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Former Trump Campaign Manager Worked To Help Putin

Donald Trump Shrug

The Associated Press is reporting that former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had a previously undisclosed business relationship with a Russian oligarch in which he worked to advance the interests and reputation of Russian President Vladimir Putin:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.

“We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”

Manafort’s plans were laid out in documents obtained by the AP that included strategy memoranda and records showing international wire transfers for millions of dollars. How much work Manafort performed under the contract was unclear.

The disclosure comes as Trump campaign advisers are the subject of an FBI probe and two congressional investigations. Investigators are reviewing whether the Trump campaign and its associates coordinated with Moscow to meddle in the 2016 campaign. Manafort has dismissed the investigations as politically motivated and misguided. The documents obtained by AP show Manafort’s ties to Russia were closer than previously revealed.

In a statement to the AP, Manafort confirmed that he worked for Deripaska in various countries but said the work was being unfairly cast as “inappropriate or nefarious” as part of a “smear campaign.”

“I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments,” Manafort said. “My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russia’s political interests.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Trump’s critics in the Senate, called the disclosures about payments to Manafort from the Russian billionaire “very disturbing if true.”

“That’s basically taking money to stop the spread of democracy, and that would be very disturbing to me,” he said Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

Democrats on the House intelligence committee said the new revelations will feature in the congressional investigations. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., said on MSNBC on Wednesday that Manafort should appear before the committee, and he raised the specter of a subpoena should Manafort not appear on his own.

Another member of the intelligence committee, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said the disclosure “undermines the groundless assertions that the administration has been making that there are no ties between President Trump and Russia. This is not a drip, drip, drip” situation, she said. “This is now dam-breaking with water flushing out with all kinds of entanglements.”

Deripaska became one of Russia’s wealthiest men under Putin, buying assets abroad in ways widely perceived to benefit the Kremlin’s interests. U.S. diplomatic cables from 2006 described Deripaska as “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis” and “a more-or-less permanent fixture on Putin’s trips abroad.” In response to questions about Manafort’s consulting firm, a spokesman for Deripaska in 2008 — at least three years after they began working together — said Deripaska had never hired the firm. Another Deripaska spokesman in Moscow last week declined to answer AP’s questions.

When asked Wednesday about Manafort’s work for Deripaska, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “We do not feel it’s appropriate to comment on someone who is not an employee at the White House,” although Press Secretary Sean Spicer discussed Manafort earlier this week during a televised news briefing.

Manafort worked as Trump’s unpaid campaign chairman last year from March until August, a period that included the Republican National Convention that nominated Trump in July. Trump asked Manafort to resign after AP revealed that Manafort had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation until 2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling pro-Russian political party.

The newly obtained business records link Manafort more directly to Putin’s interests in the region. According to those records and people with direct knowledge of Manafort’s work for Deripaska, Manafort made plans to open an office in Moscow, and at least some of his work in Ukraine was directed by Deripaska, not local political interests there. The Moscow office never opened.

Manafort has been a leading focus of the U.S. intelligence investigation of Trump’s associates and Russia, according to a U.S. official. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the investigation are confidential. Meanwhile, federal criminal prosecutors became interested in Manafort’s activities years ago as part of a broad investigation to recover stolen Ukraine assets after the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych there in early 2014. No U.S. criminal charges have ever been filed in the case.

(…)

Manafort worked as Trump’s unpaid campaign chairman last year from March until August, a period that included the Republican National Convention that nominated Trump in July. Trump asked Manafort to resign after AP revealed that Manafort had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation until 2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling pro-Russian political party.

The newly obtained business records link Manafort more directly to Putin’s interests in the region. According to those records and people with direct knowledge of Manafort’s work for Deripaska, Manafort made plans to open an office in Moscow, and at least some of his work in Ukraine was directed by Deripaska, not local political interests there. The Moscow office never opened.

Manafort has been a leading focus of the U.S. intelligence investigation of Trump’s associates and Russia, according to a U.S. official. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the investigation are confidential. Meanwhile, federal criminal prosecutors became interested in Manafort’s activities years ago as part of a broad investigation to recover stolen Ukraine assets after the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych there in early 2014. No U.S. criminal charges have ever been filed in the case.

