Since there are still more details unknown than known with what’s going on with Paul Manafort and “Trump/Russian collusion”, here are a few bits of news headlines that have me pondering, both timing and possible connections.
Let’s pretend we’re standing in Putin’s shoes the past few days…
November 25, 2018 – NBC reports:
“Ukraine convened an emergency meeting of what it called its war cabinet on Sunday after it accused Russia of having fired on three of its vessels in the Black Sea, injuring at least six sailors.
Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, confirmed that it had seized what it called three Ukrainian “warships,” saying they had trespassed into Russian territorial waters. It said that “weapons were used to force the Ukrainian warships to stop” and that three Ukrainian service members were treated for minor injuries, TASS, the official Russian news agency, reported Sunday night.”
A hue and cry of international condemnation of Russian aggression and demands for UN and/or US to take action ensues.
November 26, 2018 – American news breaks on Manafort. Politico reports:
“Special counsel Robert Mueller is accusing former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of violating the plea deal he agreed to earlier this year by repeatedly lying to prosecutors and FBI agents during recent debriefing sessions.
In a report filed with a federal judge Monday evening, Mueller’s office alleged that Manafort “committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters.“ Prosecutors said the alleged lies leave Manafort exposed to the possibility of a more severe prison sentence under federal guidelines, but they did not elaborate on what exactly he allegedly lied about.”
November 27, 2018 – The British Guardian paper runs this thinly sourced story about Paul Manafort meeting with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2016:
“Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told.
Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House.
It is unclear why Manafort wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last meeting is likely to come under scrutiny and could interest Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
A well-placed source has told the Guardian that Manafort went to see Assange around March 2016. Months later WikiLeaks released a stash of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers.”
The timing of this Guardian story is just too perfectly timed to throw the American media into another “Trump/Russian collusion” hysterical spin cycle and with Republicans in the House subpoenaing James Comey and Loretta Lynch, America is sure to begin 2019, just like we began 2017 and 2018… still stuck in 2016 scorched earth hell. And with the pressure building with the Mueller investigation potential endgame moves in sight, Putin would assuredly like to see Trump afraid to cross him, for fear of more leaks, but even more than that Putin would love to see America descend further into “political schizophrenia”.
No bright spots for America’s political system to move to more stable ground in the foreseeable future
We’re stuck in this endless spin cycle of … chaos and more chaos.
Here’s how I see the Russian hand of cards:
Russian intelligence knows what, if any parts of the Steele dossier, have any veracity.
Russian intelligence knows all about Paul Manafort.
Russian intelligence knows all about the dumb Don Jr. with the Russian lawyer.
Russian intelligence knows all about Trump’s financial dealings, especially if there are any connected to Russians.
Russian intelligence has a vast collection of compromising information on the Clintons.
Russian intelligence has all of the emails that were on the Clinton family server, to include all of Hillary and Huma’s emails, the yoga schedules and wedding plans AND the Bill Clinton foundation emails, which that server was set-up for in the first place.
Russian intelligence has all of the emails that were on the DNC server.
Russian intelligence has all of John Podesta’s emails.
Putin knows everything Trump agreed to in their private July 16, 2018 meeting.
This Guardian leak sure seems like Putin playing World Cup level geopolitical soccer.
Trump doesn’t even know how soccer is played… but he does understand threats, so expect more Trump spin diversions and hysterics, to deflect attention away from himself and more attacks on Mueller’s investigation.
Putin knows Trump is cornered and afraid, leaving Putin free to push his weight around on the world stage without challenge. The odds of Trump responding forcefully against Russian aggression in Ukraine seem very low.
Putin is banking on America descending further into banana republic territory, with partisan squabbling over 2016 Trump/Russian collusion and Clinton, Steele dossier and Comey/Lynch corruption. Putin will just keep tossing out banana peels in the western press, to keep American partisans slipping further into spin chaos.