In 2010, pro-Russia candidate Viktor Yanukovych was elected president of Ukraine. Paul Manafort provided extensive consulting services for his campaign. Politico has called it “a political love connection.”
Vladimir Putin was pleased. His strategic endgame has been to create a united Eurasia that is nationalistic, Christian, steeped in local culture and history, and that would compete with Europe for regional hegemony.
This was an early inkling of the Zeitgeist that would later lead to Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. Manafort was one of its architects.
Ukraine’s decision to align with Putin did not sit well with globalists, though. John McCain flew to Kiev to stir up protesters against the democratically elected ruler, fomenting a coup d’état in 2014 that ousted Yanukovych and installed a pro-Western puppet.
The FBI, headed by James Comey, investigated Manafort for his work with Yanukovych but found nothing illegal. It was not yet a crime to oppose John McCain on a matter of foreign policy.
In 2016, Donald Trump rode the international trend of nationalism to win the Republican nomination. On June 20 of that year, he hired a campaign manager who had experience promoting this sort of agenda: Manafort.
The next month, several private emails of John Podesta were published by Wikileaks. They showed the Clinton campaign coordinating with the DNC to fix the primaries against Bernie Sanders.
Podesta blamed Russia for hacking his emails. Curiously, Podesta would not let the FBI inspect the allegedly hacked computers. Instead, he hired CrowdStrike, a private contractor whose CTO and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a Russian ex-patriot and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank with an anti-Russian agenda.
The Atlantic Council is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, a $10 million donor to the Clinton Foundation. Not surprisingly, CrowdStrike supported Podesta’s talking point that Russia hacked his computer, which took the focus away from the embarrassing content of the emails and put it on Trump’s campaign.
It has recently been learned that the email files were removed from the computer at the speed of 22.7 megabytes per second, which makes a hack impossible. The internet cannot download at that speed. It was an inside job, more than likely a staffer sympathetic to Sanders using a jump drive. There is no way Comey did not know that.
In August, Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign over heat he was taking for his Russian connections. Amazingly, Podesta – with a huge assist from the FBI – had managed to use leaked emails that showed his campaign’s dirty tricks to cause chaos at the top of Trump’s campaign.
Trump hired Kellyanne Conway to replace Manafort. Against all odds, Trump won the election. The response to his victory among his political opponents ranged from apoplexy to hysteria, and the Russian collusion story became the preferred form of denial.
Comey was called to testify before Congress, and he confirmed that there was an investigation into Russian meddling but could not say much more. Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the probe on the advice of career ethics attorneys at the Justice Department.
Trump met with Comey on several occasions asking him to make public what he had told the president privately: that the president was not a target. Comey refused, and Trump fired him.
Comey then leaked notes of his meetings with Trump, he claimed under oath, to get a special counsel appointed. He did not say what he knew behind the scenes about the inner workings of Washington that convinced him his notes would have that effect.
The special counsel decision devolved to the second in command at the Justice Department, Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller to investigate, “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”
Take it from a practicing lawyer: the “or” is never a throw in. The “and” is the bait, and the “or” is the switch. This investigation was never about the “and” – nobody ever thought that Russia coordinated with Trump to steal Podesta’s emails. This has been an inquisition from the start, to probe “links… between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign” – Paul Manafort.
Mueller had been Obama’s director of the FBI until 2013. More than likely, he had previously explored Manafort’s advocacy on behalf of Yanukovych in Ukraine, or at least his Russian ties. Mueller has a dog in this fight.
It is all too convenient and seems at some level to have been coordinated. But for what purpose?
President Trump said at the UN: “As president of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first.” That is the Manafortian, Brexit-y worldview that many in Washington would like to outlaw.
An unlimited investigation of Manafort’s efforts on behalf of Ukraine under the discredited canard that Russia stole the election is, effectively, a collateral attack on that worldview. It is the Washington establishment accomplishing by the legal process what it could not in the last election.
They are going to find links between Manafort and Russia through his work in Ukraine, and whoever wrote that order knew it. But there is nothing criminal about advancing political policy in Ukraine with the support of foreign actors. The Atlantic Council and the Clinton Foundation could tell you that.
The whole thing stinks to high heaven and Jeff Sessions, the man who would otherwise be putting an end to it, stands recused from the Russian investigation.
He is not recused, however, from the operations of his Justice Department. If he suspects that political interests are manipulating federal law enforcement, he should order a special counsel to investigate the investigators.
He has illegal FISA wiretaps, the inexplicable reliance on Crowdstrike, well-timed leaks, and everything else in this sordid tale – more than enough to warrant that suspicion. It is time to do something about it.