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What’s it all about, Bobby?

Back in March 2018, Franklin Foer wrote a piece for the Atlantic called The Plot Against America. You might have skipped right over it, confusing it with a thriller co-written by an ex-president and a famous novelist. But you would be wrong.

Foer’s piece is all about Paul Manafort, how he made his millions, how he lost his millions, his ties to government insiders in former soviet states, and how he eliminated ice from the menu at his daughter’s rehearsal dinner. Oh, and that stuff about how he coerced his wife into group sex? Yeah, there are hints and allegations that it might be true.

And then there’s this:

His work, the source of the status he cherished, had taken a devastating turn. For nearly a decade, he had counted primarily on a single client, albeit an exceedingly lucrative one. He’d been the chief political strategist to the man who became the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, with whom he’d developed a highly personal relationship. Manafort would swim naked with his boss outside his banya, play tennis with him at his palace (“Of course, I let him win,” Manafort made it known), and generally serve as an arbiter of power in a vast country. One of his deputies, Rick Gates, once boasted to a group of Washington lobbyists, “You have to understand, we’ve been working in Ukraine a long time, and Paul has a whole separate shadow government structure … In every ministry, he has a guy.” Only a small handful of Americans—oil executives, Cold War spymasters—could claim to have ever amassed such influence in a foreign regime. The power had helped fill Manafort’s bank accounts; according to his recent indictment, he had tens of millions of dollars stashed in havens like Cyprus and the Grenadines.

Anyway, as I was reading it, I was reminded of Robert Mueller’s “speaking indictments” from earlier in the year. There was one about the Russian trolls. There was one about the ties of some agents of the GRU to the 2016 shenanigans. They were supposed to inform the public that there’s a story here, a narrative, that he is beginning to tell like Homer reciting in front of the fire about the muse singing about the man of twists and turns on a wine dark sea.

We may all be scratching our heads about what Manafort’s current trial regarding fraudulent bank loans have to do with the Trump campaign in 2016 and we may not find out exactly what the tie in is by the end of it. But I think Mueller might be using this case as another chapter in the story, a different kind of speaking indictment. There are connections here that run all over the place from Manafort. It’s vast and sleazy and I doubt that there will be a Penelope at the end of this tale but the destruction of the suitors is going to be riveting.

********************************

Walk to work music. How do you call your loverboy?

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65 Responses

  1. Manafort’s lawyers asked Gates what he had told Mueller about trump campaign, Manafort and Russia and they were silenced because that part is part of coming attractions from Mueller aka ongoing investigation.

  2. RD, I have a twitter related question (I don’t have a twitter account). When I link other people’s tweets here, say your tweet here in my comment, do you get a notification that it was linked here? Let me try it with this tweet from you. BTW, congratulations on sticking with it for 10 years.

  3. I have thought from the outset that the Manafort charges and trial were related to the larger probe. I was surprised when various media figures kept saying that it was a different thing. The condemnable Judge Ellis immediately attacked these charges, saying, “You don’t care about this matter, except that you want to flip him to get to Trump,” or pretty close to that. Which of course, even if true, does not give him the right to try to get Manafort acquitted, which it certainly seems as if he is doing. But I figured that Manafort, the work he had done for autocrats; the money he had made; the fact that he offered to give Deripaska regualr briefings on the Trump campaign (why would a Russian oligarch want updates on this campaign, if not intimately involved with trying to fix the election?), was another part of the puzzle. And of course Manafort offered to run the campaign for free; now why would he do that, when in major debt? What was he planning to sell to the oligarchs to whom he owed millions? And how did he get himself appointed to run the campaign, who suggested him to Trump? How did all these people with ties to, or actually employed by Russia, find their way into the highest circles of the Trump campaign and then administration?