FBI Director James Comey, in confirming to Congress the federal intelligence investigation this week, declined to say whether Manafort was a target. Manafort’s name was mentioned 28 times during the hearing of the House intelligence committee, mostly about his work in Ukraine. No one mentioned Deripaska.

On Monday, Spicer had singled out Manafort when asked about possible campaign contacts with Russia. He said Manafort “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time” in the campaign, even though as Trump’s presidential campaign chairman he led it during the crucial run-up to the Republican National Convention.

Manafort and his associates remain in Trump’s orbit. Manafort told a colleague this year that he continues to speak with Trump by telephone. Manafort’s former business partner in eastern Europe, Rick Gates, has been seen inside the White House on a number of occasions. Gates has since helped plan Trump’s inauguration and now runs a nonprofit organization, America First Policies, to back the White House agenda.

This news, of course, comes on top of the revelation on Monday during the appearance of F.B.I. Director James Comey before the House Intelligence Committee where he confirmed that the F.B.I. was investigating both Russian attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election and ties between the Trump campaign or people affiliated with it and Russian individuals and officials. As I noted, one of the people in Trump’s orbit who was likely to be at least a subject of interest to such an investigation was Paul Manafort, who would already knew to have ties to Russian government and business interests due to work that he had already disclosed that was performed in the years before he became part of the Trump campaign. Now that we have additional information indicating ties to people close to Putin that date back more than a decade, and which Manafort apparently failed to disclose as required by law, the extent of the issues that the Trump White House may be facing as this investigation widens are starting to become more apparent.

The White House, of course, is responding to these reports by attempting to distance itself from Manafort by arguing that he worked for the campaign and doesn’t currently work at the White House and that he left his official position with the campaign seven months ago. The problem with that argument, of course, is that Manafort was more than just a campaign volunteer and that he appears to have played an important role in influencing policy toward Russia during the time that he was part of the campaign. For several months, Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager and, obviously, a close adviser in that role. He also served as the campaign’s leading voice when it came to organizing and setting the agenda for the Republican National Convention. During that time, he apparently worked to change the party’s platform plank regarding Russia, Ukraine, and the annexation Crimea to water down the condemnation that was in the original text. What’s unclear is who’s interests he was working on behalf of when he did that and whether it accurately reflects the Trump Administration’s view of the matter. Additionally, even after he left his official position with the campaign Manafort apparently continued to work behind the scenes on behalf of the campaign, maintained personal contact with the candidate both before Election Day and afterwards, and for all we know may still be in contact with Trump to this day. With all of this in mind, it’s no wonder the the F.B.I. is interested in exactly what’s going on. In fact, we all should be interested in what’s going on given these facts and the fact that President Trump has been notable in his criticism of a numerous foreign leaders with the exception of just a handful of people, one being Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the other being Vladimir Putin. The reasons for Trump’s obsequious praise of Netanyahu are obvious, of course, but it’s never been clear why the President has been so disinclined to be critical of Putin given his comments about other leaders. Until he explains that, people are going to draw their own conclusions.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Certainly part of the reason that Trump has not just been disinclined to criticize Putin but gone out of his way to praise him is that Putin publicly flattered Trump, and we know that Trump is very easily manipulated by those who flatter him. But I suspect, very strongly, that Trump has many, many financial ties to Russia. For one: Who’s lending Trump the money now that U.S. banks refuse to do do business with him?

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  2. Tony W says:

    Drip, drip, drip. The Trump administration learned nothing from previous scandals. They seem determined to keep Russian influence in the news for as long as possible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. SenyorDave says:

    The GOP is complicit in this. I understand that Trump was the party’s nominee, but the changes in the party’s platform regarding Russia seemed like they came directly from the Kremlin. My drawn conclusions are that Russia has Trump over a barrel in a bigly way. Were they a source of loans when he finally was unable to con any more banks in the US to lend him money? Are the rumors true about his proclivity toward showers?

