Does Trump Work For Putin Directly? The FBI Has Been Asking Since May of 2017.

Does Trump work for Putin directly? The FBI's been looking into it- and so have we.

One of the biggest bombshells yet in the Russiagate case was dropped on America this evening. As the #TrumpShutdown entered its third week and the first missing paycheck came up for millions of Americans, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has announced that it has been pursuing an investigation into whether Donald Trump was working for Vladimir Putin directly, either knowingly or unwittingly.

The New York Times reported late Friday that federal investigators are said to have become so alarmed by Trump’s conduct after he fired former FBI director James Comey that they at once opened a probe into whether the orange infant in the White House has been secretly working with Russia, all along, for Putin himself.

According to sources considered reliable by that venerable newspaper, counterintelligence officials were assigned to the case.

Let’s talk about that word for a minute, counterintelligence. Google Dictionary gives an excellent working definition. It refers to activities designed to prevent or thwart spying, intelligence gathering, and sabotage by an enemy or other foreign entity. Therefore, counterintelligence agents are only assigned to cases serious enough to be considered a risk to national security.

In other words, this is earth-shaking beyond all belief for Donald Trump.

Russia is and has for much of our history been the chief global rival of America. For our president to be in the actual employ of their president is clearly a worst-case scenario. We’ve been saying this for years, of course.

Now the big boys are saying it too.

For a counterintelligence committee to be examining not only whether Trump’s actions were undermining national security, but also whether he was working at the behest of the Kremlin, is clearly of the most phenomenal importance.

On Rachel Maddow‘s Friday night television show, AM Joy Reid of MSNBC was standing in, and hosted Former Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi for an interview. He said that the FBI would only even consider a decision of this magnitude without having evidence of the most utterly compelling nature, something on the level of taped conversations and the like.

Trump has been screaming for years that the whole Russian collusion story is nothing but fake news, and his sheer vehemence gave him some early successes in getting people to stop using the word.

Collusion is back on the table to stay, after this.

In related news, it came out this week that Paul Manafort broke the terms of his plea agreement in regards to his actively sharing and exchanging data from the Trump campaign with his Russian handlers. Turns out that $19 million dollars Manafort owed to Oleg Deripaska, Putin’s buddy the aluminum oligarch, came back to haunt him after all.

Just last week Time tracked down the man Deripaska used to get Manafort to pay up. “He owed us a lot of money,” Victor Boyarkin told Time. “And he was offering ways to pay it back … I came down on him hard.”

As much as Manafort is a detestable character, what does it say about America, that Russians can come over here and push our people around like this with impugnity? This has to be stopped at once. It is our opinion that the Russian Mafia, the feared ROC, should be pored over and removed from its influence from every scrap of our fair nation. Not even the garbage should be left over for them- aluminum cans are worth billions! Just ask Oleg Deripaska.

Manafort had a good friend from his glory days fixing Ukrainian elections for Putin, Konstantin Kilimnik, pictured here in this photograph, not far from Tad Devine of the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Top consultant to the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign Tad Devine, hanging out with Paul Manafort and Konstatin Kilimnik.
Top consultant to the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign Tad Devine, hanging out with Paul Manafort and Konstatin Kilimnik.

Kilimnik, a shadowy and truant figure long believed to hold many pieces of this puzzle, is known by the nickname of Manafort’s Manafort. He is connected to Russian intelligence services like the GRU, which also hosted Fancy Bear and Guccifer 2.0, the hackers who got Julian Assange the hacked DNC emails that he dumped on us through Wikileaks.

The Wikileaks succeeded beyond their wildest imaginations.

Nevertheless, the Bernie Bots and Bros rioted in the streets of Philadelphia over minor written exchanges proving that Debbie Wassermann-Schultz and Bernie did not like each other. It was the biggest single coup of the Trump campaign’s whole summer, and also the night that Russiagate became something tangible.

The Russians were said to be overjoyed. The emails themselves were played up so much by Trump and his base that by the time they were released, it did not matter what was in them, and it turned out to be nothing to an extent that was simply huge.

The information pipeline that got all this done featured Manafort, his campaign deputy Rick Gates, and Kilimnik funneling many files full of Trump campaign information to bring back to Deripaska, and received many back in return. It was reciprocal and totally coordinated. Manafort knew what he was doing to America every last step of the way.

Deripaska’s not that much of a political guy, but he does have one big interest in giving Trump a hand. He is extremely close to Putin and relies on him to keep his personal fortune. All of Russia works and eats at Putin’s order; he has more control than Stalin did over there.

Even Fox News hosts have been admitting that what Manafort did with the Russians constitutes collusion. There is no doubt about it, and this is, in its own way, even more damning for Trump than the Mueller investigation.