    It is so frustrating to not hear this particular question asked over and over by the media? Instead we get to hear Giuliani’s latest insanity, of how corrupt this investigation, led by someone who led the FBI for 12 years, under three presidents, is. Make a list of Russian assets whom Trump appointed or employed: Manafort, Page, Flynn, Epshteyn, immediately come to mind. How could Russia announce Tillerson’s appointment before Trump did? How did Russian spy Maria Butina get called on to ask a question at a Trump press conference, after she had honeytrapped her way into the hierarchy of the NRA, which suddenly came up with far more money to give to Trump than they had to other Republicans in past campaigns? It is all part of this web of Russian oligarch money and American treason which is more far-reaching than any Le Carre novel. And Manafort is a major part of this. Right before the election, when he was still advising Trump in a sub rosa manner, he wrote or tweeted, “Watch Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.” At that point, polls showed Hillary ahead by 4-6 points in the first two states, and maybe a couple of points in the last one.

    Now we’ll see if Manafort manages a hung jury, which I think is very possible, though less likely in the D.C. case against him. Of course, such a verdict would give rise to howls of “witch hunt” by the witches. And with regard to that major sidebar meeting where the prosecution claimed that there were matters which could not be made public because they were part of an ongoing investigation; Manafort’s lawyers of course heard all of it. And does anyone think that this information will not go right to Trump’s attorneys?

    • Mueller’s appointment letter gives him authority to investigate and prosecute other crimes that he may discover during his investigation of foreign influence on the campaign. He’s operating completely within the authority given him by his appointment, no matter what our friends on the right may say.

      I find it interesting that they portray his investigation of Manafort as a “partisan witchhunt” while they remain silent about his related investigation of the Podesta Group. In actuality, he’s been scrupulously even-handed.

      • I have pointed out numerous times to people on the right that Bernie Sander’s campaign manager was involved in all this. Jill Stein is under investigation for her part in Russian collusion. And it’s not the Podesta Group that’s under investigation but Tony Podesta. Mueller referred his case to SDNY along with a couple of other people.

        • Former associates told ABC News that the Mueller team’s focus was Podesta Group’s work with the Trump campaign’s former chairman, Paul Manafort, and his deputy, Rick Gates. In 2012, Manafort and Gates arranged for the Podesta Group to lobby on behalf of an obscure Brussels-based nonprofit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. Manafort worked for the Kremlin-backed President of Ukraine at the time.

          When Gates and Manafort were indicted and pleaded not guilty in October 2017 to charges including money laundering, tax fraud, and failure to register as foreign agents, many of the charges were tied to their work for Kremlin-backed Ukrainian politicians.

          Gates then pleaded guilty in February to reduced charges and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigators. In that agreement filed with the court, Gates admitted that to help hide their foreign lobbying work, he and his partner “arranged for the Centre to be the nominal client” of two Washington, D.C., firms, Mercury Public Affairs, which is still in business, and the Podesta Group. Mercury declined to comment when contacted by ABC News.

          https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/lobbying-firm-shuttered-tony-podestas-fate-mueller-probe/story?id=55298024

          Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, as part of his probe into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

          The indictment accused Manafort of hiring the Podesta Group — identified as “Company B” — to lobby for an ostensibly independent nonprofit that “was under the ultimate direction” of the Ukrainian president, his party and the Ukrainian government. Neither Podesta nor the Podesta Group has been charged publicly with any crimes.

          https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/10/podesta-group-last-days-244799

          It is, in fact, the Podesta Group that has been investigated (but not charged) in the Manafort scandal. Tony Podesta himself has not been personally implicated in any wrongdoing (and neither has the Group), although he headed the Group during the period of interest. It’s hard to see how they could be charged with anything, since they dutifully registered themselves (as required by law) as foreign agents (which Manafort apparently did not do). There have also not been any accusations of financial irregularities on their part (unlike Manafort and Gates). It’s quite possible that they were completely unaware of the tight connection between the Ukrainian Government and the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.

          And yeah, Jill Stein is pretty obviously a crook.

          John Podesta, of course, is completely uninvolved in any of this since he severed ties with the Group in the mid-1990s when he went to work for the Clinton Administration. I don’t think he’s had any involvement with them since then.

        • Mueller seems to have Tony under investigation for not registering as a foreign agent. However, as you know being under investigation does not mean that there is going to be anything found.

  4. RD, if you ever have the time to read Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America,” I think you would like it. It is unforgettable. And it has many parallels to the present day.

