A Quick Explainer On The New York Times's Paul Manafort F*ckup, Because It Seems Important
The New York Times fucked up its story about Paul Manafort and his assistant Rick Gates giving Trump campaign internal polling/voter models/whatever to his RUSSIAN SPY BUDDY Konstantin Kilimnik. This happened because the New York Times fucks up a lot, EXPLANATION OVER, GOODBYE!
OK we are just fooling!
Wonkette had wildly speculated, and the Times went on to report, that Manafort and Gates had passed that data -- in an ongoing way, it seems -- to Kilimnik to give it to Manafort's former boss, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska (AKA "Putin's favorite oligarch"), to whom Manafort owed MANY MONEYS, and to whom Manafort had bizarrely offered private briefings on the Trump campaign. Trouble is, the Times was wrong about the "Deripaska" part. But that doesn't mean he isn't part of this story, because he very much is. Hell, in our last post, we noted how Deripaska sent Kilimnik to meet with Manafort and deliver secret messages unto him on August 2, 2016, and that Manafort and Kilimnik discussed the DNC hack and the Trump campaign at that meeting. All that's still true. And Deripaska is still connected to the Australian-Israeli "social media expert" Joel Zamel, who participated in a meeting at Trump Tower on August 3, 2016, the day after Manafort's meeting with Kilimnik, and who reportedly offered a multi-million dollar ratfucking plan to Donald Trump Jr., to be bankrolled by the Saudis and the Emiratis. (That meeting was ARRANGED BY ERIK PRINCE, by the way.)
The Times has issued a correction, saying that the intended target for the secret polling data (we tend to agree with Steve Schmidt that it was probably much more extensive than just internal polls) wasn't Deripaska, but rather these two pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarchs, Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov.
WHO THE FUCK IS THAT FIRST UNPRONOUNCEABLE GUY?
Serhiy Lyovochkin is a member of the Ukrainian parliament, and a former member of the pro-Russia Party of Regions in Ukraine, the one Paul Manafort did much of his Ukrainian ratfucking work for. You see, back in 2011, Manafort worked for the then-president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, on a professional smear campaign of his opponent Yulia Tymoshenko, whom Yanukovych had LOCK HER UPPED for what lovers of freedom and democracy everywhere saw as nakedly political reasons. Manafort and his pals were tasked with whitewashing Yanukovych's actions, by proving Tymoshenko did Benghazi with Vince Foster during her time at the Clinton Foundation. Rick Gates was part of the project, and so was Konstantin Kilimnik, A RUSSIAN SPY.
Lyovochkin was part of that business too, because at the time he was Yanukovych's chief of staff. In fact, Rick Gates testified that Lyovochkin secretly funneled payments (millions of dollars) to Manafort's accounts in Cyprus for that work! (And who else was a big financial supporter of that work for the Party of Regions? Deripaska.)
So Lyovochkin is a bigwig.
But wait there's more!
Remember that time Robert Mueller bagged another witch in his witch hunt, man by the name of Sam Patten, an associate of both Manafort's and Kilimnik's who pleaded guilty to acting as an unregistered foreign agent, and used a straw purchaser to funnel an illegal $50,000 donation to the Trump inauguration from a Ukrainian oligarch so they could all go to the festivities together? He's now cooperating with Mueller's investigation! Patten did that for ... Serhiy Lyovochkin!
Here is an article Lyovochkin wrote in U.S. News & World Report just after Trump's inauguration about how fuckin' badass Trump was going to be for Ukraine, because of course that exists.
WHO THE FUCK IS THAT SECOND UNPRONOUNCEABLE GUY?
The second unprounceable guy is Rinat Akhmetov, who is not to be confused with Rinat Akhmetshin, the Russian-American spy lobbyist who attended the June Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. There is more than one Rinat in the sea, everyone, and there's more than one whose last name starts with "Akhmet" who shows up as a character in this multi-national conspiracy to subvert American democracy!
Rinat Akhmetov is another big pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarch Manafort has worked for, and he's a MONEY MAN. In fact, he's the richest guy in all of Ukraine. Akhmetov was an early backer of Yanukovych, and also supported the Party of Regions and the work Manafort did for it. In fact, Akhmetov was the guy who recruited Manafort in the first place, and also in fact, Manafort was working for Akhmetov when he hooked up with Oleg Deripaska, who then hired Manafort to make millions doing some fun and fulfilling work for the benefit of Vladimir Putin.
Fun fact: Former US ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst has referred to the Party of Regions as a "haven for mobsters." That's not to say Akhmetov is connected to organized crime, because his lawyers don't like it when people say that. Politifact clearly states that it has found "no convincing evidence" of that, and PolitiFact is pretty smart. But that's still a fun fact.
ANYBODY ELSE WHOSE NAME WE SHOULD KNOW AND IMMEDIATELY FORGET, WHILE WE'RE AT IT?
Well maybe! Akhmetov and Manafort are acquainted with another pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarch named Dmytro Firtash, who lives in exile in Austria and whom the feds say is in the "upper echelon ... of Russian organized crime." He also had connections to Cambridge Analytica, the now defunct company funded by the Mercers that did all that data work for the Trump campaign. Weird! Anyway, we don't know how close Akhmetov and Firtash are, but they were in the Party of Regions financial backers club, OK?
Firtash has tried to do business with Manafort before: He partnered with Manafort and Deripaska back in 2008 on a potentially insanely lucrative Manahattan skyscraper project, in which investigative journalist Seth Hettena explains that Firtash was widely understood to be a front man for Semion Mogilevich, the Ukrainian-born head of the Russian mob. (Want to go deeper down that rabbit hole? Click here.) Anyway, WOMP WOMP, the deal fell through. It sure looked like it could've ended up being a front for some serious international money laundering, though! (You know, allegedly.)
Of course, the Russian mob is deeply entwined with the Russian government and Russian intelligence, and it seems like you can draw a pretty straight line from some of Manafort's Ukrainian pals directly to all three of those entities. Hey, remember all those times Paul Manafort wouldn't flip, and then when he did flip, he seems to have totally fake flipped and just kept committing crimes? Remember how we always wondered if there was something he was way more scared of than Robert Mueller, like polonium?
Anyway, SO MANY FUCKING NAMES AND PLACES AND DATES AND TIMES, but now you know a bit about Paul Manafort's new friends, who are in fact his very old friends.
Fun fact: When the feds raided Paul Manafort's condo, the affidavit that accompanied the search warrant listed four oligarchs, as Marcy Wheeler reports: Deripaska, Firtash, Akhmetov, and Aras Agalarov, the Russian oligarch who threw the Moscow Miss Universe pageant in 2013 with Trump, and with whom Trump tried to launch his first failed Moscow Trump Tower project.
Another fun fact, as Wheeler points out on Twitter: After Manafort had his Russian spy buddy give his Trump campaign dirts to the pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarchs we have just met in this post, Manafort emailed his accountant and said that in November 2016, he expected to be paid $2.4 million for Ukraine work. How weird is that? Pretty weird if you ask us!
Now, does this correction mean that all the collusion it seemed like we found in the Manafort filing is suddenly a moot point, because the New York Times fucked up and listed the wrong oligarchs? LOL NOPE. First of all, Manafort's buddy Kilimnik is A FUCKING RUSSIAN SPY. So whatever secret internal polling/voter data Manafort had, he gave it to A RUSSIAN SPY. Did Kilimnik ultimately hand that over to Deripaska? We actually don't know the answer to that. We just know that Manafort asked Kilimnik to give it to these pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarchs, so they could do ?????? with it.
We guess we'll learn the answers in due time.
For now, you may have an OPEN THREAD.
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