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Greg Olear @gregolear
, 26 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Let's talk about Paul Manafort. (Trump sure seems to want to.)

1/ With the possible exception of Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort is THE most important figure in Trump/Russia.

Take away Manafort, and Trump isn't president. It's that simple. To wit:
2/ Trump and Manafort have known each other for decades. The latter introduced the former to Tom Barrack, years ago, and it was Barrack who suggested Trump have Manafort join the campaign.
3/ In March of 2016, Trump's campaign manager was Corey Lewandowski, who was in over his head.

Trump had sewn up enough delegates that the Republican nomination looked like a sure thing. Maybe it wasn't 50/50 that he’d win the White House that November, but it was possible.
4/ But then reports trickled out about unhappy delegates, a disgruntled GOP establishment, and the unthinkable prospect of a contested convention that July. Could Ted Cruz or John Kasich somehow pull the chair right out from under Trump’s prodigious derrière?
5/ The last contested GOP convention was back in 1976, when President Ford managed to stave off a challenge by California governor Ronald Reagan. The man in charge of Ford's effort back in '76 was a young Republican strategist and lawyer named -- ta da! -- Paul Manafort.
6/ Manafort would later broker conventions for George H.W. Bush in '88 and Bob Dole in '96. So in March of 2016, the Trump team was all, "Hey, this guy actually KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING!"
7/ Not only did Manafort have truck with the GOP establishment, but given his experience with brokering conventions, and his personal relationship with the candidate, he seemed uniquely qualified to lead Trump to the nomination.
8/ Although Manafort had not worked on a US race in 20 years, the consensus in the media was that this was a smart hire. Here was a seasoned pro who would bring establishment bona fides to the upstart campaign. (Nice job, MSM!)
9/ Nicknamed “The Count” during his days as a convention broker, the 67-year-old Manafort was well-educated, worldly, independently wealthy, and smart—in stark contrast to the provincial mouthbreathers comprising most of Trump’s team. Or so it seemed.
10/ During those two decades spent away from convention-brokering, Paul Manafort had been spending time with a host of unsavory characters: despots, mostly, from foreign dictatorships—and, more recently, a pair of shady Russian oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska and Dmytro Firtash.
11/ In fact, Manafort was in dire financial straits. Russian intelligence has made a cottage industry of “turning” powerful Americans with money problems. He owed Deripaska some serious coin. Oops!
12/ Manafort's most recent client, Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine, was a particularly noxious fellow. All three clients were thick as thieves with Vladimir Putin. (Manafort had been paid many millions of dollars by Yanukovych, illegally.)
13/ The contested convention was a huge stroke of luck for Putin. It enabled him to install his compromised asset, Manafort, AS THE CAMPAIGN MANAGER. Because Trump's people suck at vetting.
14/ Manafort was a key player in many of the meetings with the Russians. The Mayflower Hotel event, chronicled on Twitter by @SethAbramson, as all Manafort's doing. That was Trump signalling that he was willing to play ball w/Putin.
15/ Manafort was also at the Trump Tower meeting with Junior. This tends to be forgotten, but he was there. And HE WAS IN CHARGE at the time.
16/ The RNC worked out just fine, for Manafort and Trump. Donald got the nomination, and Manafort got the GOP platform changed to make it more to Putin's liking.
17/ Basically, Manafort's five or so months in the campaign were CRITICAL. I call it "Treason Season." Trump went from being a potential casualty of the convention to the Putin-favored and -aided nominee in that time.
18/ And now Manafort has been indicted on a boatload of charges, including CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE UNITED STATES.

Let me say it again: Paul Manafort stands accused of conspiring against his country.

Here's a shorter word for that: sedition. Here's another: treason.
19/ This is not Pizzagate-style conspiracy theory. This is not uninformed speculation. This is not something posted anonymously on Reddit. This is an actual charge, filed by the Special Counsel of the US Department of Justice investigating Trump/Russia.
20/ And the individual accused of this heinous crime was the CHAIRMAN of the Trump campaign. Not an intern. Not a coffee boy. The guy in charge.

He now wears two ankle bracelets.
21/ Manafort is looking at a long prison sentence...


So long, that if time moved in reverse, when he got out out of jail, the US would still be a British colony.
22/ I don't know what's up with Trump's Manafort tweets, but I know that Manafort is THE guy. No one can take down the regime faster and more decisively than Manafort. If he chooses to.
The thing is, if Manafort flips and rats out Trump, and is a free man, it's not like Putin wouldn't be eager to serve him polonium tea.

Take heart, folks. MANAFORT IS THE GUY.

This thread was culled from my book, #DirtyRubles, of which more here:

You can read it for free on your Kindle if you have Prime.
*Kindle Unlimited, I'm told, not Prime. Sorry for the confusion. I thought it was the same thing.
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