  5. Based on what is going on today, I’ll be very surprised if Manafort gets convicted, but I will hope so. If he is, expect an immediate appeal. All Manafort had to do was to get to one juror. He was trying, and that is why he was denied bail. Judge Ellis has seemingly. done everything possible to get the jury to find against the prosecution; and what has been happening in the last two days, seems to be the result.

    • My understanding is the judge is acting that way to keep Manafort from winning on appeal which everybody knows he is going to do.

  6. Twitter refuses to ban Newtown “truther,” Alex Jones. In my opinion, people should vote with their feet (thumbs?) and leave en masse.

  7. We will soon learn whether or not it is possible for one major power to conquer another major power, without firing a shot, without sending even one soldier into the vanquished country, using nothing but propaganda, election fraud, and a massive fifth column. 😡

  8. This is what Manafort’s trial has to do with Trump:

  9. 😈

  10. How does Space Force differ from NASA? 😛

  11. OK, I think somebody has to put a STOP to this suicidal combination of Trump, Fox, Alex Jones, White Supremacists, Alt-right… Remove trump from office ASAP. This is a national security issue for all people, white, black, brown, everybody. This is getting way serious and it is preventable with the right leadership.

    This is the audio from the pilot who stole the plane from Sea-Tac. Check the whole thread but in this clip he lets in on what drove him crazy.

    • well, he was ‘piloting’ but not a pilot.

    • People are reluctant to tie trump’s rhetoric about media, the enemy of the people to what happened at the Annapolis Gazette paper. Why? People are reluctant to tie him and all his supporters (recently Ingraham!) to this White versus everybody else rhetoric which is driving many whites to violence. I think it is time for people to realize and start saying at the very least ‘trump is bad for America, period’ and act on it. Let us get him out of office people. There are good leaders and then there are dangerous leaders and he is the latter.

      • When I heard that at least three of these fires were set by arsonists, that is what I feared. There have always been arsonists, but not many. Now we have a series of fires burning down California, the state most hated by Trump and his Nazi followers. This is really a frightening thing. This is not some kind of game. Jones might be amusing to some at times, but he is really a terrorist, inciting stupid and brainwashed people to do terrible things. Twitter refusing to ban him is abhorrent. The greed of these Silicon Valley billionaires is toxic when combined with the evil of the Far Right. We seem to be living through a dystopian nightmare, silently cheered and encouraged by the man running the country.

  12. “What is it all about, Bobby?” In his own words.

  13. Present day media/TV people are so so stupid and inadequate for the times. Will they learn before history repeats itself?

    • This is correct. The media is so devoted to the “both sides” debate drawing viewers, or making them look like neutral arbiters, that they have elevated evil to a debating point. And now with mass media and social media, all of it gets widely disseminated. And not at all coincidentally, groups and people which were forced to lurk under rocks for decades, have been given encouragement and acceptance by Trump, who is so much a Klansman and Nazi himself, that he wants to assure that there are good people on both sides. The evil of the Trump regime has been underestimated. And the media played a large part in putting it there, because of this devotion to “both sides”; the money they were making by doing it; and the orgasmic fun they were having in misrepresenting and mocking Hillary Clinton.

    • Check Felix Harcourt’s full thread:

  14. This man used his soft power to get millions out of ALL RICH mfers to do good. The media/TV made it a bad thing, a corrupt thing when it was not. Now we have the biggest crook of all in the WH enriching himself looting people with his coterie of other insanely corrupt motherfuckers. See how inadequate the media/TV is for our times? Apparently high school drop out and inadequate motherfucker Chuck Todd was drawing all sorts of parallel between Clinton Foundation and trump. I would laugh if it was not serious.

    • Clinton Foundation is still my favorite charity to give money to which I have done for a number of years now.

  15. I am an engineer but will do reverse psychology here. If you know Pootie is interfering to cause ruckus all over America using his favorite white supremacy theme, why would you blame them? Why would you go after them to stop them? Instead, you call them fine people, you embrace them, you make racist statements yourself. If you don’t want to attack them, you join them especially if the orders came from your master. That is what trump is doing.

  16. trump is not just encouraging Russian active measures because it helps him. He IS active measures. He is executing Pootie’s plans for America.

  17. Stop it, Molly (thread gets more tawdry)! Anybody remember here, Mills and Boon? I never read those but we would make fun of other girls who read it back in the day, back home.

