction they want to face in the future. ..."
"... So, having said that, on foreign policy they, all newspapers and the vast majority of magazines, are war-peddling neo-con supporters. ..."
"... Do not buy any major newspaper. Let them wither away and, it wasn't fake spun 'news' we have been getting only this year: fake agenda driven bull has been going on for decades. Go to the internet and overseas for news think what I said over and you will see ..."
"... All this social, economic and political mess is the result of deregulation in the economic, social, political spheres. The effects of those deregulations are now quite obvious in: economy, society, morality and politics that are already corrupted to the core, but the corruption is not stopping there, it is consuming everything else on its way. There is no end to it, and what is even more surprising is that people want even more of all kinds of deregulations etc. ..."
"... Wouldn't it be more logical to bring back responsibility, moral standards and decency to politics, society and economy etc? What I now see in media is the total lack of any ideas on how to correct the obvious, but instead everybody is spinning his/her lies to make them more believable to the yet unconverted. This is pure relativism and sophistry and it destroys not only the USA, but the West as well. ..."
"... If an opinion piece in NYT or other MSM blatantly distorts the facts, then it belongs to the category of "fake news." Which should probably be called "malicious rumors." So the defense of some commenters that you can blatantly lie in opinion pieces (the right NYT exercised to the full extent in this particular example and for which Bacevich criticized them) is wrong. Anti-Russian witch hunt in NYT and other MSM destroys the credibility of the USA version of neoliberalism as well as the USA foreign policy. Along with Trump election, I view it as a symptom of the crisis of neoliberalism for which the US elite is unable to find a more suitable answer than scapegoating. Also the fact that Nuland is married to neocon warmonger Kagan is a material fact. ..."
Nov 08, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Disregarding President Trump's insistent claim that the establishment press propagates "fake news" requires a constant effort -- especially when a prestigious outlet like the New York Times allows itself to be used for blatantly fraudulent purposes.

I cherish the First Amendment. Mark me down as favoring journalism that is loud, lively, and confrontational. When members of the media snooze -- falling for fictitious claims about Saddam's WMD program or Gaddafi's genocidal intentions, for example -- we all lose.

So the recent decision by Times editors to publish an op-ed regarding Paul Manafort's involvement in Ukraine is disturbing. That the Times is keen to bring down Donald Trump is no doubt the case. Yet if efforts to do so entail grotesque distortions of U.S. policy before Trump, then we are courting real trouble. Put simply, ousting Trump should not come at the cost of whitewashing the follies that contributed to Trump's rise in the first place.

The offending Times op-ed, the handiwork of Evelyn N. Farkas, appears under the title "With Manafort, It Really Is About Russia, Not Ukraine." During the Obama administration, Farkas served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, and Mess Kit Repair. Okay, I added that last bit, but it does seem like quite an expansive charter for a mere deputy assistant secretary.

The story Farkas tells goes like this.

First, from the moment it achieved independence in 1991, Ukraine was a divided nation, "torn between Western Europe and Russia." Ukrainians in the country's western precincts wanted to join the European Union and NATO. Those further to east "oriented themselves toward Russia, which exerted maximum influence to keep Ukraine closely aligned." In one camp were enlightened Ukrainians. In the other camp, the unenlightened.

Second, Manafort's involvement in this intra-Ukrainian dispute was -- shockingly -- never about "advanc[ing] the interests of democracy, Western Europe or the United States." Manafort's motives were strictly venal. In what Farkas describes as a "standoff between democracy and autocracy," he threw in with the autocrats, thereby raking in millions.

Third, Manafort's efforts mattered bigly. In 2010, he helped Victor F. Yanukovych become president of Ukraine. An unquestionably nasty piece of work, Yanukovych was, according to Farkas, "Putin's man in Kiev." Yet like it or not, he came to power as the result of democratic election. In 2013, Yanukovych opted against joining the EU, which along with NATO, had, in Farkas's words, "experienced a burst of membership expansion" right up to Russia's own borders.

