Today was supposed to be the big, final day in court for Paul John Manafort Jr., the once-flamboyant political maven and ostrich jacket-wearer turned convicted felon. For decades a controversial character in our nation’s capital, Manafort capped his career in politics as campaign manager for Donald J. Trump from March to August of 2016, the pivotal period when MAGA exploded and Trump seized the GOP’s nomination against the hopes and expectations of Republican elites. The rest, we know.
That capstone would prove to be Manafort’s downfall. It’s not like there weren’t portents of a grim ending ahead. Nobody had recently considered Manafort to be any sort of Republican A-lister. His last major campaign before Trump’s was Sen. Bob Dole’s doomed 1996 effort against President Bill Clinton. In Washington, DC, Manafort the lobbyist was known for his unsavory client list, which included various Third World strongmen, Pakistan’s sinister Inter-Service Intelligence, and several Eastern oligarchs. You went to Manafort not because you needed a lobbyist, but because nobody else in DC would take your call.
It all came crashing down in mid-August 2016, when the media noticed that Manafort’s Eastern factotum, Konstantin Kilimnik, who played a multipurpose role as translator, buddy, and all-around fixer, was formerly an officer of Russian military intelligence – that is, GRU. Robert S. Mueller, III, and his investigation of the Trump campaign later indicated that there was nothing ‘former’ about Kilimnik’s GRU affiliation.
Read the rest at The Spectator USA …