  18. Putin did not say this, but the guy who did could never have said it without Putin’s authorization. 😡

    “If you want us to support you in the elections, do what we say.”

    https://shareblue.com/russian-tv-trump-sanctions-election-interference/

  19. Omarosa, Avenatti… are what we need for dealing with these motherfuckers in the WH.

    • It is fashionable to pile on Omarosa. But why did Kelly hold that meeting in the situation room, in the first place? Who leaked the alternative story that she had to be dragged off the property kicking and screaming? A Kelly/trump deserves a Omarosa. Kick them all to the curb.

  20. The great Beyonce in the situation room in the Obama WH. Who took that photo?

  21. We should be more worried about this:

  22. Oh, put a motherfucking sock in your self righteousness. Dangers were all there through the campaign and you still could not see Hillary was the better option to get behind. This fucking mess is on you all!

  23. Just a thought: If the Democrats make this election about asbestos; the Republicans trying to bring it back into the workplace, they will win the election. Asbestos is the image and thing which epitomizes the Republicans’ approach . Wealth over health, for them. Even uneducated people realize how very dangerous asbestos is, and here are Trump and his EPA going to contract with Russians who produce asbestos and will ship it to this country to put back in buildings. Say this over and over again on TV, and Democrats will get 70% of the vote.

  24. Why not call it what it is, CORRUPTION? trump set up his next campaign hours after inauguration so that he could have a slush fund to take care of things like this. He is the ultimate crook. Ordinary people donating to him are fools. But he will get plenty of donations from other rich corrupt mfers like him.

    • Oops, wrong link, here is the correct one.

  25. Please, people who know these mfers, please shame them. Maybe that will have an effect.

    I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.

    I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses— the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants— been in effect when Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom. The Glossers came to the U.S. just a few years before the fear and prejudice of the “America First” nativists of the day closed U.S. borders to Jewish refugees. Had Wolf-Leib waited, his family would likely have been murdered by the Nazis along with all but seven of the 2,000 Jews who remained in Antopol. I would encourage Stephen to ask himself if the chanting, torch-bearing Nazis of Charlottesville, whose support his boss seems to court so cavalierly, do not envision a similar fate for him.

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/13/stephen-miller-is-an-immigration-hypocrite-i-know-because-im-his-uncle-219351

    • Goodlatte’s son supporting a Democrat. He should work on his dad too to do the right thing while he is still in office.

  26. James Comey decided that he would violate long-standing FBI practice, and spend thirty minutes criticizing Hillary Clinton after announcing that “no prosecutor would bring such a case.” Then he violated it again, by writing a letter to Republican leaders in Congress, announcing that new emails were found which might have a bearing on the prior investigation. He knew that his letter would be leaked. Chaffetz wrote,”the investigation has been reopened.” But there were no new emails. The FBI office in SDNY had that computer for more than a month, apparently holding it for the right time to damage Hillary. The end result was that Hillary dropped 2-3 points in the polls. Trump presumably got elected. Comey got fired by Trump for not promising him what he demanded. Then Trump trashed Comey. And now Trump is demanding that the email investigation should be reopened. So this is what Comey accomplished, though he got to write a book, and go around the country criticizing Trump, who now is engaged in turning the FBI into the Gestapo.

    Peter Strzok was a highly regarded FBI agent, did much to unearth Russian spy rings. He was put in charge of a counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in the ongoing campaign, in support of Trump. He did everything to keep this investigation a total secret. The public thought that Hillary was somehow still being investigated, when she wasn’t; and had no idea that Trump was being investigated. So Trump presumably got elected. Then Trump and the far Right cabal which dominates Congress, went after Strzok because there were some emails where he said that he did not want Trump to win; among other emails where he attacked Hillary, Chelsea, and many other people. Ultimately, Strzok was brought into a typical right-wing Congressional hearing, where he was attacked for about six hours, but stood up to it. Now he has been fired, even though the disciplinary wing of the FBI had recommended only a suspension an d demotion. And Trump and the right-wing use this as their evidence that the Mueller probe is partisan and should be ended. Strzok, one of our best espionage agents, will not work for the FBI again. Does one not think that this is great news for Putin, whose agents were uncovered by Strzok?