In response to Yanukovych's action, "the Ukrainian people," that is, the enlightened ones, "took to the streets," forcing him to flee the country. Rather than bowing to the expressed will of the people, however, Russia's Vladimir Putin "instigated a separatist movement" in eastern Ukraine, thereby triggering "a war between Russia and Ukraine that continues to this day."

To accept Farkas's account as truthful, one would necessarily conclude that as Manafort was hijacking history, the United States remained quietly on the sidelines, an innocent bystander sending prayers heavenward in hopes that freedom and democracy might everywhere prevail .

Such was hardly the case, however. One need not be a Putin apologist to note that the United States was itself engaged in a program of instigation, one that ultimately induced a hostile -- but arguably defensive -- Russian response.

In the wake of the Cold War, the EU and NATO did not experience a "burst" of expansion, a formulation suggesting joyous spontaneity. Rather, with Washington's enthusiastic support, the West embarked upon a deliberate eastward march at the Kremlin's expense, an undertaking made possible by (and intended to exploit) Russia's weakened state. In football, it's called piling on.

That this project worked to the benefit of Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, the Baltic Republics, and others is very much the case. On that score, it is to be applauded.

That at some point a resentful Russia would push back was all but certain. Indeed, more than a few Western observers had warned against such a response.

The proposed incorporation of Ukraine into NATO brought matters to a head. For Putin, this was an unacceptable prospect. He acted as would any U.S. president contemplating the absorption of a near neighbor into hostile bloc of nations. Indeed, he acted much as had Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy when they assessed the implications of Cuba joining the Soviet bloc.

That doesn't justify or excuse Putin's meddling in Ukraine. Yet it suggests an explanation for Russian behavior other than the bitterness of an ex-KGB colonel still with his shorts in a knot over losing the Cold War. Russia has an obvious and compelling interest in who controls Ukraine, even if few in Washington or in the editorial offices of the New York Times will acknowledge that reality.

Furthermore, Russia was not alone in its meddling. The United States has been equally guilty. When "the Ukrainian people took to the streets," as Farkas puts it, the State Department and CIA were behind the scenes vigorously pulling strings. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland believed it was incumbent upon the United States to decide who should govern Ukraine. ("Yats is the guy," she said on a leaked call). Nuland would brook no interference from allies slow to follow Washington's lead. ("F–k the EU," she told the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.)

That Ukraine is, as Farkas correctly states, a torn country, did not give Nuland pause. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. policymakers have assigned to themselves a magical ability to repair such tears and to make broken countries whole. The results of their labors are amply on display everywhere from Somalia and Haiti to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Now add Ukraine to that sorry list.

Even so, can't we at least assume Nuland's motives were morally superior to Putin's? After all, President Putin is clearly a thug whereas Nuland is an estimable product of the American foreign policy establishment. She's married to Robert Kagan, for heaven's sake.

Persuade yourself that the United States is all about democracy promotion, as Farkas appears to believe, and the answer to that question is clearly yes. Alas, the record of American statecraft stretching over decades provides an abundance of contrary evidence. In practice, the United States supports democracy only when it finds it convenient to do so. Should circumstances require, it unhesitatingly befriends despots, especially rich ones that pay cash while purchasing American weaponry.

Yanukovych was Putin's man, "and therefore, indirectly, so was Mr. Manafort," Farkas concludes. All that now remains is to determine "the extent to which Mr. Manafort was Putin's man in Washington." For Farkas, the self-evident answer to that question cannot come too soon.

As to whether Russia -- or any other great power -- might have legitimate security interests that the United States would do well to respect, that's not a matter worth bothering about. Thus does the imperative of ousting Trump eclipse the need to confront the pretensions and the hubris that helped make Trump possible.

