Oh good, it's time for a redemption tour from Paul Manafort. Is anyone interested in that? Is there some constituency out there for Manafort? Are MAGA mouthbreathers dying to sound out the words in his forthcoming book, Political Prisoner: Persecuted, Prosecuted, but not Silenced — LOL — which reportedly comes out in August? (By the way, fuck Simon & Schuster for publishing that dogshit. Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann notes that if Manafort receives dollars for this book, he could be in violation of his plea deal, which doesn't go away just because he was pardoned.)

Manafort went on "Hannity" last night looking like a sickly cartoon character televangelist Liberace fuck-clown, and oh boy, what Kremlin-pleasing bullshit.

During the interview there was this hilarious moment when Manafort talked about how weird it was in the fall of 2016 when the media started reporting on alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. (Remember that it is now gospel in the North Korean news lady world of Fox News that all Russian collusion allegations have been proven to be a hoax, even though the then-Republican led Senate Intelligence Committee released a report in 2020 that revealed massive collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian actors.)




Manafort said he "didn't take it very seriously" in "August of 2016" when the "false narrative" of Russian collusion started, because he knew how "ridiculous" that was. He had to start taking it seriously later, obviously, because the Deep State was after him.

This is very funny because ... shall we go to that Senate Intel Committee report?

Because it was literally "August of 2016" — the second day of that month, to be exact — when Paul Manafort met with his associate Konstantin Kilimnik at the Grand Havana Room in Manhattan to discuss a "peace plan" for Ukraine, which always was code for finding a way to lift the sanctions off Russia, which that nation earned when it invaded Ukraine in 2014. (And oh look where we are again!) Kilimnik, the report explains, "is a Russian intelligence officer." Or in layman's terms, a fuckin' spy.

The report explains that Manafort "sought to secretly share internal Campaign information with Kilimnik" — a Russian spy — on "numerous occasions." That internal campaign information? It was about the Rust Belt, where Trump "won" just months later, even while being soundly rejected by the vote of the American people. The report said, "The Committee obtained some information suggesting Kilimnik may have been connected to the GRU's hack and leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election." Their evidence? Redacted. And: "Two pieces of information [...] raise the possibility of Manafort's potential connection to the hack-and-leak operation." Also redacted.

And who had a history of being connected to hacking operations? Why that's just Oleg Deripaska, Putin's favorite oligarch who also used to be Manafort's and Kilimnik's boss. The one Manafort owed fuckin' bigtime. And when did the hacking actually happen in 2016, according to the report? Around March, when Manafort was very bizarrely getting hired to chair the Trump campaign for a salary of zero dollars.

The Committee assesses that Kilimnik likely served as a channel to Manafort for Russian intelligence services, and that those services likely sought to exploit Manafort's access to gain insight info the Campaign. Taken as a whole, Manafort's high-level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services, particularly Kilimnik, represented a grave counterintelligence threat.

When President Joe Biden's Treasury Department announced sanctions on Kilimnik last April, they came right out and said it:

During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy. Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In 2018, Kilimnik was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice regarding unregistered lobbying work.

Yes, we imagine Manafort "didn't take it very seriously" in August 2016 when a narrative was forming that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia, just as he was literally handing Trump campaign polling data — Rust Belt polling data — to a Russian spy who somehow got it to Russian intelligence, which clearly wasn't hard, since he works for Russian intelligence.

Sean Hannity didn't note any of these facts because he's not here to tell the truth or do journalism.

Elsewhere in the interview, Hannity lied to his audience when he said this:

“You really — in many ways, you, Roger Stone, [George] Papadopoulos, General [Michael] Flynn and Carter Page, the president himself,” Hannity said, referring to various targets of the Russia investigation — “all of this stems from a false, phony narrative based on a false dossier and phony FISA warrants.”

Nope. The Russia investigation did not come from the Steele Dossier or Carter Page's FISA warrants. It started when George Papadopoulos drunk-creamed himself all over an Australian diplomat in public about how he had the secret skinny on Russia ratfucking the election against Hillary Clinton.

As Philip Bump explains at the Washington Post, sounding as exasperated as we are, other parts of the investigation got going at different times, like for instance the Michael Flynn part got going when he lied to FBI agents' faces about his secret dealings with the Russian government and the NSA picked it up — not because they were spying on Flynn, but because they were spying on Russia, you traitorous fuckwits.

Oh yeah, and as Bump notes, Manafort himself had been on the FBI's radar for yearsfuckingyears related to his foreign work.

So yeah, this is all bullshit. And if Paul Manafort wants to be on the news again and Sean Hannity wants to give him reacharounds to help him with his redemption tour, then we'll type this story out each and every time we see his face.

In summary and in conclusion, if you want to watch Laura Ingraham during the handover from Hannity talking about how skinny and amaaaaaaazing Paul Manafort looked, you'll have to click here, because this Wonkette post is over.

[Washington Post]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the managing editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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