According to a New York Times report, Paul Manafort hired two journalists, paying them $2.4 million out of a foreign account, wanting them “to bolster the reputation” of Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine.
No news there, that’s the exact type of sundry service that Manafort provided around the globe. Although the investigators did not reveal the name of the veteran journalists, sources identified them as Alan Friedman and Eckart Sager.
The report states, “In court filings this week, they said that starting in late February, Mr. Manafort repeatedly tried to reach the two journalists — with whom he had fallen out of contact until recently — to coordinate their accounts about their work to tamp down international criticism of Mr. Yanukovych for corruption, persecuting rivals and pivoting toward Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin.”
In other words, Manafort attempted to contact them to get the story to “evolve” as it would be told to Robert Mueller.
The Times reports that the men “fended off the overtures, which included phone calls and encrypted text messages from Mr. Manafort,” adding Friedman accused him of trying to “suborn perjury” and get him to lie to investigators, according to F.B.I. agent on the case.
All of this is well and good, and typical of what we believe happens in Eastern Europe all the time. Undeniably “bad guys” like Paul Manafort – a bad guy who was somehow “picked by Donald Trump” to run an American campaign, even though all his recent experience had been in former Soviet Republics – bad guys get involved in Moscow-controlled messaging, paying-off dishonest journalists. Ok so far. Situation normal.
Then, Manafort asks them to lie to Mueller, (or “coordinate” their testimony), they say “nyet,” and report it.
Great, hang another two felonies on Manafort. (This behavior likely encompassed the witness tampering charges we heard about the other night).
My question to my readers – always loyal – centers around the fact that the clear divide that used to delineate Eastern European political practices and American political practices is …well, gone. Paul Manafort, Eastern Euro campaign strategist extraordinaire ended up leading the Trump campaign, need I say more about the diminished divide?
Okay, moving together now, we know it to be common practice for top-tier political consultants in this area to pay off journalists for favorable coverage. Remember, that divide has diminished, remember that Russia interfered in our election on behalf of Trump.
Has it struck you yet just how favorable certain journalists on a certain network have been toward Trump? Would we be cray-cray (ten-year-old girl term) to say that it is entirely possible that the Russian political model has moved west, and succeeded?
Recall early on, Fox was not pro-Trump, in fact Trump initially didn’t like Fox, though that had a great deal to do with Megyn Kelly asking difficult questions about women (Fox asked difficult questions?). If I had a special “Wiki” that I could ask any three questions I wanted, one question would certainly entail the next week’s Powerball Numbers, and another would certainly ask it to list the Fox News hosts, if any, that have accepted money, from any source, for positive Trump coverage. Hannity, Dobbs, Perino, they’d be checked.
I suppose we can be thankful that these particular journalists, though originally on the take, refused to go all the way and lie for Manafort when it came to Mueller. Perhaps the Eastern European model has some integrity at its base.
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