Andrew Bacevich is writer-at-large at The American Conservative

John Fargo , says: November 7, 2017 at 11:17 pm

This is why the term "fake news" is so harmful and should not be used by media outlets. The use of "bad journalism" would be much more useful as it forces the claimants to justify their reasons for doing so.
"Fake news" is just a dog whistle.
William Dalton , says: November 8, 2017 at 12:02 am
Has it not occurred to the foreign policy establishment in Washington that it is more in America's national interests for Ukraine to remain in Moscow's orbit, so as to strengthen U.S.-Russian relations, not exacerbate tensions, rather than to pull them into the EU, or, God forbid, NATO? Isn't this what any of the seasoned experts at Foggy Bottom would tell you? Why aren't they doing so?
Tiktaalik , says: November 8, 2017 at 2:49 am
Two comments in order

1) Yanukovich won in 2004 as well and the election results were hijacked by 'Maidan'

2) Yanukovich wasn't Putin man back in 2010. As a matter of fact, he and his party actively promoted EU integration deal, until they read its actual conditions. After that they backtracked and rushed to Putin for a support.

So it was classical case of sitting on two chairs simultaneously.

JonB , says: November 8, 2017 at 5:39 am
Completely agree with John Fargo. "Fake News" should be reserved for deliberate falsehoods published knowingly. This NYT op-ed amounts to "an interpretation of history Bacevich doesn't agree with." I may not agree with it either – but it's not like claiming that the Vegas shooter was anti-Trump, or creating a Facebook account for a non-existent person or organization.
Nolan , says: November 8, 2017 at 6:42 am
Mr Fargo: Disagree. "Bad journalism" implies the author is lazy yet innocent in their way. "Fake news" is more about narrative control and manipulation of the reader through reinvention or exaggeration, et cetera. Calling articles and outlets fake news is more accurate and levies much more weight against the lies and deceit than simply accusing someone or thing of bad journalism.
Christian Chuba , says: November 8, 2017 at 6:54 am
This is why we should disband politically oriented NGO's. In essence, a country is only a democracy if it is pro-U.S. Resistance is futile. Meddling at this level will only bring about more conflict, instability and military obligations will follow. It is good to be king but it is also quite expensive and ultimately ruinous.
Fran Macadam , says: November 8, 2017 at 7:30 am
If it were all about democracy promotion, they wouldn't also be so anxious to negate an election here at home. Imperialism rules other peoples against their will, necessitating for its survival the lessening of democratic accountability at home, too, since it lessens the importance of citizens' own concerns, also requiring for its warmaking security keeping voters in the dark.
SteveM , says: November 8, 2017 at 7:36 am
Re: "More 'Fake News,' Alas, From the New York Times"

Make that, More 'Fake News,' Of Course From the New York Times. Saturated with Fake News of various manifestations, the NY Times and its rancid analog Washington Post on the other end of the Crony-Elite NY-DC axis are unreadable.

Re: "That this project worked to the benefit of Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, the Baltic Republics, and others is very much the case. On that score, it is to be applauded."

Given a ham-fisted EU run by Elite hacks in Brussels that is white washing Europe's Christian legacy, mandating overbearing economic and social controls and absorbing millions of net negative migrants, the Czechs, Poles, Hungarians and Balts seem to be having second thoughts. BTW, The Russians will not and do not want to invade those countries. As the EU spins out of control and the One Belt One Road initiative develops, Russia only needs to ask them what direction they want to face in the future.

Dee , says: November 8, 2017 at 8:08 am
How is it someone's "opinion" constitutes "fake News"? Trump did not win by policy issues, he rode the right-wing outrage at all things clinton/libtard better than anyone else. His policy positions were mostly promise everything to everyone, but his campaign was about Lock her up/ build the wall! After bashing Goldman Sachs during the election, once he won he promptly filled his cabinet with them and other mega donor types.
Mario Diana , says: November 8, 2017 at 9:30 am
@John Fargo – I'm in almost complete sympathy with Mr. Bacevich's essay, but you make an excellent point. "Bad journalism" is the better term. In fact, the only criticism I can make of your statement is that "dog whistle" is the wrong term. Everyone associates the term "fake news" with Donald Trump. (If it were possible, he no doubt would have trademarked it.) Using the term alienates the very people who need to hear criticisms like those in Mr. Bacevich's essay. They hear it, too; and upon hearing it, they stop listening.
Egypt Steve , says: November 8, 2017 at 11:34 am
Look, elite and non-elite self-delusion about the purity of U.S. motives abroad dates back to the Roosevelt administration at least -- and I mean the Teddy Roosevelt administration. I don't see how any of this amounts to a defense of charges of money-laundering against Manafort.
Janek , says: November 8, 2017 at 11:37 am
I disagree with John Fargo. The news that NYT, Washington Post, and other media outlets (not only liberal ) "produce" is the "Fake News". "Bad journalism" should be reserved and used in the sense Nolan explains. Besides the "Fake News" on the so called "left" in American politics in general is the problem of "double speak" and speaking with the "forked tongues". American "right" is the camp of the white flag.
Tom , says: November 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm
The op-ed page is for opinion pieces of writing and that is what this was an opinion. It isn't fake news because it isn't news.
SteveM , says: November 8, 2017 at 12:43 pm
Re: Janek:

