Good morning! The former chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign is screwed. Let us count the ways:
1. In an email, he offered to give a Russian billionaire — with close ties to the Kremlin — private briefings on the status of the Trump campaign, two weeks before Trump accepted the Republican nomination.
2. That oligarch was very close to Putin.
Per THE INDEPENDENT (UK) Deripaska is "among the 2 or 3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis." THAT'S who Manafort offered access to.— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 21, 2017
3. In one email, he asked how he could use his growing reputation as Trump’s campaign manager to enrich himself:
In one April exchange days after Trump named Manafort as a campaign strategist, Manafort referred to his positive press and growing reputation and asked, “How do we use to get whole?”
Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said Wednesday that the email exchanges reflected an “innocuous” effort to collect past debts.
“It’s no secret Mr. Manafort was owed money by past clients,” Maloni said.
Even Trump’s White House lawyer thinks this is “shocking.”
(1) Ty Cobb tells me re WaPo report:"It would be truly shocking" if true Paul Manafort "tried to monetize his relationship w the president."— Margaret Talev (@margarettalev) September 21, 2017
4. Manafort is about to be indicted “for possible violations of tax laws, money-laundering prohibitions and requirements to disclose foreign lobbying.”
5. He’s not returning calls to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which may or may not subpoena Manafort, depending on whether he’s indicted.
“We have tried to talk to Manafort’s lawyers for weeks and do not get a phone call returned. That would mandate that we have a subpoena,” [Senator Chuck] Grassley said. “Now the questions that I can’t answer for you is, I don’t know whether it’s worth issuing subpoenas when somebody’s been indicted — if there’s any value in that.”
6. A former CIA agent believes that Paul Manafort may have been dispatched into the Trump campaign by the Russians.
Remember, Manafort wasn’t being paid by the Trump campaign. He offered his services for free.
(27) So someone was paying Manafort for services rendered during the 6 months he was with the Trump campaign. And it certainly wasn't Trump.— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) August 9, 2017
7. To pay his mounting legal bills, he’s been working to secure a referendum on Kurdish independence from Iraq — a referendum the U.S. opposes.
8. It’s unclear what was being discussed, but the FBI definitely did intercept conversations between Manafort and the Russians during the campaign. It’s very possible that the FBI also intercepted conversation between Manafort and Trump, Manafort and Sessions, and Manafort and Pence.
I think this Manafort guy is in trouble.— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) September 20, 2017
Me too, Lovett. Me too.
It’s not a question of how fucked Paul Manafort is (very); it’s a question now of how much Donald Trump knew. Will Manafort flip to save his ass? For what it’s worth, VP Pence does not get off scot free, either. Manafort is the guy who selected him as Vice President. Why Pence?