Former Rump campaign manager Paul "Secret Agent Man" Manafort is in the spotlight again:
Aug. 19 was an eventful day for Paul Manafort.
That morning, he stepped down from guiding Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign, after a brief tenure during which Mr. Trump won the Republican nomination, Democrats’ emails were hacked and the campaign’s contacts with Russia came under scrutiny. Dogged by revelations about past financial dealings in Ukraine, Mr. Manafort retreated from public view.
But behind the scenes, he was busy with other matters. Papers were recorded that same day creating a shell company controlled by Mr. Manafort that soon received $13 million in loans from two businesses with ties to Mr. Trump, including one that partners with a Ukrainian-born billionaire and another led by a Trump economic adviser. They were among $20 million in loans secured by properties belonging to Mr. Manafort and his wife. [snip]Manafort, who is now, post facto, registering as a foreign agent, and from whom Rump is now ludicrously distancing himself, is one linchpin in the ultimate investigation into "what does Russia have on Trump." Former advisor Carter Page is another:
Mr. Manafort’s ties to Ukraine and Russia have come under scrutiny as federal officials investigate Russian meddling in the American presidential election. Investigators are known to have examined aspects of his finances, including bank accounts he had in the secretive tax haven of Cyprus; there is no indication his recent loans are part of the inquiry. (our emphasis)
The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.
The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.
This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.True to form, the Rump regime is now trying to minimize Page's role in the campaign.
Meanwhile, a third linchpin, former Nationals Security Advisor Michael "Can I Haz Immunity?" Flynn continues to learn, much like Manafort, Page and Steve "Loose Cannon" Bannon, that there's no honor (or loyalty) among
Retired General Mike Flynn has had a tough couple weeks, and the White House seems more than happy to kick him while he’s down.
President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser worked with White House lawyers last month to correct a financial disclosure statement that omitted any mention of payments from Russian government-linked entities, only to see the White House release that information to the press.
The White House would have been entirely within its rights keeping the information to itself—and it did so for other officials who amended financial disclosure statements.
Instead they released them, causing an additional headache for Flynn and casting more suspicion on the former Trump adviser. (our emphasis)"Who's this Flynn guy you keep talking about?"
Clearly, the Rump regime is busy building fire lines using former advisors and regime officials as controlled burns to keep the flames from Rump for as long as possible. The relentlessness of the F.B.I. -- and potentially, the Senate's -- investigation (and bless 'em, the leaks), the cooperation of friendly foreign intelligence agencies, combined with the neck- saving deal- cutting that is likely going on behind the scenes, would appear to make this a loser strategy. But, make no mistake, these ratf*ckers will do everything in their power to hang on, and if necessary, they won't hesitate to bring down our democratic institutions with them.
UPDATE: Investigators now believe they have "concrete and corroborative evidence" of collusion between the Rump campaign and Russia. Man, that fire's getting closer.