Besides the "Fake News" on the so called "left" in American politics in general is the problem of "double speak" and speaking with the "forked tongues". American "right" is the camp of the white flag.

I've mentioned the various "flavors" of Fake News before. There is (1) the obvious – what is claimed as true is actually false. But also (2), what is claimed as important, actually isn't. And (3) what is important, is weakly or not reported at all.

An example of Type 2 is the WaPost reporting on its front page before the 2016 that Jared Kushner may have been greased into the Harvard MBA program. As if Ivy League greasing by monied Elites is unheard of. How was that front page news? And how about the acceptances of Chelsea Clinton (Stanford) and Malia Obama (Harvard)?

The cases of Type 3 Fake News are much more egregious. For example, the reasoned arguments and analysis by retired American intelligence officers and academics that the Syrian forces "chemical weapon attack" in April was almost certainly a false flag with staged recovery activity.

The NY Times and WaPost have consistently refused to acknowledge that those arguments and analysis even exist.

The linking of Russia to the DNC email leaks as factual by the Times, Post and NPR without a scintilla of published hard evidence is another example.

There are many more examples of Type 3 Fake News that could be demonstrated. Much of what claims to be journalism by the MSM is now Fake News trash.

Siarlys Jenkins , says: November 8, 2017 at 1:09 pm
Disregarding President Trump's insistent claim that the establishment press propagates "fake news" requires a constant effort -- especially when a prestigious outlet like the New York Times allows itself to be used for blatantly fraudulent purposes.

I agree in principal, although I note that President Trump and his team are as guilty of fake news as anyone, and the president himself appears to be positively delusional. I might at times disagree with Bacevich as to which news is fake.

I would also agree that there has been a great deal of "fake news" out of Ukraine, and what is really going on their is a former SSR with a bitterly divided population that each has about equal numbers, proponderance in some territories compared to others, and equally opportunistic leadership showing no great commitment to anything recognizable as "democracy."

Fayez Abedaziz , says: November 8, 2017 at 3:22 pm
Say, can we refrain from using the word 'journalism' when we refer to the American media? We should.

The internet and sources overseas, such as the Independent News paper/site out of Britain, have news that is not purposely spun as is by the neo-con American news papers and magazines. Not as much, anyway. Several points here, for example of what bad news (pun intended) the joke of American media is:

1- quit calling the main stream media liberal or left. They are liberal in a 'social issues sense,' that is, to be politically correct.

2- So, having said that, on foreign policy they, all newspapers and the vast majority of magazines, are war-peddling neo-con supporters.

3-They have agendas. Do we not remember how they, at the new york times, peddled the war against Iraq and how, when you look at the editorial page you feel that these people and the guests opinion writers are soulless people that have no concern for America's 'flyover' country?

4- Yeah, isn't that ironic that these people look down on America's middle class, blue collar workers and yes, it's troops, by that constant bashing of nations here and there and pushing for aggressive stands or even military attacks? Let the people at the major newspapers like this n.y.times rag tell us when they served in the U.S. military or their when their offspring did or when they're gonna join and volunteer for combat duty. Never mind, I've got the answer-none of 'em.