In the last analysis, Manafort was not chosen because of his consummate skill or charming personal characteristics. He was chosen because he was convenient, due to the money he owed for those Cayman Island hotels he burned up Deripaska’s friendship for. Many email exchanges between the two indicate Manafort’s frequent and pleading queries as to whether or not the two of them were “good”. He had that Boyarkin ogre ready to pick his bones, he was scared, and he’d been their guy so long by then that he felt there was no turning back.

So he made a devil’s bargain to sell out his country, in order to save his behind. That is the most rotten and cowardly choice that anyone can ever make. Manafort’s name will be reviled throughout all of human history, and as with the Benedict Arnolds and Vidkun Quislings of history, his name will be held up as an example of greed and cowardice to serve mankind’s final generations with a lesson that resounds with eternal importance.

Going forward, we must reexamine the entire concept of treason. We should view the Cold War as a conflict which never ended, but rather shifted forms and chosen new battlefields in the virtual realms of politics. In that scenario, Trump would be a traitor by every metric, and this is the most truthful narrative.

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Rick Gates Cooperates- The End Comes For Donald Trump.

Rick Gates Cooperates

Things have been moving at a tremendous pace in the Russiagate investigation lately. Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, has staggered the “hoax” claims of Donald Trump with over a hundred new charges in the investigation.

This was coupled with the stunning news that Manafort’s associate Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign chair for the Trump campaign, has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.

Mueller also charged Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, with a multimillion-dollar fraud related to mortgages.

This sounds innocuous, but Manafort has a history of shady real estate dealings; ripping off Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska on a multimillion-dollar hotel deal in the Cayman Islands is how he landed himself in this stew in the first place.

Both Gates and Manafort had earlier been charged with laundering millions of dollars that they had collected as lobbyists for the government of Ukraine.

Manafort in particular has been making millions since the 1980’s, lobbying for brutal world dictators who’ve been shunned by the rest of the world, such as Putin prop Victor Yanukovych, ousted as president of Ukraine after the Orange Revolution of 2004.

By Friday Gates had pleaded guilty to two different charges: conspiracy with regard to the financial crimes, and lying to investigators. Apparently, he told the lie during prior plea talks. Prosecutors prepared a revised indictment, this time directed only at Manafort.

Donald Trump also is shaking in his boots over perjury. His lawyers are trying to set terms for his testimony before special counsel Robert Mueller. Without a care in the world for their country and its well-being, they’re prepared to wage a court battle to shield him from testifying at all if their conditions aren’t met, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Sources familiar with the situation reported that Trump’s legal team is currently considering all its options in finding various ways for him to testify that would prevent him from perjuring himself, which they know full well he will do within minutes of starting the meeting.

If Trump is speaking, Trump is lying. It’s like breathing, to him.

A few days prior, a former attorney at the law firm Skadden Arps pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about conversations he had had with Gates regarding work that the firm did for Ukraine.

The week before that, Mueller indicted thirteen Russian nationals on charges related to their involvement in the Internet Research Agency, a social-media mill, alleging that it used illegal means to promote Trump’s candidacy.

Its efforts included buying ads on social media and digitally impersonating Trump supporters in Florida. It also involved giving plenty of help to the campaign of Bernie Sanders, one of only two Senators not to vote to sanction Russia this year.

Michael Flynn, the President’s former national-security adviser, had already pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. He had been in legal jeopardy anyway, thanks to his work as an unregistered foreign lobbyist. He too is now coöperating with the investigation. So is George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying about his foreign contacts.

As of yet, none of the charges formally accuse the Trump campaign knowingly colluded with the Russians, or whether the President himself obstructed justice. But the ever-growing list of people who are cooperating points to Mueller getting close on both points, particularly if Manafort joins them.

As campaign chairman, Gates sat in on the now famous June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who contacted Trump Jr. offering “dirt” on the Clinton campaign. Manafort left the campaign two months later. Gates, however, stayed on through the election. He may have much more to tell.

All along, Paul Manafort has come into view more and more clearly as the guy who knew how it all went down on the ground. He’s not testifying, probably out of fear for his life. The best case scenario for him is life in prison.

For Gates, it’s different. He was not the man on top, and it’s not too late for his redemption. In that case, he would go from being one of America’s most repugnant criminals to being one of its saviors, the guy who looked himself in the mirror and found courage enough in himself to decide to tell the truth and save the country.

It is the opinion of Millennia Democrats that if he knew what Manafort was doing, and he can testify that he was doing it with Trump’s blessing, that may very well be the final shot needed to bring down Trump.

