NO RUSSIA! NO COLLUSION! So ... No Jail Time, Right?
The Paul Manafort Pardon Me Tour continued on Friday with a big NO COLLUSION jamboree in the Eastern District of Virginia. There's a fine line between nakedly begging for a presidential Get Out Of Jail Free Card and getting 20 years because you pissed off the trial judge by describing your eight-count jury conviction as a WITCH HUNT. But with his health failing, Manafort's swinging for the fences. Not only is there NO COLLUSION -- and, hey, paging Commander Pardon Pen, no mention of Donald Trump's campaign -- there was NO RUSSIA at all. If you buy Manafort's sentencing memo, he was really just ratfucking the Ukrainian election to bring that country into the European Union and away from Vladimir Putin's sphere of influence. Also, you should probably find a grown up to hold your wallet, since you will buy literally anything.
Okay, see if you can spot the one or two teensy little fibs in this passage from Manafort's Sentencing Memo:
Shortly after Mr. Trump's election, the Acting Attorney General appointed the Special Counsel to investigate allegations that Mr. Trump's campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. In October 2017, unable to establish that Mr. Manafort engaged in any such collusion, the Special Counsel charged him in the District of Columbia with crimes unrelated to Mr. Manafort's work on the 2016 campaign.
Nobody at the DOJ talks about "collusion." That's just some bullshit that Trumpsters made up because they knew no one would ever be convicted of it, since it doesn't exist. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tasked Mueller with investigating "any links and/or coordination bet ween the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump," which is how the Special Counsel worked out that Paul Manafort passed Trump campaign internal polling data to GRU-trained Konstantin Kilimnik (that means RUSSIAN SPY-trained) to share with Putin's favorite oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Manafort was in constant contact with Kilimnik regarding a "peace plan" for Ukraine that involved allowing Russia to gobble up large chunks of it, along with all those delicious hydrocarbons under the Black Sea. Moreover, Rosenstein also gave Mueller a mandate to charge "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation." Which would include all the bank and tax fraud Manafort was convicted of perpetrating in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
But other than that ... WITCH HUNT!
Paul Manafort Has Been a Very Good Boy ... MOSTLY
In Virginia, Manafort told the Special Counsel to get fucked and took his chances at trial "after the Special Counsel declined to extend a reasonable plea offer." (Extreme jerk off motion.) But he'd still like Judge T.S. Ellis to take into account how very cooperative he was after he got convicted. Eventually he decided to flip and help Mueller, which is exactly the same as if he'd done it before the first trial, right, Your Honor?
More specifically, his cooperation has included a dozen interviews by the Special Counsel's attorneys and investigators totaling more than 50 hours. Mr. Manafort has also provided the Special Counsel with access to requested electronic devices. Finally, the defendant has provided assistance to the Special Counsel's Office in transferring his assets pursuant to the forfeiture order filed in the District of Columbia.
Oh, really? He turned over his phones and signed the asset forfeiture paperwork, just like he was required to do? Slow fuckin' clap, dude.
But more to the point, we think Uncle Pauly might have left out a couple details here. Maybe the part where he repeatedly lied to prosecutors, tampered with witnesses, and continued covertly passing information to Trump's lawyers? Could be relevant!
Okay, yes, Paul Manafort was unanimously convicted of multiple felonies by a jury of his peers. But, you know, Robert Mueller was like really mean to him, so, he can go home now, right?
The Special Counsel's attempt to vilify Mr. Manafort as a lifelong and irredeemable felon is beyond the pale and grossly overstates the facts before this Court. The Special Counsel's conduct comes as no surprise, and falls within the government's pattern of spreading misinformation about Mr. Manafort to impugn his character in a manner that this country has not experienced in decades.
But see: Donald Trump's Twitter feed. See also: FUCK YOU.
Paul Manafort: Champion of Democracy and Friend to All Men
As with the memo they submitted to the court in DC, Manafort's lawyers are laying it on thick, describing him as husband and father of the year. AHEM. They even went back to Bart Mazzarella (and his wife, Lisa Ricotta, allegedly!) who can vouch for Manafort's innocence as a former altar boy and president of the 9th grade class at St. Thomas Aquinas School in 1963.
And there was the same BS about bringing democracy to the poor, backward heathens:
During his years outside of government service, Mr. Manafort worked with world leaders. Mr. Manafort has spent a lifetime promoting democratic values and assisting emerging democracies to adopt reforms necessary to become a part of Western society. At times, he interacted with politicians and business people in emerging countries to assist in the development of beliefs of equal justice, human rights and free markets. As an experienced strategist, Mr. Manafort often found ways to build bridges and create economic opportunities between those individuals, their countries and the United States.
Which is FUCKING RICH coming from a guy who represented some of the most brutal dictators in the world for an outfit nicknamed the "Torturer's Lobby." But please, tell us more about Ferdinand Marcos, Jonas Savimbi, and Sana Abacha -- all great warriors for "equal justice, human rights and free markets."
NO RUSSIA! NO RUSSIA! What Even Is a Russia? Don't Ask Paul Manafort, That's For Sure!
Give Paul Manafort credit -- the guy has BALLS. He's been out there ratfucking for the pro-Russian Party of Regions in Ukraine since 2004, a party that cheated so flagrantly that year that the country held a do-over election. The Party's animating cause was keeping Ukraine out of NATO and in Russia's orbit, a cause for which it was almost definitely willing to poison the pro-NATO candidate Viktor Yushchenko. Paul Manafort himself hired a prestigious American law firm to dummy up a report saying that the Party of Regions was totally justified in jailing its pro-NATO political rival Yuliya Tymoshenko, despite its private communications acknowledging that evidence of her intent to commit a crime was "virtually non-existent". Paul Manafort used a Russian cutout to pass Trump's internal polling data at least to two pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarchs, and Mueller hasn't stated it outright yet -- at least not in language that isn't REDACTED -- but it sure looks like that cutout also passed that data to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, at a time when the Russian government was sponsoring a massive electoral interference campaign. (We're sure Mueller will tell us for sure when he's ready.)
BUT STILL, Manafort insists that he is a staunch enemy of Russia, and loves only the great, independent country of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin? PAUL MANAFORT DOESN'T KNOW HER!
It is Mr. Manafort's work in Ukraine, and the fees that he earned there, that bring him before this Court. The Special Counsel's Office has repeatedly characterized this as work on behalf of a pro-Putin politician. This is not true. Mr. Manafort was hired to spearhead efforts for Ukraine to become a member state of the European Union and he acted as one of the Ukrainian government's liaisons to the European Commission. These efforts were clearly designed to distance Ukraine from Putin.
Go the fuck to jail, Paul Manafort. And stay there forever. AMEN.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.