Do not buy any major newspaper. Let them wither away and, it wasn't fake spun 'news' we have been getting only this year: fake agenda driven bull has been going on for decades. Go to the internet and overseas for news think what I said over and you will see

Janek , says: November 8, 2017 at 3:39 pm
@SteveM

Not everybody has the time to analyze the deluge of all the "Fake News" and categorize it into classes and/or sub-classes you or somebody else proposes. Where all that leads? Soon we will have new sociopolitical discipline and experts on "fake-newsology" that will introduce another layer of pseudo-information that will have to be translated to the uninitiated and unwashed.

All this social, economic and political mess is the result of deregulation in the economic, social, political spheres. The effects of those deregulations are now quite obvious in: economy, society, morality and politics that are already corrupted to the core, but the corruption is not stopping there, it is consuming everything else on its way. There is no end to it, and what is even more surprising is that people want even more of all kinds of deregulations etc.

Wouldn't it be more logical to bring back responsibility, moral standards and decency to politics, society and economy etc? What I now see in media is the total lack of any ideas on how to correct the obvious, but instead everybody is spinning his/her lies to make them more believable to the yet unconverted. This is pure relativism and sophistry and it destroys not only the USA, but the West as well.

nikbez

If an opinion piece in NYT or other MSM blatantly distorts the facts, then it belongs to the category of "fake news." Which should probably be called "malicious rumors."

So the defense of some commenters that you can blatantly lie in opinion pieces (the right NYT exercised to the full extent in this particular example and for which Bacevich criticized them) is wrong.

Anti-Russian witch hunt in NYT and other MSM destroys the credibility of the USA version of neoliberalism as well as the USA foreign policy. Along with Trump election, I view it as a symptom of the crisis of neoliberalism for which the US elite is unable to find a more suitable answer than scapegoating.

Also the fact that Nuland is married to neocon warmonger Kagan is a material fact.

[Sep 20, 2017] Manafort News a Blockbuster or Nothingburger

To what extent Natalia Veselnitskaya represented Russian state and to what extent interests of certain Russian oligarchs is unclear. The obvious guess is that she did not. She is an oligarchs lawyer. But she could pretend that he did.
Notable quotes:
"... On the night of the election, most anchors reacted in shock. Rachel Maddow appeared aghast. They were stunned at their own failure to predict this outcome and were obliged to seek excuses for the unexpected, unfortunate outcome. The Comey announcement was of course the first explanation deployed, but soon a far more useful one appeared: Russia had rigged the election by providing stolen DNC emails to Wikileaks, using them to discredit Hillary. (It's rarely mentioned how, precisely, they had done that, by showing that the DNC under Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders.) ..."
"... Obama requested a quick intelligence report, to justify immediate harsh sanctions. He got it, expelled over 700 Russian diplomats, and closed down consulates and recreational facilities owned by the Russian state. These follow the sanctions applied in 2014 in response to events in Ukraine, which caused Russia to retaliate, among other things, by ending the program through which Americans adopt Russian children. ..."
"... News anchors keep referring to Manafort as "Trump's campaign manager," elevating his significance. Recall that Trump had Corey Lewandowski as his campaign chairman from January to June; Manafort from June to August; and Stephen Bannon from August to November. Why not say, "Bannon, the second out of three Trump campaign chiefs"? And why not add: " who resigned when it was disclosed that he had been paid huge sums as a consultant for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych?" ..."
"... And then mention that Yanukovych had been democratically elected in 2010, and that Manafort, who had advised U.S. presidential candidates Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, Ferdinand Marcos, Mobuto Sese Seko, and Jonas Savimbi. And that there's probably nothing illegal about that. ..."
"... But why this term, "operative"? What is a "Russian operative," such as the Trump campaign may have met? As opposed to a Russian businessman, politician, lawyer, journalist, priest? The term is tendentious, implying that every Russian operates on behalf of the Russian state and Vladimir Putin. Russophobic language infects the relentless coverage of this issue, which!as Van Jones suggested!has been a nothingburger. ..."
Sep 20, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

Flipping the channel to U.S. cable news, the lead story is Paul Manafort's imminent indictment, apparently for his business dealings. Presented as a BLOCKBUSTER, it's got all the talking heads smelling blood in the water. Here, they hope, is the smoking gun. Their eyes are bright with hope, if not for Trump's impeachment, for his forced embrace of continued confrontation with Moscow.

