Monday, October 30, 2017


(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
It didn't take a political savant of a reverse William Kristol or Dick Morris to see that Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman and fulltime Russia stooge, would get the first salvo from the Mueller investigation right between the eyes. As a bonus, the Justice Department also ordered his sidekick Rick Gates to also turn himself in to the FBI. The first fruits of Mueller's probe includes 12 charges, among them: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy of money laundering and failing to disclose paid work as a foreign agent. (Charges to which they've already pled not guilty in federal court as of 2 PM, EST.)
     Immediately after they'd surrendered at the FBI's Washington field office, George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty to lying about having had contact with Russian officials.
     It wasn't enough for Trump to "make America great again"- He had to drag into the swamp with him a Martin Scorsese movie. Don't forget, last July the FBI dramatically raided Manafort's Alexandria's house in the predawn hours with guns drawn during a no-knock search that no doubt provided Mueller with the basis for his dozen indictments. If you want a picture of what the Trump administration will look like in 2018, just look at what's left of Manafort's old neighborhood on The Walking Dead.
     Predictably, Trump couldn't keep his stubby little fingers or his mouth shut when the grand jury's indictment was released to the media, as these typical tweets attest:
     Sure, the indictments that were handed down today and the charges therein had nothing whatsoever to do with the Trump campaign, transition team or administration. But it would be fallacious to assume Mueller's massive legal team did all that investigating so they could take down just two Republican hacks who never worked for the Trump administration. This is merely the first snowflake, if I can borrow the word from the right wing, in the biggest blizzard of the year.

There's Nothing to See Here, Comrades, Except Hillary Clinton
Predictably, the world's oldest seven year-old is using the typical second grader's defense: "But... but, look at her!" Unfortunately for the people within Trump's hamster ball, Private Citizen Hillary Clinton, even though she's in more pockets than 1964 nickels, is not under investigation by the Department of Justice. Her campaign did not collude with Russia and, as Secretary of State, she hadn't the power to either accept or reject the Uranium One deal. It's the tried-and-true right wing tactic of distract and deflect.
     At the same time, the Trump White House is also predictably playing the "Who's...?" game and running away from Manafort faster than a greyhound from a bathtub. Trump's downplaying Manafort's role, position and importance when he was the CEO of his campaign is palpably ludicrous. Manafort had his hands on the helm from March to August last year, which included the Republican National Convention in Cleveland (when Senator and future Attorney General Jeff Sessions had met with Russia's then-ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel, which he also "forgot" about). To say Manafort wasn't with the campaign long is like telling a person with bubonic plague, "Take it easy. You haven't had it for very long!"
     Paul Manafort's but the tip of the iceberg that was struck by the HMS Trump long, long ago. His connection to Russian nationals that went all the way up to Vladimir Putin and then Ukrainian Prime Minister and Putin puppet, Viktor Yanukovych were well-established by August last year. Manafort was in deep financial trouble until he saw Russia from his house and before anyone knew it, Trump's onetime right hand man profited off his behind-the-scenes work for Russia to the tune of tens of millions. In light of the indictments, it's safe to say Manafort's the highest profile lobbyist to go down in flames since Jack Abramoff.
     Again, the indictments are not about the Trump White House in any way, shape or form. 
     Then again, it took the Russians, once so lucrative for Manafort, several years to get to Berlin and the bunker beneath the Reichstag.


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