Friday, July 14, 2017

Is Manafort Leaking?

Manafort was hired into the Trump campaign in March, before the Russia collusion allegations surfaced. He replaced campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in June after the infamous Junior-Russians meeting.  He was fired in August. Why?
Mr. Manafort helped defeat the “never Trump” movement within the Republican Party, opened lines of communication with party leaders in Washington and crushed a brief but noisy delegate uprising on the floor of the Republican convention in Cleveland on its first day. He also successfully pushed for the selection of Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana as Mr. Trump’s running mate.

But Mr. Trump never developed the sort of chemistry or comfort level with Mr. Manafort that he had with Mr. Lewandowski, campaign aides said. Mr. Trump has continued to seek out the advice of Mr. Lewandowski, who remains a fierce rival of Mr. Manafort.

So why fire Lewandowski and hire Manafort?
It was an article in The New York Times last weekend — about frequent but frustrated efforts by Mr. Trump’s top advisers to curtail his pugilistic instincts — that set off the series of events leading to Mr. Manafort’s departure.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump raged at Mr. Manafort, holding him responsible for the article, according to people familiar with the episode.


According to people briefed on the matter, Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, expressed increasing concern after a Times article published on Sunday about allegations of cash payments made to Mr. Manafort’s firm for his work on behalf of his main client, Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukranian president, who is an ally of Mr. Putin.


“The easiest way for Trump to sidestep the whole Ukraine story is for Manafort not to be there,” said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who has become a counselor to Mr. Trump.
“I think my father didn’t want to be distracted by whatever things Paul was dealing with,” Trump said, likely alluding to the flurry of news reports indicating that Manafort helped lay the groundwork for the Russian invasion of Crimea and also illegally funneled cash to pro-Putin lobbying efforts.

At any rate, Lewandowski is defending the Trump Cabal.  Perhaps as campaign manager, he was involved?

And what's this attempted blackmail by a Ukrainian parliamentarian of Manafort through his daughter's phone?
Manafort did confirm the authenticity of the texts hacked from his daughter’s phone. And he added that, before the texts were sent to his daughter, he had received similar texts to his own phone number from the same address appearing to be affiliated with Leshchenko.

What a hot mess. There will be tomes written about this black hole in our history.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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