Nothing is surprising anymore when it comes to members of the Trump campaign and administration being involved in shady dealings with Russians. Nothing. So, consider yourself not surprised to learn that former Trump campaign director Paul Manafort asked Russian operatives for information about campaign opponent Hillary Clinton. Robert Mueller isn’t going to have to build a case against some of these people, as they keep building the cases against themselves.
Slate has the report:
Buried in a long story on CNN Thursday recapping the current state of play in the Russia investigation was a reminder that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is largely out of the spotlight at the moment, may not be for long.
Manafort, who had spent years on the political fringes helping dictators and strongmen get elected around the world and then lobbying on their behalf in Washington, came out of nowhere to join the Trump campaign, and then take over the reins when Corey Lewandowski was fired in June 2016.* By that time, unusual communications between the Trump campaign and Russian officials had pinged on U.S. intelligence agencies’ radar. As did Trump’s new right hand man
In the summer of 2016, US intelligence agencies noticed a spate of curious contacts between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian intelligence, according to current and former US officials briefed on the investigation…
CNN has learned that investigators became more suspicious when they turned up intercepted communications that U.S. intelligence agencies collected among suspected Russian operatives discussing their efforts to work with Manafort, who served as campaign chairman for three months, to coordinate information that could damage Hillary Clinton’s election prospects, the US officials say. The suspected operatives relayed what they claimed were conversations with Manafort, encouraging help from the Russians.
There are obviously multiple investigative balls in the air, and the public focus has shifted of late to Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, who certainly have had longer and more lasting influence on Donald Trump, but keep an eye on Paul Manafort, his Russia connections are deep and dodgy.
“Deep and Dodgy with Russia: The Donald Trump Era” will be the name of a great history book someday…I can feel it.