This is also the opinion of former White House counsel to Richard Nixon, John Dean, one of the leading figures in the Watergate scandal. On Saturday, Dean said the news should be of great concern to former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who faces multiple charges in the case, as well as to the White House.

All of this is very different from the pornography film that was Ken Starr drooling in the tabloids twenty years ago. These are Americans, who have actively attempted to sell out America to its most hostile, powerful, and implacable foe. They deserve nothing less than the ultimate penalty of law.

In the last analysis, the biggest threat to Trump in the matter of Russiagate is not Robert Mueller or even Paul Manafort. It is he himself that is most to fear. His scorched-earth attacks on the FBI and on Mueller through the early part of the year failed to do anything but make him look more guilty. Something is in the air, and the tension is palpable. America will have to wait and see.

 

#MuellerMonday- The First Indictments, The Writing on the Wall.

On Friday night, some long awaited good news finally showed up that special counsel Robert Mueller had criminal charges approved by a federal grand jury. It was a great weekend. We said goodbye to Roger Stone on Twitter, who spent Friday night expressing himself in the most obscene terms. He was very unhappy, as one might expect. His old partner Paul Manafort is going to prison.

On a glorious day in American history, known as #MuellerMonday, the indictments did indeed come rolling in. For Manafort and his henchman Rick Gates, a hard rain’s a-gonna fall. George Papadopoulos has already pled guilty and turned federal evidence.

Trump needs to come clean. He needs to tell us what he knows and do what he can to help his country to deal with this mess. But this will never happen. He has stalled on the application of the new Russian sanctions, and his attitude, in general, has been that Russia hasn’t done anything wrong.

He boasted yesterday when the news broke of Manafort’s indictment that it had nothing to do with him. But he was sweating after Papadopoulos, who’d been a close foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, had already accepted a guilty plea. Looks like he told on everybody.

It’s all about the sanctions. After the Russians seized the Crimea, we cramped their style with economic sanctions. They have been willing to resort to anything, in order to lift that burden and go back to their jet-set lifestyles. As a result, it’s amazing how fast the relationships between our two nations deteriorated.

Even fifteen years ago, things were significantly better. Joseph McCarthy was long gone. The Berlin Wall was torn down. Yeltsin seemed a decent enough sort. And when he vacated the office, leaving Putin behind as his chosen successor, I think most of us wanted to give him a chance.

The writer of this article remembers wishing him luck and hoping he did well for the Russian people, as a kid. It’s a sad thing, how we’ve had to become enemies with Russia again.

Of course, one of the names floated about the most was Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, who was in fact indicted on Monday. Manafort recently said he was expecting as much. Last week it was reported that Manafort was also under investigation by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office in an alleged money-laundering scandal.

Manafort’s financial relationship with billionaire Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, is stronger than had been previously thought. The two did roughly $60 million in business dealings together over the past decade. They obviously worked well together before Manafort ripped off his longtime partner. His involvement in this was most likely motivated by a desire to “get whole” with Deripaska.

In April 2008 Manafort took $18,938,400 from Deripaska, for which he promised to return up to $100 million in Ukrainian cable television and telecommunications companies. He failed to return a cent. It seems clear this was an arranged way for him to pay his debt.

By 2008 Deripaska was one of the richest men in the world, but that was not set in stone. It largely depended on the goodwill of Putin, whose singular person is the true master of Russia’s wealth. During the Great Recession, his fortunes took a tremendous tumble. If it were not for help from the Kremlin, he likely would not have survived.

For this reason, Deripaska has proven willing to endure rough treatment at the hands of Putin for a great many years and will always be of use to him any way he can.

For example, in 2009, the factory town of Pikalevo was experiencing the most serious social unrest Russia had seen since the start of the global economic crisis.

Anxious to ensure that the Pikalevo problem remained an isolated one, Putin sought to cast himself as the town’s savior – and Oleg Deripaska as its villain.

Putin, who like Adolf Hitler is a master at ritually humiliating his subordinates, likened Deripaska to a cockroach in front of crowds of angry workers. He forced him to accompany him on a tour of a cement plant he operated in the area.

“Why has your factory been so neglected?” he demanded. “They’ve turned it into a rubbish dump. Why was everyone running around like cockroaches before my arrival? Why was no one capable of making decisions?”

Deripaska has also been a tool for Putin in ways slightly more fitting of a man’s self-worth. In 2008, he successfully drew Lord Mandelson, the EU trade commissioner at the time, into scandal after entertaining him on his yacht.

This is a classic example of Kompromat, the Russian word for the gathering of scandalous material on a political adversary.

Soon after, Mandelson was loudly hailing improved relations between Britain and Russia.