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  4. SKI says:

    Let’s not forget that Manafort and Trump have a relationship that dates back to the 1980s…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    This is amazing to me.
    Manafort allegedly worked

    to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics.

    he would influence politics and business dealings in Europe and the U.S. to positively benefit Putin’s government.

    In other words, propaganda….which is what was going on here in the attempt to influence the outcome of our election.
    Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip…
    With all of these connections it’s getting very difficult to imagine there is no connection.
    And then, on top of it, there is the Nunes claim this afternoon that Trump was caught up in incidental surveillance…apparently Trump was in communication with someone who was under legal surveillance…someone for whom there was probable cause to think they were up to no good. Can that be a good thing???

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  6. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @CSK:

    Who’s lending Trump the money now that U.S. banks refuse to do do business with him?

    Exactly. Trump allegedly owes China some $600M. How much does he owe Russia? It’s a cliche for a reason…follow the money.

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  7. Lit3Bolt says:

    Manafort lives in Trump Tower.

    LIVES there, as been doing so for years.

    And Trump, Nunes (Trump’s transition chair–Whoopsies!), and Spicer now claim they’ve never met the man in their life.

    There needs to be 3 special prosecutors on this, 2 grand juries, and a partridge in a pear tree.

    Also, too: did Trump and Nunes commit obstruction of justice when they revealed that there were FISA warrants on Trump Tower? Nunes is trying to kick sand into the media, but Fox News doesn’t control everything, and Breitbart and Infowars are about to take a HUGE credibility hit.

    I said it before, because I was listening to people like Malcolm Nance, this is going to be the biggest scandal in American history. And Republicans are quickly losing their chances to put themselves on the side of the angels.

    And Mike Pence might be swept up, as well. Tillerson, Pence, Ross, Mnuchin, Sessions, Flynn, Bannon, Kushner…

    This explains why McConnell is trying to rush Gorsuch through.

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  8. CSK says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Donald Trump, Jr: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets…we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

    Eric Trump: “The best property buyers are now Russians.”

    Donald Trump, Sr.: “I really like Vladimir Putin.”

    My source for the quotes from Uday, Qusay, and Mango Daddy? The Financial Times, surely not a fake news organization.

    https://ig.ft.com/sites/trumps-russian-connections/

    Yet Uday and Qusay are now insisting Daddy-O never, ever had any business dealing with the Russkis. None. Nada. Zip. Nothing.

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  9. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    And then, on top of it, there is the Nunes claim this afternoon that Trump was caught up in incidental surveillance…apparently Trump was in communication with someone who was under legal surveillance…someone for whom there was probable cause to think they were up to no good.

    I think I will continue to be skeptical of this claim until someone not on Team Trump confirms it.

    I mean, watch him being definitive and uncertain in the same sentence:

    “I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the president-elect and his team were, I guess, at least monitored,” Nunes told reporters. “It looks to me like it was all legally collected, but it was essentially a lot of information on the president-elect and his transition team and what they were doing.”

    You guess?

    How about we talk to the guy who isn’t guessing? How about we talk to the guy who will give us some factual information rather than describe how it looks to him?

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  10. MarkedMan says:

    Just as a reminder, a couple of months ago Trump was saying that no one on his team had any contact with the Russians Including himself. Then Flynn was caught. OK, Trump said, but only Flynn and only once. Then it was revealed that Flynn had communications at least twice. OK, Trump says, but only twice, and it was only talk. Then we find out that Flynn filed paperwork for being an agent for a foreign power (a crony of Putin’s) and that it covered a time period after the election (and may continue until today for all we know). OK, Trump says, but what Flynn did wasn’t illegal. And while all this was going on we find out that four other members of the team had contacts with the Russians.

    The Trump team has yet to get ahead of a single thing. They lie. They get caught. They ‘fess up to exactly what they got caught for. And then they wait to see what happens next. And the rest of the Republican governmental leaders do everything they can to help him get away with it.

    Traitors. The lot of them.

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  11. Hal_10000 says:

    This is a pretty big bombshell. Trump’s campaign manager had worked for Putin undermining democracy? That’s a man who shouldn’t have been allowed within light years of a campaign for dog catcher.