    So Hillary was cleared, but the SDNY FBI was still actively trying to get her. Comey and Strzok kept the Trump investigation quiet, This is why Trump won. Comey and Strzok eventually got fired by Trump for partisan reasons. The FBI has been gutted, and it will get worse. There is no investigation into the SDNY agents who hated Clinton, and leaked to Giuliani. Obviously, self-righteous people who convinced themselves that they were doing the right thing, ended up doing the wrong thing, and additionally, lost their jobs. And the country is in grave peril. It is like a Shakespearean tragedy. But an audience can walk away from those, and into the fresh air, while this nightmare of evil enhanced by self-righteous people following two sets of different rules, goes on.

  27. Oh, this makes me go, ‘What the hell was he thinking using FBI text network (I think he means text messaging systems like Lync on your workplace network)?’ So yeah, this would be bad; however, that does not excuse Republicans behavior in the least but he gave them a hook.

    • What happened to the SDNY FBI people who despised Hillary; the one who texted, ‘A great day for the Feebees” when it was announced that “the investigation has reopened.” The ones who held on to the Weiner laptop for a month, did not run a duplication program then to see if the mails were all duplicates, which we later found out they were. The ones who told Giuliani about all of this in advance? This is egregious, and yet apparently no investigation of them, nothing in IG report, nothing. Basic rule: If you say anything against Trump, you are fired; if you say or do anything against Hillary, no problem. Totalitarianism.

      • If anyone remembers the movie, ‘The Departed,” Matt Damon;s character was someone who was primed by the mob boss to infiltrate the police department. They sent him to Harvard, glowing record; rose up in the force, and fed all the info to the mob. I wonder if that is Guiliani’s background. Someone had opined the other day that Giuliani did belong to a mob family, then as DA, prosecuted other mob families, not his. Giuliani’s ranting, utter willingness to lie; the glee with which he does so, may indeed be evidence that he was never any prosecutorial hero, but was part of the mafia. Honorable prosecutors do not leak political info, do not excoriate the FBI, insult the former FBI director Mueller, do not call prosecutor Weissman “a scoundrel.” This is obscene behavior, and shows some very dire aspects of Giuliani.

      • Tough luck that NY FBI are not held to the same standard! They probably would have been if Hillary had won or if the Dems had control of the congress. People who are vulnerable (or powerful in other ways) need to be more careful. Federal employees can’t engage in politics on internal networks (period) because they need to preserve (at least) the perception of being apolitical exactly for exactly the reason that crooked trump used this guy. Of course, a crooked mfer like trump will milk the blunder Strzok made. It is not just that his texts were against trump, it was that there was an investigation against him and this guy was leading it. Of course, crooked trump will use that against him. Why wouldn’t he?

  28. Omarosa flipped and made a plea bargain with America. If she was so nefarious and unethical as everybody makes her out to be, she would have taken the hush money and fleeced him for the rest of her life. Easy money. Why isn’t she believable when what she says checks with everything else we see? They can’t say she is not credible at the same time saying what she is saying is nothing new.

  29. He is a great businessman, art of the deal, billionaire, …blah, blah…blah he will run the US government like a well oiled business machine. Yeah, right!

  30. What is worse? Everything is worse than one can imagine. Omarosa release all the motherfucking tapes and let us get this guy out of office. VOTE THEM OUT! All of them, no more Rs. Decimate the party.

  31. Can we talk about him swimming nude with the Ukrainian President? Or letting him win at tennis? Can you imagine having a friendship where your fate may be decided on whether or not you let the other guy win at tennis?

  32. The new right wing conspiracy is that it was Hillary who colluded with Russia all along… remember when “we needed to be friends with Russia” now evil Hillary colluded with evil Russia to take down hero Trump… and people actually believe this sh*t

  33. Somewhat off topic, but this would not be happening without Stupid White Folks voting to cut their own damn throats because they don’t like ni(*CLANG*)s and Meskins. 😡

  34. *otaku reference*

    LEAST. CONVINCING. TRAP. EVER. 😈

    Notice no evidence of bulge in the tight costume… 😆

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