Ok, among the things we’ve pretty much known forever is that Convicted Felon Manafort worked as a political consultant for pro-Russian Ukrainian Parties of various designations. He doesn’t even bother denying it because the record of his activities (well, not all of them) is public and it’s not illegal to work for a foreign political party as a consultant, not even a little bit (though if you fail to register with the Government or pay your Taxes…).
Another thing we’ve known since forever is that Unindicted Co-conspirator Trump (a convicted money launderer in case you forgot) has been receiving large sums of money from Russia (and the House of Saud) both in terms of income (a pretty transparent money laundering scheme to over pay for Real Estate assets and then turn that into nice, safe, transportable T-Notes) and loans for his increasingly grandiose and unprofitable building schemes.
What we have learned, in a general sense, is that Convicted Felon Manafort shared with Unindicted Co-conspirator Trump a taste for a Rich and Famous lifestyle and owed $10s of Millions (more for Unindicted Co-conspirator Trump) to Russian Banks and the Oligarchs who control them.
The easiest and best metaphor is being in debt to the Mob.
And now the details start to trickle out about how in hock they were and to whom and it paints a disturbing picture of Bribery and Extortion and explicit This for That (Quid pro Quo), an element of the Crime in Chief (meaning the central criminal act of the conspiracy, not our Criminal in Chief).
“This”, of course, was the assistance of the Russian Government and its Intelligence Agencies in the 2016 Election along with the money (more of an ongoing thing).
“That” we also understood to be the pro-Russia Plank in the Republican Party Platform along with numerous little “favors” like burning an Israeli Intelligence Operation (how’s that for anti-Semitic?), groveling publicly at Helsinki, and removing U.S. Forces in Syria (that one I actually agree with, we had no business being there in the first place).
So, what’s the significance of the new revelations in Time Magazine?
Oligarch’s ‘bag man’ pressuring Paul Manafort is ‘missing link’ between Putin and Trump
by Martin Cizmar, Raw Story
29 Dec 2018
On Saturday, Time magazine reported that President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign chair, Paul Manafort, was pressured by a Russian oligarch over his debts.
The reporting named oligarch Victor Boyarkin as the “key figure” in a deal with Manafort. Boyarkin recently fell under sanctions by the U.S. government.
But Seth Hettena, the author of Trump/Russia: A Definitive History, said on CNN Saturday that Boyarkin was likely just the “bag man” for a more powerful oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, who the Trump administration lifted sanctions on earlier this month.
I’m going to stop there for a moment.
Quid pro Quo Bribery. The exchange of Political Favors for Objects of Value. The Prosecution rests your Honor.
“It is a complex picture, but here’s how to explain it,” Hettena said. “Oleg Deripaska is one of a few oligarchs who are extremely close to Putin and the Kremlin. He said on a couple of occasions he doesn’t separate himself from the state and he would basically do anything when asked by Putin to do. So, you know, what we have is a Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in deep debt to a man like Deripaska. Victor Boyarkin was the bag man.”
That’s not to say that the new reporting isn’t important, Hettena said, as we now know that Boyarkin collected debts for Deripaska.
“Victor Boyarkin was the missing link here,” he said. “We knew that Deripaska was involved. We didn’t know how they were connected. Boyarkin was the go-between. He was hammering Manafort for money while the campaign was going on, and, as you mentioned, one of the ways Manafort may have been suggesting paying it off was to offer private briefings on the campaign. So, you know, you have a campaign manager in debt to a Russian oligarch who’s connected to Putin, who’s been pressured for money in the middle of a campaign that he’s running on behalf of the Republican nominee for president.”
Hettena said that the significance of this development will be more clear once we know what Trump knew and when he knew it.
“What did Trump know?” he asked. “The best case for Trump here is that he didn’t know that there was any Boyarkin connection or Deripaska connection with his campaign chairman. The worst-case scenario, the darker scenario, is that he knew and that’s why he chose Paul Manafort to be his campaign chairman.”
The fact that Trump pushed hard to lift sanctions on Deripaska’s companies, by brokering a deal in which the oligarch agreed to “sell off” control of the world’s second-largest aluminum maker, is suspicious to Hettena.
“To me, that looks like a sweetheart deal,” he said. “Deripaska runs one of the world’s biggest aluminum companies, and those sanctions bit hard, and almost as soon as they were implemented, the Trump administration has been trying to soften the blow, the sanctions were delayed, Deripaska hired lobbyists… Deripaska was supposed to cut his ownership in half, so now half of the shares are owned by his charity, by a Russian bank, and it doesn’t look like control has been really given up at all.”
Make no mistake, if Convicted Felon Manafort takes one for Unindicted Co-conspirator Trump and the Cohen/Prague thing doesn’t work out, Mueller still has a “smoking” paper trail and the testimony of Cohen (Sammy the Bull confessed to 19 murders), all his tapes and records, AND Allen Weisselberg, accountant for the Organization and the Foundation, as well as all their records.
Should be a slam dunk. Merry ek’smas.