Starting in 2005 and for the next 10 years, Paul Manafort worked as a political consultant for a guy named Viktor Yanukovich, the Ukraine’s former prime minister. Yanukovych is a bad guy, a Vladimir Putin ally and a triple word score in Scrabble.
Among the allegations in the 12-count indictment against Manafort, is that he hid portions of the money he got from the Ukraine from Uncle Sam in off shore accounts and didn’t pay tax on it.
Now, you need to understand that Manafort is loved and considered some kind of genius by the supporters of this guy Yanukovich - because even though Yanukovich was a thug, and didn’t speak well, he got Yanukovich elected Prime Minister by giving him advice like: wear a suit, stay on message, act less like a thug and regularly tweet the phrase: “Lock her up” – even though his opponent was NOT a woman.
So, Yanukovych is Prime Minister for a few years. THEN: In 2014, there’s a big popular uprising in the Ukraine and the people overthrow Yanukovych’s government because they realize they elected John Gotti… not John Stamos.
OK. – so big picture: Manafort spent 10 years working with and taking money from a Ukrainian political party and oligarchs who are friendly and sympathetic to Vladimir Putin and Russia. But, for the last 3 years, the Ukrainian gov’t has been leaning towards improved ties with both NATO and the European Union… against the wishes of Vladimir Putin.
(You can watch the episode of Be Less Stupid, if you prefer...)
Cut to: March 29, 2016. That’s when Paul Manafort joins Trump’s campaign. 6 Weeks later, Manafort is made Campaign Chairman. 2 Months later, it’s the Republican Convention.
And just before the Republican convention, something odd happened that no one could have expected. And no, I don’t mean Sean Hannity said something nice about a Mexican… nor did Hannity suddenly extricate his grotesquely large head from up Trump’s ample ass.
No, what happened is this: A few days before the Republican convention, the Trump team made just one change to the party’s platform – it’s a 66 page document – with two columns per page. It’s a kind of blue print for what the party believes. Anti-abortion, less taxes, more guns. Think of it like the Republican party bible – only instead of turning loaves into fishes for poor people, Jesus takes away their health care.
Anyway – Trump’s team wants to make just one change to this 66 page document: They now want to support gay marriage.
The one thing they change is the wording of the GOP’s support for the people of the Ukraine. Who, when we last left them, had overthrown their douche-bag dictator and were now supporting NATO and the European Union while simultaneously fighting the Russians who had invaded their country and annexed the Crimea in Ukraine’s southern region.
So, this platform – before Trump’s team changes it originally calls for the Republicans to support “ARMING” Ukrainian rebels with lethal weapons to fight back against Russia.
Then, after the Trump team made their change, the language read: the GOP would support providing Ukrainian rebels with “appropriate assistance.”
So, it went from “Arming Ukraine” to providing “appropriate assistance.”
It’s like the difference between taking a guy who just slashed his arm with a chainsaw – it’s gushing blood and his bone is exposed like after you gnaw the meat off a chicken wing- and instead of taking him to the Emergency room… you tell him to kick some dirt on it, man up and to walk it off.
So, how does softening the language in the GOP platform on assistance to the rebels in the Ukraine help Russia? Why does it matter if we help or don’t help them?
Well, there’s a few reasons:
1. There are LARGE untapped fields of natural gas in the Crimea… and Russia wants that gas. You see, right now, Russia provides Europe with the largest percentage of their natural gas…and if the Ukraine is able to monetize their gas, Ukraine would become competition to the Russians – so the Russians would make LESS money.
2. Russia needs to maintain their image as a military and political leader in the region – The Russians believe that if America believes the Russians are determined to expand their territory into more of Europe, then Russia will have leverage and can exact concessions in other areas like trade.
3. By limiting Europe’s access to the Ukraine, it prevents NATO from having a staging area on the Russian border should they ever think about invading Russia.
4. And perhaps most importantly, as the Ukraine points its sails west to alliances with the US, Nato and the European Union, it continues to foment anti-Russia sentiment among its people …and Putin is deathly afraid of that revolutionary fever becoming viral and infecting the people of Moscow and St. Petersburg… which could lead to worker strikes, demonstrations, violence and perhaps the overthrow of Putin’s regime.
So, here’s the collusion: Trump goes soft on helping the people of the Ukraine fight Russian influence.
Sessions, Kushner, Flynn, Manafort, Carter Page all secretly promise Russian envoys, lawyers and Ambassadors who all directly report to Putin, to reduce the severity and or remove Obama era sanctions during a Trump tower meeting… and at the Mayflower hotel…
…AND in exchange, the Russians agree to manipulate social media and get trump elected President.
Ta-Dah! There’s your collusion!
Jon Hotchkiss is the host of Be Less Stupid and a 14 time Emmy loser. You can see more of Be Less Stupid by liking the Facebook page.