    Wow. It’s two months in and I’m already so tired of “winning”.

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  12. SenyorDave says:

    @MarkedMan: Traitors. The lot of them.

    Bingo. To get their tax cuts through for multi-millionaires the GOP Congress would sell this country down the river. I hated the results of the GWB presidency, but I didn’t doubt that he thought he was working for the best interest of this country. Trump and his people work toward their own self-interest.

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  13. MarkedMan says:

    Republicans. The Party of America and family values. So who is the Republican Administration’s new nominee for Labor Secretary? And remember, this is after the first nominee, the wife beater Puzder (who as of today has been eased out of his CEO position at Hardee’s because, hey, ‘Come to Hardee’s! Our CEO is a wife beater!’). Meet one Alexander Acosta: (from Washington Post)

    President Trump called Epstein a “terrific guy” back in 2002, saying that “he’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

    Now, Trump is on the witness list in a Florida court battle over how federal prosecutors handled allegations that Epstein, 64, sexually abused more than 40 minor girls, most of them between the ages of 13 and 17. The lawsuit questions why Trump’s nominee for labor secretary, former Miami U.S. attorney Alexander Acosta, whose Senate confirmation hearing began Wednesday morning, cut a non-prosecution deal with Epstein a decade ago rather than pursuing a federal indictment that Acosta’s staff had advocated.

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  14. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:
    But he is saying that someone who had a FISA warrant against them was communicating with Trump…apparently, a lot.
    That’s enough to get you put on a terror watch list if the right religions are involved.
    I’m pretty sure that revealing this is going to turn into a huge deal.
    And not the way they want it to.

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  15. Nick says:

    @SenyorDave: This is crucial, because certain Republicans will try VERY hard to make sure none of this comes anything, especially Devin Nunes, who was part of the transition team.

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  16. gVOR08 says:

    Manafort … doesn’t currently work at the White House and that he left his official position with the campaign seven months ago. The problem with that argument, of course, is that Manafort was more than just a campaign volunteer and that he appears to have played an important role in influencing policy toward Russia during the time that he was part of the campaign.

    Also – the only reason he left the campaign, and then didn’t move into a key role in the WH, was earlier disclosure of his Russian involvement.

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  17. bill says:

    “a decade ago”? seriously? lol……gobble it up- trump still won and is the president.

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  18. Lit3Bolt says:

    @bill:

    $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006

    Annual. He was being paid yearly to work for Putin. Who’s to said they didn’t just started hiding the money better or he started working for free?

    Your boy is a Russia traitor, and he played you like the easily programmable rage-bot you are.

    Russian spies are now in charge of this country, and all you can say is “lol we won.”

    Unpatriotic filth. You’re not worthy of my spit.

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  19. Lit3Bolt says:

    @bill:

    $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006

    Annual. He was being paid yearly to work for Putin. Who’s to said they didn’t just started hiding the money better or he started working for free?

    Your boy is a Russia traitor, and he played you like the easily programmable rage-bot you are.

    Russian spies are now in charge of this country, and all you can say is “lol we won.”

    Unpatriotic filth. You’re not worthy of my spit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. SenyorDave says:

    @Lit3Bolt: Unpatriotic filth. You’re not worthy of my spit.

    This is what I don’t get. Let’s assume that Trump had acted reasonably during the campaign, and had run as an outsider, I’m a businessman who gets things done. And had been more informed on the issues and didn’t look silly in two of his debates (meltdown in first debate and in third debate said he might not accept results of election). And no hot mic where he admitted to sexual assault. Basically a bizzarro world Trump only the bizzarro is better than the real world Trump.

    I would still think that any person who voted for that candidate would be horrified at what is coming out about Trump and his people. Maybe it will turn out that Trump isn’t in Putin’s pocket, but it certainly looks bad right now. And yet Bill thinks its all a big joke. Ha ha, we won. The country lost but to Bill that doesn’t matter. You are correct, he’s unpatriotic filth.

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  21. CSK says:

    @bill:

    Yeah, okay, Bill. Trump’s the president. So what? How is this going to benefit you? Or me? Or the United States? The guy has absolutely no idea what he’s doing. He spends the day watching television, Tweeting, and signing pieces of paper the contents of which he has no knowledge.