On the night of the election, most anchors reacted in shock. Rachel Maddow appeared aghast. They were stunned at their own failure to predict this outcome and were obliged to seek excuses for the unexpected, unfortunate outcome. The Comey announcement was of course the first explanation deployed, but soon a far more useful one appeared: Russia had rigged the election by providing stolen DNC emails to Wikileaks, using them to discredit Hillary. (It's rarely mentioned how, precisely, they had done that, by showing that the DNC under Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders.)

Obama requested a quick intelligence report, to justify immediate harsh sanctions. He got it, expelled over 700 Russian diplomats, and closed down consulates and recreational facilities owned by the Russian state. These follow the sanctions applied in 2014 in response to events in Ukraine, which caused Russia to retaliate, among other things, by ending the program through which Americans adopt Russian children.

"Russian Interference"

The meeting between Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in Trump Tower in June 2016, including Donald Jr., Jared Kushner, Manafort, Rinat Akhmetshin and publicist Rob Goldstone appears to have included three elements: withdrawal of sanctions under a Trump administration, restitution of the adoption program (with which Veselnitskaya has indeed been involved) as one action in return, and the issue which drew Don Jr. to the gathering: and possibly the promise of info on Hillary. So if Don Jr. and Jared say it was about adoption they might be telling the partial truth.

Hadn't Junior been told that there were documents that "would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father," and hadn't he said "I love it"? It is just possible that this meeting resulted in Russian hacking of the DNC and the leaking of the documents by Wikileaks (although Julian Assange and colleague Craig Murray strongly deny this).

On July 22, Wikileaks released its first batch of DNC emails. Wasserman-Schultz and half a dozen others had to resign, and DNC sincerely apologized to Sanders for Wasserman-Schultz's comment that it would be "silly" to imagine a Sanders victory.

On July 27 Trump speaking to a news conference in Doral, Florida said this:

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing [from Clinton's emails] I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

On Nov. 7, Wikileaks released a second batch of documents, including a email written by Hillary's own campaign chairman John Podesta in January, saying: "I'm down. Our team is all tactics and has no idea of how to lift her up." Very embarrassing just before the election. But the provenance of the leaked documents is in fact unclear, and contested.

This BLOCKBUSTER news about Manafort reportedly involves financial transactions. The idea may be to trade leniency for financial wrongdoing for information on the alleged "collusion" between the Trump campaign and Moscow. But what if there is none?

News anchors keep referring to Manafort as "Trump's campaign manager," elevating his significance. Recall that Trump had Corey Lewandowski as his campaign chairman from January to June; Manafort from June to August; and Stephen Bannon from August to November. Why not say, "Bannon, the second out of three Trump campaign chiefs"? And why not add: " who resigned when it was disclosed that he had been paid huge sums as a consultant for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych?"

And then mention that Yanukovych had been democratically elected in 2010, and that Manafort, who had advised U.S. presidential candidates Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, Ferdinand Marcos, Mobuto Sese Seko, and Jonas Savimbi. And that there's probably nothing illegal about that.

Why All the Fuss?

Why all this fuss about Manafort in Ukraine? Because he's accused of developing ties with Russians while there, which is hardly surprising, considering that he's a mercenary opportunist and businessman, and Russia and Ukraine have numerous historical, cultural, economic and business ties. Yanukovich's party (Party of Regions) is described by the U.S. as "pro-Russian" although that is simplistic and reflects ignorance of the ethnic mix in Ukraine and the relationship to both Russia and the EU. (Victoria Nuland, Obama's assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, promoted that view and declared the U.S.'s support for "the Ukrainian people's European aspirations.")

Yanukovich could have introduced Manafort to lots of Russians. But that was all over in 2014 before Trump announced his campaign.

