Manafort takes millions; Combat! blog takes hiatus

Before we take the picture, can we get some bats in here?

Before we take the picture, can we get some bats in here?

About two months ago, Donald Trump replaced campaign manager and occasional woman-grabber Corey Lewandowski with Paul Manafort. Manafort’s resume reminds you that Trump used to be friends with Roy Cohn. Before he took over the Trump campaign, Manafort advised the campaigns of Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole. He also worked with some exciting foreign leaders, including Ferdinand Marcos, Mobutu Sese Seko and Ukraine’s pro-Russian former president, Viktor Yanukovich. That last gig appears to have been pretty lucrative. According to the New York Times, Yanukovich’s pro-Russian political party secretly paid Manafort $12.7 million in cash between 2007 and 2012.

That sets off a fun chain of implications, considering Yanukovich was an ally of Vladimir Putin, for whom Trump has expressed admiration and whose actions—if we are to believe Russia really hacked the DNC—have benefited the Republican nominee’s campaign. If you want to believe Trump is a Manchurian Muscovite candidate, his campaign manager’s multimillion-dollar deals with a Russian stooge in the Ukraine are kind of a smoking gun. It seems just as likely that Manafort will simply work for anyone who pays him enough, and he feels no more loyalty to Putin than to any other oligarch whose budget contains eight-figure consulting lines. But it’s thrilling story nonetheless, and it ads another convincing argument to the case that 2016 is the craziest US election of our lifetimes. I might be willing to put it ahead of the nutso election of 1824 for craziest of all time.

You’ll have to decide for yourself, because Combat! blog is taking a hiatus this week. Astute readers may have noticed the large number of days off we’ve taken recently. I’m on the verge of finishing the first draft of a novel, and I’m inundated with deadlines for other projects. Also, it’s summer, and no one wants to stay inside and read my groundless opinions anyway. So we’ll come back next Monday, by which time Trump presumably will have called the Pope a drug addict and killed a child in a duel. Good luck, fair reader. Good luck.


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