    What have you won, other than putting a malignant buffoon in office?

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  22. al-Alameda says:

    @bill:

    a decade ago”? seriously? lol……gobble it up- trump still won and is the president.

    Well, Benghazi was over 5 years ago! (or is it, “Benghazi! was over 5 years ago”?)
    yet Republicans are still on it, seriously?

    And, yes Bill, we know, Trump is most certainly our minority-President elect. And that’s precisely why we need to know the extent of his business connections and dealing with Russian financiers and government officials – you know, some of the same people who were seriously (that word, it’s everywhere now) trying to influence the final result of our 2016 election. And we need to know the same for his associates like Paul Manafort, Flynn and the rest.

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  23. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    “I’m pretty sure that revealing this is going to turn into a huge deal.”

    I’m not sure Nunes revealed anything but talking points for Fox News personalities, to be honest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. al-Alameda says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’m not sure Nunes revealed anything but talking points for Fox News personalities, to be honest.

    That stunt Nunes pulled today? Even by contemporary overly partisan standards, this was egregious.

    The point is that Nunes feels no ‘fiduciary’ type of responsibility for conducting non-sham hearings on a very serious matter. Usually a chairman tries to, at the very least, fake respect for his opposition party colleagues on the committee, in this case, Adam Schiff. Instead he pulls this stunt and calls into question his (Nunes’) ability to be trusted with serious information.

    Don’t be surprised if some folks start calling for a Select Committee to take this over.

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  25. michael reynolds says:

    @bill:
    A hostile foreign power launched deliberate intel attack on the United States and you think it’s a laugh?

    Bet you’d have been a blast after Pearl Harbor.

    What are you, Bill? Are you still an American?

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  26. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    What have you won, other than putting a malignant buffoon in office?

    You know the answer, CSK. Liberals are unhappy — even frantic — and that makes bill happier than he has been in decades. It’s all he lives for, at this point.

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  27. Long Time Listener says:

    This explains why McConnell is trying to rush Gorsuch through.

    …And, why Schumer should threaten a filibuster until a Select Committee is called…unless McCain and Graham beat him to it….

    If Team Ryan doesn’t jam through a health care bill on this go, they’re in deep kimche.

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  28. Sleeping Dog says:

    Off Topic: Chelsea Clinton to receive achievement award., which begs the question as to what she has achieved?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Sure, because terrorists just hit our friends in London, and our president is a thief and a traitor who decided to take shots at the mayor of that great city, and the House Intelligence chairman is revealed as part of a cover-up, and the GOP’s idiot healthcare destruction bill is failing, and Trumpy’s polls are going south and pretty soon we’re going to get perp walks at the White House, so. . . squirrel!

    Idiot.

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  30. rachel says:

    @CSK: Wow, it’s like watching a cat trying to cover up the poo it just put down on a tiled floor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. James Pearce says:

    @al-Alameda:

    Instead he pulls this stunt and calls into question his (Nunes’) ability to be trusted with serious information.

    Oh, he can be trusted alright. He can be trusted to carry Trump’s water.

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  32. grumpy realist says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yes, definitely off topic. Why?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    According to Variety, Clinton is being honored “for her work with Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which empowers kids to develop lifelong healthy habits.”

    1) Yes, it is off topic, and completely so.

    2) The link you provided specifically gave that info. Reading would have answered your question. (hint: “According to Variety, Clinton is being honored “for her work with Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which empowers kids to develop lifelong healthy habits.”)

    3) Pity she can’t hold the record for flying to Florida and golfing 10 times in 8 weeks… now THAT would be an achievement!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @bill:

    ……gobble it up- trump still won and is the president.

    Yes. Yes he is.

    But for how long, Bill?

    Because… http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/22/politics/us-officials-info-suggests-trump-associates-may-have-coordinated-with-russians/

    The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, US officials told CNN.

    I wonder if POTUS Trump is getting tired of all this winning.

    FBI on one side, and his landmark “heath” bill (Trumpcare) on the other.

