We’ve seen a series of significant articles on the Trump/Russia front over the last 24 hours. CNN has reported that the FBI has detained and/or searched the communications devices of more than one Russian oligarch as they transited through the US looking for information about possible money transfers to the Trump campaign. The Times has reported that George Nader, the international fixer who arranged the Trump/Russia rendezvous in the Seychelles in January 2017 does not only have deep ties to the United Arab Emirates but to Russia as well. But it’s this article just out from The Guardian I want to focus on. It adds another piece of the puzzle about Paul Manafort’s role in the 2016 Trump campaign and the mystery of just who sent him.
The gist of the article is that between 2011 and 2013 Paul Manafort organized and okayed what one of the operatives referred to as a “black ops” campaign in the U.S. on behalf of Ukraine’s Russia-aligned President Victor Yanukovich. The details here are key. This was during a window of time when Yanukovich was still trying to build ties with the EU. Later, he dropped the EU effort and signed a deal putting him in a firmer alliance with the Kremlin. The campaign involved damaging the reputation of another top Ukrainian politician named Yulia Tymoshenko. Yanukovich had just defeated her in the presidential election and then had her charged and jailed for various crimes in what was widely seen as a political prosecution. The effort was to destroy her reputation.