Part 2: The Manafort Effect

[Some will argue the following is based on “alternative facts”. Wrong! It’s based on facts and logical suppositions. The CIA, NSA, FBI, ODNI (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) and FinCEN (The US Treasury Office of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) are searching for the facts and they can use this narrative as “smoke” that will help them reveal the fire beneath.]

Trump Presidential Campaign names Russian asset as its National Chairman, according to U.S. Counterintelligence.
Paul Manafort is a political consultant who earned his stripes working for dictators and guerilla leaders. His professional resume includes work as senior campaign strategist for kleptocrats including dictators such as Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and Mobutu Sese Seko, the president of Zaire. He also consulted with Jonas Savimbi, a guerilla leader and sometime politician in Angola.

Manafort’s “knack” is knowing how to divide an electorate along class lines especially around election times. His successful efforts in guiding the Presidential election of Victor Yanukovych of Ukraine in 2010 attracted the eye of Russian intelligence, namely, Sergey Naryshkin, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service for the Russian Federation. Naryshkin is a former KGB senior officer and was a fellow student with Putin at the KGB Higher School. Yanukovych’s election was rife with controversy. His opponent, Yulia Tymoshenko, appealed the results to the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine claiming “systematic and large-scale vote rigging.” She eventually withdrew her appeal. Yanukovych, after abusing his power by using violence to suppress public protests of his actions that led to his fleeing Kiev in the dark of night, is remembered today as a thug and his Regions Party is often characterized as a “criminal enterprise.” Before his disappearance, Yanukovych paid Manafort $12.7 million for his services.

Naryshkin was impressed with Manafort’s “divide and conquer” strategy and in the winter of 2016, at the specific insistence of President Vladimir Putin, Manafort was invited to meet with Naryshkin and Alexander Bortnikov, Director of Russia’s Federal Security Service, at a covert location in central Europe. The meeting’s purpose, beyond discussing the American Presidential election, was essentially exploratory. It turned out to be much more. Their discussions went far beyond the Russian’s game plan; in fact, it went off the page. The tenor and agenda changed immediately when Manafort asserted he was willing to be their “asset” if they (1) opposed the election of America’s Democratic candidate, (2) were willing to pay his fee and do it such a manner it could never be traced and (3) their sordid alliance would never be revealed. Naryshkin and Bortnikov exchanged nods and quickly agreed to Manafort’s demands. They reminded Manafort of their preference of candidates and revealed the compelling leverage they possessed that would assure the candidate’s on-going favor toward Russia, in particular President Putin: The “Ritz Tape.” They had no issue with Manafort’s “sizable” fee and, in fact, Naryshkin arranged for the first payment to be wired before the meeting ended. “Trust us,” they urged, “The only person, other than the three of us, who knows about our alliance is President Putin.” Bortnikov went into detail about his many contacts with Gen. (Ret) Michael Flynn since the beginning of the candidate’s campaign. Flynn, according to Bortnikov, is an outspoken Russian sympathizer and a frequent guest on Russian TV’s popular RT (originally titles Russia Today) along with Putin. Flynn was made aware of Putin’s position on NATO, i.e., “It’s outdated”; his support of Brexit and the diminution of the 26-nation European Union; Putin’s stake in the Ukraine, and more. Bortnikov also explained the groundwork that had been laid for Manafort to take over the Trump Campaign from its current head, Corey Lewandowski, sometime in the spring. Manafort’s goal would be to assist in helping the candidate become the presumptive then official nominee of his party. Flynn assured Bortnikov the candidate was amenable; in fact, elated, under threat of the release of the “Ritz Tape”, to naming Manafort as Chairman of his campaign. It was also made clear that Manafort, once Chairman, would be solely responsible for hiring senior campaign officials, while naming others, such as Roger Stone and Carter Page, to senior advisory positions. Manafort would also decide the overall direction and content of campaign strategy.

Stone and Page would play key roles in the campaign as Manafort’s instruments in facilitating the continued acquisition and effective distribution of Russia’s stolen emails further implicating the democratic candidate’s never ending email scandal.
Before the meeting ended, a strategic calendar had been finalized. The two most significant events posted included Manafort’s introduction into the Trump campaign in March/April to secure the candidates chances of nomination, and the release of hacked cyber data which would start sometime in August to elevate the chances the candidate would ultimately be elected President of the United States.

As springtime approached, Manafort received four secret briefings hosted alternatively by Naryshkin and Bortnikov. The subject was Russia’s massive cyberwar initiative to hack into America’s Democratic National Committee’s email servers. The initiative involved more than 10,000 Russian agents. Once hacked, purloined data would be forwarded to Russian propaganda specialists for pre-scripted “enhancements.” It was Naryshkin’s call on how to distribute the “enhanced” data and he gave the assignment to Sergei Ivanov, former Deputy Prime Minister and a close personal ally of Vladimir Putin. Ivanov was a man of many contacts, among them were agents domiciled in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. In less than 24-hours from receiving his assignment, Ivanov made arrangements to visit the Embassy and its most infamous guest, Julian Assange, publisher of WikiLeaks. Assange welcomed Ivanov’s visit and was anxious to use all his available resources to elect anyone but America’s democratic candidate for president.

Manafort is installed as Trump’s Campaign Chairman in April, 2016, and would resign four months later in August. During his brief tenure, he succeeded in securing the nomination for his candidate and planting the seeds of his “Divide and Conquer” strategy. The key was to focus the campaign message, which had already created rifts with virtually every major voting constituency throughout America, on its one, rock solid voter base: White Americans; specifically white men. The most effective messages were directed to conservative and right wing voters. Groups of alternative right voters, which represent white supremacists, were also coalescing around his candidate. He identified Breitbart as the “Voice” of alternative right organizations, and Manafort decided to utilize Breitbart to drive the wedge deeper between establishment leaning voters and those who were staunchly anti-establishment. Manafort’s stewardship of the Trump campaign was characterized by more consistent messaging while allowing the tenor to be harsher. Encouraging chants to “Lock her up” against Trump’s opponent became routine. He introduced Trump to the teleprompter and the importance of articulating simple, direct messages aimed at the disaffected, alienated and forgotten who, for years, remained silent having no acceptable candidate to support. The rhetoric was anti-establishment and had to be repeated ad nauseam in divisive, negative bullet statements. “The System is rigged.” “The media is dishonest.” My opponent is “Crooked,” to mention a few.

Rumors of Manfort’s Russian ties accompanied him from the outset. In August it became clear it was time to resign as Campaign Chairman, but not as a campaign consultant operating outside the media spotlight. It was time for Manafort to initiate Plan B. Stephen Bannon, CEO of Breitbart, and Kellyanne Conway, a former Ted Cruz supporter and Trump campaign spokesperson, took the reins from Manafort in what they falsely described as a “hostile transfer” of campaign leadership. The die had been cast thanks to Manafort. After his “stepping down”, Manafort continued his role as a campaign strategist and Russian operative.