If you needed further evidence that the Trump campaign is coming unglued, look no further than tonight's revelations about Paul Manafort and his deep, expensive, binding ties to Russian puppets.
The New York Times helpfully reports that Manafort received as much as $12.7 million in cash payments from former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his Russian cohorts.
Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.
They go on to note that Manafort never registered as an agent of a foreign government under FARA, which is generally required when Americans serve as consultants to foreign governments.
Before he fled to Russia two years ago, Mr. Yanukovych and his Party of Regions relied heavily on the advice of Mr. Manafort and his firm, who helped them win several elections. During that period, Mr. Manafort never registered as a foreign agent with the United States Justice Department — as required of those seeking to influence American policy on behalf of foreign clients — although one of his subcontractors did.
It is unclear if Mr. Manafort’s activities necessitated registering. If they were limited to advising the Party of Regions in Ukraine, he probably would not have had to. But he also worked to burnish his client’s image in the West and helped Mr. Yanukovych’s administration draft a report defending its prosecution of his chief rival, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, in 2012.
Those associations and failures are disturbing enough, but when you add in the likelihood of Russian involvement in recent hacks of the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC, it begins to look very sinister.
For perspective, the Watergate break-in involved the CIA and President Nixon colluding to break into DNC headquarters in order to get an idea of what Democrats were up to. The hacks which took place over the span of a year into Democratic organizations are the Watergate break-in escalated by a magnitude of 1,000.
Here's yet another example of what appears to be Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa was doing opposition research on Paul Manafort when she received a disturbing warning from her email service.
“Important action required,” read a pop-up box from a Yahoo security team that is informally known as “the Paranoids.” “We strongly suspect that your account has been the target of state-sponsored actors.”
Chalupa — who had been drafting memos and writing emails about Manafort’s connection to pro-Russian political leaders in Ukraine — quickly alerted top DNC officials. “Since I started digging into Manafort, these messages have been a daily occurrence on my Yahoo account despite changing my password often,” she wrote in a May 3 email to Luis Miranda, the DNC’s communications director, which included an attached screengrab of the image of the Yahoo security warning.
“I was freaked out,” Chalupa, who serves as director of “ethnic engagement” for the DNC, told Yahoo News in an interview, noting that she had been in close touch with sources in Kiev, Ukraine, including a number of investigative journalists, who had been providing her with information about Manafort’s political and business dealings in that country and Russia.
That isn't just coincidence. It's circumstantial evidence that a campaign for the most important office in the land has been compromised by foreign actors and Americans acting as their agents here in the United States. It's further evidence that Donald Trump is indeed, the unwitting agent of a foreign country; namely, Russia.
Everyone is laughing about the fact that Corey Lewandowski tweeted out the New York Times article on Manafort, as if this was only about two campaign managers having a feud. It's not.
Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief https://t.co/7bh7iIHHaY
— Corey Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) August 15, 2016
This is no laughing matter. It's deadly serious. There is a man managing Donald Trump's campaign who has demonstrated his desire to serve Russia by gutting one part of the Republican platform on behalf of the Trump campaign, in contravention to Republicans' own national security concerns.
Put in the context of what Trump said about "second amendment remedies" for Hillary Cllnton, it's chilling. I am not exaggerating when I say the very disturbing ties between Donald Trump, Paul Manafort and the Russian government should be a hugely disqualifying set of circumstances for Trump's candidacy.
However, I fully expect that he will say something outrageous and get this story buried too, unless we refuse to let that happen. This is important, and we need our media to dig harder and longer to uncover the specific ties Manafort, Trump, and his family have to Russia and Putin's government.
One GOP consultant has advice:
If Manafort truly cares about Trump, he resigns by 8am tomorrow. Staff can't be a distraction. And this is a massive distraction.
— Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) August 15, 2016
It gets better, with the news that Ivanka Trump is on vacation with Wendi Deng Murdoch, ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch. Wendi is reportedly dating Vladimir Putin. Remind me again. Is this a soap opera or global politics?
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) August 15, 2016
Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, released a statement shortly after the Times article came out.
"On the eve of what the Trump campaign has billed as a major foreign policy speech, we have learned of more troubling connections between Donald Trump's team and pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine. Given the pro-Putin policy stances adopted by Donald Trump and the recent Russian government hacking and disclosure of Democratic Party records, Donald Trump has a responsibility to disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort's and all other campaign employees' and advisers' ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities, including whether any of Trump's employees or advisers are currently representing and or being paid by them."