Monday, February 25, 2019

The corruption behind the Manafort prosecution

Franklin Foer of The Atlantic read Team Mueller's 800-page sentencing memo on Paul Manafort.

Foer does not like Manafort.

"When I first started reporting on Paul Manafort three years ago, I kept looking for a redeeming flicker of humanity. Editors would push me: 'Surely, he started off as an idealist, before taking his moral tumble?' They were aching for what we call in the trade the 'to-be-sure graf,' where a journalist displays all the pieces of contrary evidence in plain view. Reader, let me tell you, I searched hard to find that sliver of goodness, and it eluded me," Foer wrote.

That paragraph revealed two things.

First, if a reporter discovers something, it has already been discovered by someone else. They work off tips, leads, and leaks.

Second, the only reason Foer or anyone else in the media began tracking Manafort three years ago is because he went to work for Donald John Trump.

Here is where the corruption is.

Foer wrote, "Many times it has been remarked: If Manafort hadn’t joined the Trump campaign, he would have gotten away with his long string of misdeeds. But what’s so fascinating about the appendices of today’s recommendation is that they include Justice Department memos from the 1980s, investigating his potential abuse of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, requiring him to inform the government about his lobbying efforts on behalf of foreign governments. (Another memo ponders about how lobbying might have conflicted with his appointment by Ronald Reagan to a directorship at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.)

"In other words, these officials apparently had a sense of Manafort’s misdeeds, and they looked into them. But none of these memos ever turned into a prosecution. This is the problem with the enforcement of anti-corruption laws. Officials rarely have the fortitude to go after big, well-connected targets like Manafort. When there are so few prosecutions under these laws, the odds of winning are highly uncertain, so prosecutors grow ever more cautious about taking them to court. The deep improbability of Donald Trump’s presidency makes this all the more stark: Paul Manafort could have — should have — gotten away with everything he’s alleged to have done."

So we have Manafort, a typical Washington lobbyist/consultant/political appointee, blithely breaking the law without worry about being caught because no one is ever prosecuted.

Laws are for little people.

Foer said so: "In other words, these officials apparently had a sense of Manafort’s misdeeds, and they looked into them. But none of these memos ever turned into a prosecution. This is the problem with the enforcement of anti-corruption laws. Officials rarely have the fortitude to go after big, well-connected targets like Manafort."

That raises a question: why don't they go after "big, well-connected targets like Manafort"?

Foer's answer was circular.

I will cut to the chase. Prosecutors don't go after them because they are big and well-connected, as Foer said, and it is better to have dirt on big, well-connected targets than it is to prosecute them.

And that failure to prosecute is what the real corruption is. The people who should be filtering the swamp are part of the swamp.

Investigating Manafort for not registering under the anti-Nazi Foreign Agents Registration Act is laughable. None of them did. The Ukraine presidential election in 2009 was a mother lode for American political consultants who pocketed millions giving candidates advice on buying polls they ran and ads they made.

And does Foer really believe that Manafort is the only one to use his position on the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for private gain? Nixon and a Democrat Congress set it up in 1971.

I hope Manafort rots in jail. A pardon should be out of the question. He earned his time in Leavenworth or wherever they send him.

But let us not kid ourselves, he is not the only one. And the Department of Justice under presidents from both parties over the years did nothing except file memos and wait.

Manafort's mistake was not in getting caught. His mistake was in working for the Enemy of the Swamp.


  1. Nailed it. The sack of shit reporter never brings up the question of how widespread these practices are and how many Democrats are the same, or, as experience shows us, worse than the guy he is focusing on. Bottom line is that they could probably clean out half of DC if the laws were enforced, and the biggest lesson we learn is that they are not enforced, or are enforced very selectively, and Foer obviously doesn't give a damn about this aspect of things.

    1. As Podesta, his partner in the Ukraine, goes Scott free. For now. Hopefully new AG gets all Clinton/Sotero criminals.

  2. He's a hometown boy. The family got their start in the demolition business in New Britain a century ago. For locals, "Paul" ususally means his father, former mayor and lifelong VIP.

    The current mayor (R) is thrilled with the new guilt-by-association to her city, saying "everybody has to be born somewhere"

  3. I hope Manafort gets a pardon from DT then lives out his life in luxury down beach from Obama, he and his wife smothered in sable and Romanoff jewels. He was prosecuted for purely political reasons by people guilty of state crimes far worse than his. What did this pontiff of journalistic morality expect to find in this indictment other than a prequel script for the soon to be released Trump Impeachment liathon?. For that, He and his editors will be in the first row, hoping to be showered with the blood of Satan. In vain, I think.

    1. Saw that New York courts are trying to drum up state charges that PDJT cannot pardon Manafort from.

    2. Finally a good post with truth.

  4. Without an actual change to the law as it stands in NY Manafort could easily beat a state rap according to "experts"

  5. How can fraudulent hacks like Foer even opine on the topic of ONE REPUBLICAN's corruption as though the ENTIRE Democrat party isn't 1,000% worse!? LOL! What a bunch of cranks!

  6. From what I've seen Manafort was a political remora who attached himself to Trump so he could profit by that connection. Manafort took a buttload of money off some of the Ukrainians to lobby for them in Washington but he never registered as a foreign agent. He is charged with failure to register and tax evasion, but his real crime was fraud by impersonating a person of influence.

    He presented himself as a Washington insider who had access and influence in the corridors of power. Any one of us could call our local congressman's office on the publicly listed number and eventually speak to one of his low-level staffers before getting a polite brush-off. Then there are people who have the unlisted numbers and when they call they either get put straight thru or they speak to a top aide and get a call back from the congressman himself in short order.

    Manafort held himself out as the latter, but he was a lot closer to the former. He had the kind of access that gets you invited to cocktail parties, but not the kind that gets you in a golfing foursome with a senator.

    He tried to attach himself to Trump but was only able to get an unpaid position that had no authority and did not involve direct interaction with Trump. He was promoted to campaign manager after Corey Lewandowski was fired. A few months later he was fired too. That ended his connection to Trump.

    In contrast Manafort is John Podesta, who attached himself to the Clintons many years ago and who has been feeding off of them for nearly three decades. He is one of the more prominent members of a small army of remoras that have surrounded Bill and Hillary since their Arkansas days.

  7. Trump's DOJ won't go after too many more of the other guilty swamp.
    But he should.

    Somebody should make it a bigger priority. Maybe Ted Cruz?

    1. It will not be until after a successful MAGA 2020 election that our MAGA President will be provided the necessary support to cleanse the doj of uniparty hog minions. Ditto for all other Executive Branch agencies.

      So, to describe any Executive Branch agencies as if any are actually MAGA is a deceptive act.