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  35. JohnMcC says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I dropped by this time of night to put that article in and there you are. On top of everything else, this is like the percussion section weighing in during a chamber music concert. Absolutely must read/watch.

    Darn and thank you. G’night all.

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  36. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @bill: Caesar: “The Ides of March are come.” Artimedorus: “Aye, Caesar, but not yet gone.” DT needs to stay away from visits to the Senate.

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  37. teve tory says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: bill has to brag about winning the election 4/5 months ago because literally everything trump has done since then has been a royal fuckup and/or crime.

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  38. MarkedMan says:

    And another one. From the Washington Post

    But even as Trump officials downplay Manafort’s role, his ­decade-long business associate Rick Gates remains entrenched in the president’s operation. Gates is one of four people leading a Trump-blessed group that defends the president’s agenda. As recently as last week, he was at the White House to meet with officials as part of that work.

    Through Manafort, Gates is tied to many of the same business titans from Ukraine and Russia, including Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with strong ties to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Manafort had a multimillion-dollar contract with Deripaska between at least 2005 and 2009 that was aimed at helping the political interests of Putin.

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  39. Franklin says:

    @bill:

    gobble it up- trump still won and is the president.

    That’s cute, your most pressing concern is still about beating Hillary. But now that Trump is proven to be the crook we all suspected, you’ve got nothing relevant to say.

    The thing here is, you’re a loser. But in (much) less than 4 years, Trump will no longer be President. And you’ll still be a loser.

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  40. KM says:

    She got slammed for saying it but Hillary was right. The Deplorables in this country are actively trying to ruin it in their glee that their loserdom got vindicated by “winning!!”. Nobody likes hearing negative things about themselves but at some point you have to call a spade a spade or a traitorous asshat a traitorous asshat.

    To all proud Deplorables out there:
    – I’m sorry your world is so small you can only listen to the echo chamber who tells you that you are right, smart, Real Americans and that the only reason your life sucks is the Other Did This To You. Wile not all opinions are worth a dime, hearing them at least broadens your world enough to help you understand yourself better.
    – I’m sorry your personality craves the kind of junk celebrity Trump thrives on and you see him as a role model for how to live your life. He’s famous for being a loser and you love that – what does that say about you?
    – I’m sorry you won’t ever achieve anything in this life that society has deemed worthy and you’re bitter as hell about it. No, being born in a certain place, faith or skin tone do not count as achievements either even if they are all you have.
    – I’m sorry you live in a hellhole and keep waiting for that magic thing to come same you instead of having the gumption to go save yourself. I’m sorry your ancestors had more to lose then you did and still worked up the nerve to move when needed. Yes, its a terrible choice but its the only one you have.
    – I’m sorry you were desperate enough to believe the biggest bullshitter on the planet and are still desperate enough to cling to your pride instead of admitting this was a mistake.
    – Most of all, I’m truly sorry you won’t hear or understand any of this without dismissing it as an attack instead of an intervention. I’m sorry its going to take actual irreversible damage to your life to maybe, MAYBE change your mind… on Donald. You’ll find some other horrible person to love and the cycle will start again.

    We will judge you for it and frankly, you’ve lost the right to complain about it. The least you deserve is an I Told You So. He’s going down. Its inevitable as the tides. The only question is how many of you he’ll take with him. But hey, you won right?

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  41. grumpy realist says:

    What is wrong with this man?

    Disgusted.

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  42. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @teve tory:

    bill has to brag about winning the election…

    The psychology is apparent in hindsight:

    During the campaigning, it was the “Bandwagon Effect”. Someone that Bill could project his beliefs upon, while joining what appeared to be many like-minded folk. (Explaining why the disenfranchised poor and middle class whites believed a billionaire reflected their world view. Trump was their Chauncey Gardener)

    On election eve, and following it, it was “Basking in Reflected Glory”… that impolite bitch-slap freely given by Bill when he perceives that he was proven right above all others. (Much like the local sports team winning a national competition, folks will keep that Trump sign on their lawns and go to the 2020 rallies, buy the shirts, and put more bumper stickers on the car.)

