The Precipitous Fall of Paul Manafort Explained | The Russia Desk | NowThis World

It’s finally come to an end [ANCHOR] So to be clear, Mr

Trump has no financial relationships with any Russian oligarchs? [MANAFORT] That’s what he said, and that’s what I said- that’s- obviously what our position is After many months of fighting for his innocence, Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort has plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the US and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice for his efforts to tamper with witnesses Manafort has completely flipped on the president, and vowed to cooperate with the Justice Department as well as Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election

although Trump downplays Manafort’s involvement in his 2016 presidential campaign, [TRUMP] Paul Manafort was with me for a short period of time… [TRUMP] He did a good job The fact is, Manafort worked for the Trump campaign for 5 months Three of which, he served as the campaign chairman between March and August of 2016 Possibly criminal events occurred on the campaign trail during this time Including the highly publicized Trump tower meeting in which Manafort and Don Jr

met with Russians to — in Trump’s own words — "get information on an opponent" But his ties to Trump and Russia go back much further than just 5 months So how exactly did Manafort end up going from Trump’s campaign mastermind to a convicted criminal behind bars? Let’s break it down Trump has known Manafort since the early 80’s when Manafort, longtime partner and frequent Infowars guest host Roger Stone, and Charles Black opened a lobbying firm known as Black, Manafort, and Stone Trump was one of the firms’ earliest clients and hired them to assist him with issues relating to his casino businesses and other real estate ventures

Many Clients of Manafort’s firm were less than savory individuals including autocrats and despots from around the world which led the firm being called out in a report published by the Center for Public Integrity titled the “Torturer’s Lobby” This report cited human rights abusing regimes and the firms that represented them in Washington

In 2004, Manafort took the notion of serving despots one step further, establishing business relationships oligarchs who themselves were serving Russian President Vladimir Putin Among them was Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who was described in a 2006 US diplomatic cable as “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis” Around 2005 Manafort presented Deripaska with a confidential strategic plan to influence politics, news coverage, and business dealings in the United States, Europe, and former Soviet republics with the aim of benefitting Putin’s government

Deripaska accepted the plan and signed a $10 million annual contract with Manafort Soon after, on recommendation from Derispaska, Manafort set off to work in the Ukraine for pro-Russian politician Viktor Yanukovych, who was widely seen as a puppet of Putin Manafort was charged with “making over” the thuggish Yanukovych’s 2006 parliamentary election campaign Under Manafort’s guidance in the 2006 elections Yanukovych became the Prime Minister, and went on to win the presidency in 2010 Manafort had delivered successfully for Putin and as such, lucrative side deals with shadowy individuals connected to Russian organized crime figures started opening up for Manafort

Manafort continued working with President Yanukovych pushing Pro-Kremlin policies internally and on the world stage In 2011 Manafort authorized a plan called ‘black ops’ meant to boost Yanukovych’s reputation Some of the strategies proposed included rewriting Wikipedia entries to smear a key opponent of Yanukovych, setting up a fake think tank center in Vienna that would put out favorable views towards Yanukovych, planting false stories in Western media, weaponizing social media that targeted Europeans and Americans, as well as working with right wing US based publisher Breitbart to attack Hillary Clinton The Ukrainian public wanted a closer relationship with the European Union yet Yanukovych kept cozying up to the Russian government In November 2013 the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing the Ukraine Association Agreement with the European Union, so that they could seek closer economic relations with Russia This led to the Euromaidan protests

In February 2014 President Yanukovych fled the country and it was later revealed that Yanukovych fled to Russia with the help of the Russian government At this point, Manafort had lost his main source of income in Yanukovych Deeply indebted to Russian oligarch Deripaska due to a failed side deal, he joined the Trump campaign in March of 2016 as a conspicuously unpaid volunteer On June 9th of 2016 Manafort, Donald Trump Jr, and the President’s son in law Jared Kushner took a meeting in Trump Tower with Russian operatives who offered ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton The Trump team initially denied having any knowledge of the assistance the Russian government provided but emails later released between Donald Trump Jr and a Russian representative showed that senior officials in the Trump campaign knew the meeting was about receiving information to damage Clinton and her campaign

In August 2016 news broke revealing a secret ledger that surfaced in Ukraine showing Manafort had received $127 million in undisclosed cash payments from Yanukovych’s party over a span of 5 years Manafort’s deep involvement in Ukraine and Russia was coming to light and he was forced to resign from the Trump campaign In October 2017, Manafort was indicted on 12 federal charges in the District of Columbia, including laundering millions of dollars through overseas shell companies stemming from his work in Ukraine, failing to register as a foreign agent, and failing to pay US taxes for money earned in Ukraine In February 2018 he was indicted a second time on an additional 18 counts of tax evasion and bank fraud in the Eastern District of Virginia

Manafort decided to go to trial Manafort was found guilty August 2018 on 8 counts of bank fraud and tax evasion and faced a second trial in September After nearly a year of proclaiming his innocence Manafort made the decision to avoid the second trial by pleading guilty to two charges (one count of conspiracy against the US and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice due to attempts to tamper with witnesses) and fully cooperated with special counsel Mueller on all aspects of the Russia investigation Manafort is a crucial witness for the Mueller investigation because he was a key linchpin between the Russian government and the Trump campaign

He can provide first hand knowledge of what happened during the Trump Tower meeting Manafort has information on methods used by the Russian government to hack the american election as well as key information regarding key Kremlin operatives Manafort also may be able to provide info on movement of monies sent from Russian Oligarchs to the RNC, special interest groups, and individuals connected to the Trump campaign And Manafort's unique history with Trump may shed light into the shady dealings the Trump organization has had with members associated with the Russian mafia, and perhaps the most importantly Manafort will have an idea of what Trump knew and when Hi guys I’m Alex filling in for Versha this week

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