( header image credit: VersusPlus on Twitter )
At this point we can’t even see the fan ’cause it’s so covered in shit.
Let’s take a trip in the Way Back Machine and look at some questions I’ve asked right here on this blog about Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign CEO.
⏩ CrankyYank Vol. 56 (March 2017) “Manafort is Money”—This post introduces you to Paulie Walnuts Manafort, who cut quite a mafioso figure and seemed to fit Donald like a glove. How did get the campaign gig? Why did he work for free? Did he have a hand in changing the RNC platform? Many of those Qs are still unanswered (more info on that below).
⏩ CrankyYank Vol. 69 (Sept. 2017) “Manafort is Money Again”—By this time I laid down some important markers on Twitter, including how reporters had put more meat on the bones of the RNC platform change. Also, allegations of money laundering are not limited to Manafort’s campaign position. RawStory‘s post about his Trump Tower condos include this gem about shady shit dating back to the 80s:
Manafort, then a Republican consultant, admitted in 1989 to using his influence to obtain a $43 million Department of Housing and Urban Development grant for a client.
⏩ CrankyYank: “Media failures in Paul Manafort” (October 2017)—In which I examine the utter failure of the press to question Paulie on his shady past. Normalization can come in many forms; ignoring his past transgressions is a crime of journalism. “National media epically failed on how to treat what should have seen as a hostile witness.” True then and now.
I’ve turned the post into episode of “Friends” (with apologies to producers), for example: “The One When Paulie Says Hills is a Bigger Risk to Security”
Months are light years in Trump World
We’ve come so far in such a short amount of time. Just breaking today is the news that Rick Gates, Manafort’s former deputy and alleged right-hand document forger is going to cooperate with Robert Mueller and enter a guilty plea today, Friday. That’s bad news for Manafort and Trump, because—as Gates stayed on during the transition—he was witness to a lot more recent shenanigans than Manafort ever was.
Gates could provide the special counsel with valuable information about the inner workings of Trump’s operation: He served as a senior figure in the campaign and had access to the White House as an outside adviser in the early months of the administration.
Remains to be seen how this will affect the overall Trump-Russia investigation, but one thing’s for sure: this amps up pressure on Manafort, who is likely facing life in priz without cooperating (if found guilty).
Oh but wait, there’s more! I did some sleuthing on the Google machine and put a few pieces of the puzzle together. You see, Mueller—per Bloomberg—is examining a loan to Manafort by Stephen Calk, founder of The Federal Savings Bank in Chicago. While no other financial entity would touch Paulie Walnuts with a 30-foot pole, he did, to the tune of $16 million in home loans.
Since all roads lead back to Russia these days, here’s how we get there: Calk was allegedly offered a gig in the Army in exchange for the Manafort loan. Calk and Howard Lorber—a good pal of Trump’s—signed a development deal reportedly in the six-figure range, too. (Calk also was named to Trump’s economic council, by the by.)
Lorber and Trump were together in Moscow, again per Bloomberg, to meet with Bennett LeBow; they were trying to get some deals going in Russia. LeBow is connected to Vadim Rabinovich, who employed Manafort just before he signed on to manage Cletus’ campaign.
Trump > Manafort > Calk > Lorber > LeBow > Rabinovich
Where does all this lead? Who the hell knows. One thing’s for sure: Mueller is on it, and likely has all the pieces of the puzzle already neatly locked together. 🔵
I got a new yard sign for the hizzy in midtown! This is the perfect statement for anyone entering my property that they should check hate or bigotry by the curb.
That’s a wrap guys. We’ll see you right back here next week.
He is the author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram–and check out the book links below. Make sure to comment often–cranky loves company.
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