We now know that Manafort came under investigation by the FBI soon after the U.S.-backed putsch in February 2014 and is ongoing. But it didn't start as an investigation into Russian election meddling. And it will very possibly not find any evidence for that. It may find, for example, an email in which Manafort supports the withdrawal of the party plank in July 2015 advocating lethal arms to the current government. (This is another of the very few "facts" cited establish "Russian interference." But it seems to me a lot of Republicans don't want to provoke Russia in Russia's backyard. Since when does mere reason constitute "collusion"?) But it would be a stretch to assume he's the key villain interlocutor between "Russian operatives" and the Trump campaign.

But why this term, "operative"? What is a "Russian operative," such as the Trump campaign may have met? As opposed to a Russian businessman, politician, lawyer, journalist, priest? The term is tendentious, implying that every Russian operates on behalf of the Russian state and Vladimir Putin. Russophobic language infects the relentless coverage of this issue, which!as Van Jones suggested!has been a nothingburger.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan ; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan ; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900 . He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion , (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

[May 23, 2017] Manafort faced blackmail attempt, hacks suggest - POLITICO

Looks like Ukrainians joined the witch hunt...
May 23, 2017 | www.politico.com

A purported cyberhack of the daughter of political consultant Paul Manafort suggests that he was the victim of a blackmail attempt while he was serving as Donald Trump's presidential campaign chairman last summer.

The undated communications, which are allegedly from the iPhone of Manafort's daughter, include a text that appears to come from a Ukrainian parliamentarian named Serhiy Leshchenko, seeking to reach her father, in which he claims to have politically damaging information about both Manafort and Trump.

Attached to the text is a note to Paul Manafort referring to "bulletproof" evidence related to Manafort's financial arrangement with Ukraine's former president, the pro-Russian strongman Viktor Yanukovych, as well as an alleged 2012 meeting between Trump and a close Yanukovych associate named Serhiy Tulub.

"Considering all the facts and evidence that are in my possession, and before possible decision whether to pass this to [the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine] or FBI I would like to get your opinion on this and maybe your way to work things out that will persuade me to do otherwise," reads the note. It is signed "Sergii" - an alternative transliteration of Leshchenko's given name - and it urges Manafort to respond to an email address that reporters have used to reach Leshchenko.

In the typo-ridden text to Manafort's daughter to which the note was attached, the sender writes from a different address, "I need to get in touch with Paul i need to share some important information with him regarding ukraine investigation." The sender adds "as soon as he comes back to me i will pass you documents," but also warns: "if I don't get any reply from you iam gonaa pass it on to the fbi and ukrainian authorities including media."

Leshchenko disavowed the texts in question, telling POLITICO on Tuesday "I've never written any emails or messages to Manafort or his family. I don't know their contact details." He added he said "I have nothing to do with" the email address from which the texts were sent.

And in a Facebook post , he wrote that the "correspondence with Manafort's daughter is obviously fake."

The White House did not respond to a question about whether Trump had met with Tulub, a hunting buddy of Yanukovych's who had served in the government when Yanukovych was prime minister. But a White House official questioned the chronology supporting the claim, explaining that Trump had not worked with Manafort before the 2016 campaign.

In a Tuesday interview, Manafort denied brokering a 2012 meeting between Trump and Tulub and also pointied out that he wasn't working for Trump at the time.

However, Manafort did confirm the authenticity of the texts hacked from his daughter's phone. And he added that, before the texts were sent to his daughter, he had received similar texts to his own phone number from the same address appearing to be affiliated with Leshchenko.

He said he did not respond directly to any of the texts, and instead passed them along to his lawyer. He declined to provide the texts to POLITICO.

The hacked correspondence from his daughter's phone, much of which is unrelated to Paul Manafort's work, appears to have first surfaced a couple of weeks ago in an anonymous post on a so-called darknet website run by a hacktivist collective.

While the post hints in its introductory text that the hacker or hackers have additional information on Manafort, it includes only a handful of screenshots of texts from Manafort's daughter's cellphone, as well as some data files that appear to be related to the texts.

The images began circulating this week in political circles in Kiev and Washington.

