It appears that former Trump campaign chairman and forgotten Looney Toons character Paul Manafort is fairly fucked.
In the last 24 hours, CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times have each published reports on separate incidents surrounding Manafort’s surreptitious activities in connection with the Russia probe and other foreign business, and, well, things do not look good.
On Wednesday night, the Washington Post reported that in the weeks before Trump became the official Republican Party nominee, Manafort “offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions.”
More from the Post:
Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said.
“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email, portions of which were read to The Washington Post along with other Manafort correspondence from that time.
The emails are among the documents collected by special prosecutor Robert Mueller in his Russia probe, and although the meeting detailed in the email may not have ultimately taken place, the Post reports that “investigators believe that the exchanges, which reflect Manafort’s willingness to profit from his prominent role alongside Trump, created a potential opening for Russian interests at the highest level of a US presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the probe.”
The FBI raided Manafort’s home in July, collecting documents for potential crimes that date back to 2006, CNN reported on Wednesday, and are now “working to charge him with possible tax and financial crimes, the sources said, an indication the investigation could be in an advanced stage.”
And what is Manafort doing while the FBI is closing in on him? More shady international business! The New York Times reports that Manafort is now “working for allies of the leader of Iraq’s Kurdish region to help administer and promote a referendum on Kurdish independence from Iraq,” a referendum which the US opposes. Critics of the referendum fear that it will further divide an already unstable nation.
The Times reports that Manafort has been working on the referendum with allies of Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani:
Mr. Manafort agreed to assist with the referendum, including a planned push for Western recognition, after he was approached several months ago by an intermediary for Mr. Barzani’s son, Masrour Barzani, according to two people familiar with the arrangement.
Mr. Manafort has traveled to the region since then to advise the Barzanis’ allies on the referendum, according to Kurdish independence advocates. One of Mr. Manafort’s lieutenants is in Erbil preparing for the referendum, and Mr. Manafort himself may return to the region in the coming days for the vote, according to the advocates.
I am not a lawyer, but I think it is safe to say that Paul Manafort is forehead-deep in a putrid, hardened miasma of dog shit.