Lord Mandelson’s own relations with Russia also improved. They have kept right along improving, and tightening bonds, and working together all they can.

By last June, he wrote a letter to Putin, asking him to arbitrate a legal dispute between the Sistema defense conglomerate, which Lord Mandelson works for, and Rosneft, a state-owned Russian oil giant.

This is Putin’s M.O. He sends some flunky of an oligarch like Deripaska around to throw a party. To buy some pretty girls and booze, and create a scenario to set up decent people.

Once he’s got the goods on them, he immediately turns on the charm. It’s easy to see, how it would be all too easy to choose to get rich rather than to get ruined. In this way, little by little, Putin extends his tentacles into the farthest reaches of our countries, and all too often, our leaders. Should they not cooperate, there’s always Wikileaks.

Putin uses psychological black operations like disinformation and Kompromat like you and I use a knife and fork. He’s about making the world a worse place, one dirty little secret at a time.

The Steele Dossier, which becomes more credible by the day, claims that Putin has been cultivating Trump for more than five years. It all started with that compromising pee-tape where Russian prostitutes micturate in a bed once slept in by the Obamas. Much like the unfortunate Lord Mandelson.

One has to assume he’s been ordering Trump around the world to act as a human lightning rod, just as he’s done with Deripaska and so many others. Trump was openly blackmailed by Putin against applying any new sanctions against Russia. Sergey Lavrov said that if all of Russia’s spy houses were not returned that “maybe more than one or two more meetings might come out. Maybe they even went to the toilet together.”

 

In the meantime, the prospect of a Saturday Night Massacre in which he fires Robert Mueller through executive order is starting to look realistic. Nothing indicates that any thoughts of the country’s well-being in the case of a constitutional crisis that severe would stop Trump from going this route. Nothing indicates that anything matters to Donald Trump excepting Donald Trump.

We’ve seen Trump’s viciousness when beaten before. His attempt to bargain with the lives of our DREAMers over funding for his inane dream of a border wall is one example. His sabotage of the Affordable Care Act is another.

Steve Bannon advised him in a phone call on Monday to be more aggressive in his approach toward special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians. Bannon has been advocating for “a much more aggressive legal approach short of firing Mueller,” but it’s unlikely Trump will hesitate to do just that if he thinks for ten seconds it will save him.

The only effective weapons left in Trump’s arsenal are bluster and aggression. His core is dwindling. His approval ratings continue to paddle around the toilet of his life. His last real hope to restore some kind of order in the Oval Office, Chief of Staff John Kelly, is now himself beleaguered in drama regarding talks he recently gave praising Robert E. Lee and attributing the Civil War to a “lack of compromise.”

The writing is on the wall for Donald Trump, and he knows it. His bewilderment and frustration spilled out into a boiling series of tweets the other night, culminating in the two single most honest words he’s ever spoken.

“DO SOMETHING!”, he howled out at the unkind and indifferent stars. Perhaps he was talking to God, but it’s too late now, of course. From now on, Trump must realize that Putin has become his own personal Mephistopheles. In trying to become a king, he ended up a servant.

The Riddle of Russiagate, The Meaning of Manafort.

Although Paul Manafort is a name America has heard a lot this past year, for the last 19, he’s been nothing but an obscure political hack who spent a lot of time working for dictators outside America. The story of his infamy spreading wings is not a very pleasant one. A shadier web of deceit, greed, and treason is hard to imagine, and it’s hard to see through all the unsettled muck. It’s been a while now since last November, though, and things are clearing up, leaving us with some very large questions.

So why Manafort? He hadn’t been seen in United States politics since Bob Dole’s desiccated campaign in 1996. Every question we ask about him seems to raise twenty more. How does a guy go from a 20-year nobody, to the head of a Presidential campaign?

And why would the Trump campaign stick its neck out by hiring such a suspect figure?

The ostensible reason given is that Manafort’s old partner Roger Stone did not like Corey Lewandowski, Manafort’s predecessor, and pulled his name out of a hat. But the latest Manafort revelations have left many speculating in other directions. Russian money found its way into the Trump campaign. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director assigned to look into Russia’s interference in the 2016 Presidential election, seems confident Manafort may have had something to do with it. His investigation of Manafort now spans 11 years.

Given Manafort’s contacts with shady political figures in Russia, and the massive amounts of money he reportedly was paid by them over the years, this seems logical. Increasingly, Paul Manafort has come to be seen as the key to solving the riddle of Russiagate.

It seems clear he owes money to Russian oligarchs, who sent him in to act as a go-between.  It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that one of the biggest red flags here was when Manafort was able to continually make his presence felt in the Trump team long after he was technically fired. If Trump is innocent, why would he have let Manafort anywhere near the door after they fired him, knowing what kinds of people he was in bed with?