The post comes at a time when there's intense interest in the connections between Trump's inner circle and pro-Russian interests. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and congressional committees alike are looking into contacts between Trump's associates - including Manafort - and Russian officials during the presidential campaign , and the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russian intelligence engineered cyberattacks on Democratic officials and groups with the intent of boosting Trump's presidential campaign by damaging that of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The screenshots of hacked texts sent to Manafort's daughter do not include any information indicating the date on which they were sent.

But Manafort said that the first of the texts arrived shortly before The New York Times published an August exposé revealing that the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine had obtained documents - which have since come under scrutiny - that appeared to show $12.7 million in cash payments earmarked for Manafort.

Manafort challenged the authenticity of the documents. And, while he said he could not be sure whether the texts apparently referencing them were in fact sent by Leshchenko, he said "I find it coincidental that I got these texts, and then he released these phony journals."

The Times story identified Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist who has built a reputation as an anti-corruption crusader, as a key player in revealing the documents. They appear to be from a ledger maintained by the Party of Regions, which Yanukovych headed. With financing from pro-Russian oligarchs , Manafort and his team helped resurrect Yanukovych's career and get him elected prime minister in 2007 and president in 2010 . But Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia under the protection of Russian President Vladimir Putin amid widespread 2013 protests over government corruption.

The documents eventually were provided to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, a government agency that had signed an evidence-sharing agreement with the FBI in late June - less than a month and a half before it released the ledgers.

The Times reported that the payments earmarked for Manafort were "a focus" of an investigation by Ukrainian anti-corruption officials, while CNN reported days later that the FBI was pursuing an overlapping inquiry.

Leshchenko held a news conference after the stories to highlight the documents, urging Ukrainian and American law enforcement to aggressively investigate Manafort.

"I believe and understand the basis of these payments are totally against the law - we have the proof from these books," Leshchenko said during the news conference, which attracted international media coverage. "If Mr. Manafort denies any allegations, I think he has to be interrogated into this case and prove his position that he was not involved in any misconduct on the territory of Ukraine," Leshchenko added.

Manafort denied receiving any off-the-books cash from Yanukovych's party and said he had never been contacted about the ledger by Ukrainian or American investigators. Nonetheless, the swirling controversy from the ledger reports forced him to step down from Trump's campaign.

Yet, after Trump's surprising victory over Clinton, Ukrainian officials appeared to back away from claims about the ledger and their investigations thereof.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine told POLITICO in December that a "general investigation" of the ledger was "still ongoing," but it said Manafort was not a target of the investigation. "As he is not the Ukrainian citizen, [the anti-corruption bureau] by the law couldn't investigate him personally," the bureau said in a statement.

Although the bureau is structured as an independent agency, some critics of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko contend that the ledgers may have been doctored or even forged and were disseminated with Poroshenko's tacit support in an effort to damage Trump.

During the campaign, Ukrainian government officials publicly questioned Trump's fitness for office, and they helped Clinton's allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, according to a POLITICO investigation published last month.

Poroshenko and his allies, who are scrambling to establish a relationship with the Trump administration, have distanced themselves from those efforts, and from Leshchenko.

The anti-corruption bureau is "fully independent," a Poroshenko spokesman told POLITICO last month. The spokesman said the presidential administration did not take any "targeted action against Manafort."

The spokesman in a written statement said Leshchenko "positions himself as a representative of internal opposition in the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko's faction, despite [the fact that] he belongs to the faction," adding, "it was about him personally who pushed [the anti-corruption bureau] to proceed with investigation on Manafort."

The post that appears to be the first to disseminate the texts from Manafort's daughter included some anti-Trump language, justifying the hack as retribution on behalf of those damaged by Trump's politics.

The site hosting the post is associated with a hacktivist collective that is relatively unknown in the cybersecurity world.

One former U.S. military intelligence cybersecurity analyst said, "I don't think we've got a history with them. They are not a known entity."

The cybersecurity analyst, whose company patrols cyberspace in search of hacker groups for private clients and government agencies, said the collective "seems like randos, not the nation-states we usually track."

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