    But now we enter the new phase: “Confirmation Bias” and “Denial”. Anything that doesn’t fit the narrative is completely non-existent. (The GOP Heath Bill will hurt the folks in the heartland that voted for Trump? Fake News! )

    I look forward to the “Backfire Effect” phase – when individuals, like Bill, confronted with evidence that conflicts with their beliefs, come to hold their original position even more strongly… Digging in their heels in complete opposition (usually using the “no true Scotsman” logical fallacy to back it up — Ex: Trump’s failure is not due to a failure of GOP white nationalism… Trump was never a real conservative to begin with!)

    Bill will flame out eventually as the facts keep piling up, but he’ll be among the last to do so, retreating to the safe spaces of hate radio.

    In the mean time, we should all enjoy his vitriol. He is, after all, the “poorly educated” that Trump loves so much. And we have much to learn from him.

    Just not the way that Bill thinks.

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  43. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    “I’m president and you’re not.”

    Didn’t he steal that line from Chevy Chase?

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  44. KM says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Mental illness. Seriously. Be it a personality disorder, dementia or an unholy combo of the two.

    I personally know people who act like this. I call it DGAF Syndrome to help people without a background in psych. Reality is whatever they want it to be right now, regardless of things like facts. If they don’t want to engage with reality, they will just tune it out and keep on going with their delusions. They are right, damnit and you can’t ever prove them wrong. Even if it kills someone else or them, they will treat you like the problem for daring to use things like facts. I’ll pulled someone off a burning mattress because they didn’t want to admit they were smoking in bed in a no smoking area and the damn thing was on fire! I’ve seen people pee themselves in public rather then admit they need a “diaper” and stay sitting in the puddle like nothing happened. Double down, double down and when the knives are to your throat, double down and blame the other guy.

    You can’t save or help people like this. You can only mitigate the damage they leave in their careless wake and steer as many people as possible out of their path. Others will keep trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, or explain it away because “it can’t be that bad” or “nobody sane would ever do that”. That’s the point: there’s no standard baseline of human decency or aversion. They can and will go there, leaving regular people speechless at “how the hell did this just happen?!”

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  45. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    which begs the question as to what she has achieved?

    Besides being totally irrelevant, to anything, your question is answered in your own link. Stupid git.

    According to Variety, Clinton is being honored “for her work with Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which empowers kids to develop lifelong healthy habits.”

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  46. LaMont says:

    What’s unclear is who’s interests he was working on behalf of when he did that and whether it accurately reflects the Trump Administration’s view of the matter.

    Then this:

    …but it’s never been clear why the President has been so disinclined to be critical of Putin given his comments about other leaders.

    Is it really that unclear Doug?

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  47. Facebones says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Breitbart and Infowars are about to take a HUGE credibility hit.

    You cannot lose what you never had.

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  48. Pch101 says:

    “Bill” is a good German. Every society has had them. He’s an idiot, he’s always going to be an idiot, and there’s no reason to belabor the point.

    Focus instead on how to use news like this in order to create momentum among Democrats and to chip away at some of the more moderate independents who voted for Trump yet who can eventually be persuaded. Diehards like Bill are lost causes, and it is best to just mock or ignore them.

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  49. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Bill has wisely moved on from this thread… but as a particular organization tends to say:

    No matter where you go, there you are.

    :)

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  50. Barry says:

    @CSK: “Who’s lending Trump the money now that U.S. banks refuse to do do business with him? ”

    I’m certain that Goldman Sachs had a very nice line of credit for him on the Wednesday after election.

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  51. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Didn’t you read your own article? She is being recognized for her work with an organization the encourages kids to make healthful choices in their lives.

    And having just watched a middle schooler buy her lunch at the convenience store this morning before school–2 bottles of Powerade, 2 medium size bags of Smokin’ Hot Cheetos (no connection to the current president), and a large Kit Kat bar–I will say “Congratulations Chelsea! Keep up the good work!”

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  52. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: Also from the same Hill link: “Trump threatens to leave ObamaCare in place if repeal bill fails.”

    “Oh no! Don’t throw me in the briar patch! Please!”

    You really can’t make this stuff up.

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  53. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Facebones: Indeed!

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