Manafort was a principal at the lobbying firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, which had close links to the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, and is one of the first lobbying and political consulting firms of this kind.  According to Riva Levinson, one of his former colleagues, Manafort took a “mercenary” approach to lobbying the US government on behalf of international clients accused of killings, rapes and other atrocities,

In that role, in 1989, he had no qualms about doing business with the “murderous dictator” of Somalia, Levinson recalls in a new memoir, Choosing the Hero: My Improbable Journey and the Rise of Africa’s First Woman President.

“Arrogant, narcissistic, egotistical, brilliant – all of that I can handle in Paul,” Levinson writes. “But it is Paul’s mercenary attitude that puts us at odds.” Those same awful traits are what endear him to his masters.

Back in 2004, Victor Yanukovych’s presidential bid was looking like a disaster, but he was Putin’s man. Manafort was brought in to save it, and he did. He’s had a place at their feet ever since.

On August 19 of last year, while Manafort was at the head of the Trump campaign, the New York Times reported that Manafort’s name was listed in a secret ledger of cash payments from the ruling pro-Russian party in Ukraine, along with the details of a failed business venture with Russian billionaire Oleg Victor Deripaska. He submitted his resignation shortly thereafter.

For his part, Manafort was most likely motivated by a desire to “get whole” with Deripaska, who he’d lost money for in 2007. At this time, a private-equity fund was set up by Manafort in the Cayman Islands, Pericles Emerging Market Partners.

In 2008, Deripaska transferred $18.9 million to Manafort through this fund so that it could purchase Black Sea Cable, a Ukrainian telecommunication company. Manafort botched it, and then refused to answer his phone. The oligarch requested the “winding down of the partnership.” The petition alleges that when Deripaska asked for an accounting of the investment in 2013, Manafort did not respond.

As of last year, however, he was trying to work something out. Emails exchanged between Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, his contact in Ukraine (the Ukrainians refer to Kilimnik as Manafort’s Manafort, e.g. the key to solving the riddle of Manafort), make it clear Manafort has been trying to get back in the billionaire’s good graces, and was willing to trade on his position as Trump’s campaign manager to do so. The arrangement they made has had very grave consequences for Planet Earth.

The deal was for Manafort to help Russia subvert the United States election, in order to weaken the candidacy of then- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The plan was simple: Manafort getting paid, Trump getting power and attention, and Putin getting his claws into all kinds of things while Trump looked aside.

Remember how Trump was seething at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011, after Obama roasted him on the “birther” conspiracy back in April of 2011? Stupid as it was, the birther conspiracy is believed to be the issue that pushed the new President out in front with the alt right base. That incident gave Trump the edge he needed over the many other Republican candidates in the field last year.

Now that Trump has been elected, and proven himself a total incompetent, the reasons for it all are very clear from Putin’s perspective. Russia, the second strongest geopolitical force on Earth, is being given a free hand. From our perspective, it’s like playing a chess game, in which you get an extra queen, but are not allowed to make any moves.

America has become starstruck and celebrity obsessed. Trump was the latest in a series of celebrity politicians. For a Republican Party softened for the blow by 120 years of continuous decline, he was just right. Perhaps plans for a Trump run were discussed as early as that fateful 2013 trip to Moscow.

The next year, when Russia illegally seized Crimea, President Barack Obama applied economic sanctions against Russia as a result. This made it very difficult for Putin and his oligarch buddies to do business in the USA. Because of this, they were not happy with Mr. Obama, or with Hillary Clinton.

Close attention should be paid to the importance of the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration at the time of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and occupation of Crimea. They put a crimp in the high-priced lifestyles of Russian governmental officials, and gave them a clear and simple motive in so doing.

“This is a serious matter and there are real concerns about the pro-Kremlin interests engaged with the Trump team,” said Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook. He was right, of course, but at the time nobody listened. Any political activist who was online in 2016 could have told you the same. Everybody’s listening now.

So what can we learn from all this? What is the meaning of Manafort? His presence should have tripped alarms immediately. It should have been noticed that an absentee political operative, who’d spent 20 years outside of America making dictators rise and fall, had waltzed back onto our scene and taken the reins of a major presidential campaign. But it wasn’t, and now we are living with the consequences. A hard look needs to be taken at what it says about the state of our radar systems, if a criminal like this can make it through them.

For the Democratic Party, at least, the way forward is clear. We support Mueller, keep public focus on Manafort and Russiagate in general, and wait for our chance. Our day to show the difference between us, and this, will come.