Russia Monitor: Trump Pal Manafort Follows 2,000 Innocent Children Into Jail

“I call this a concentration camp for kids because that’s exactly what it’s turning out to.”

— Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, 6/15/18 MSNBC Live with Stephanie Rule


By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (6/18/18)

Dear Fellow Readers,

There is an evil man who presumes to have powers above the law, he believes he can do whatever he wants without consequence, he believes he can punish as he sees fit. Yet somehow, be it DACA or anything related to his Wall – he presents himself as weak and incapable to change the ugly, punitive policies he enacts.

‘Your kids could be next’

Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele calls the facilities being set up to house immigrant children separate from their parents “concentration camps.”

Here is the full comment from Steele

“And a policy that has been invoked by the President of the United States and dictated to his attorney general, who goes out and quotes the Bible – by the way, a passage that was used to justify slavery in this country – to justify encamping children. I call this a concentration camp for kids because that’s exactly what it’s turning out to. When you give kids 22 hours of lockup time and two hours of air time, what else can it be? And if this is where this country is going, the American people need to wake up and pay attention. Because your kids could be next.”

While an estimated 2,000 children are now housed in these facilities, with 50 more added each day, not everyone is disgusted by the actions Trump et al have taken in our name. 43 U.S. Senators have signed on to legislation proposed by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Keep Families Together. Not a single Russpublican has signed on.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) Ignores ‘Concentration Camps’ While Wishing Himself Happy Fathers Day

As columnist and author Dave Barry says, “We’re not making this up.”

Completely missing the irony — akin to Trump announcing an inane comment was a joke after the fact — here’s from Ryan’s callous tweet from Saturday.

My life changed the day I became a father. Liza, Charlie, and Sam are my highest priority. Wishing all of the dads out there a happy early #FathersDay


What we are becoming

News from the border regions grew increasingly grim throughout the week: ‘America is better than this’: What a doctor saw in a Texas shelter for migrant children.

May this be Trump’s Katrina moment, or does he lie and shock his way past this like every other time. We chose this article because it includes what we hope is the iconic image of Trump’s Regime, and will forever be linked to his administration’s citing the Bible to defend his grotesque and uniquely un-Christian policy of breaking up families and blaming migrant parents.

““The really devastating thing was that we all knew what was going on with this child. We all knew what the problem was,” Kraft said. “She didn’t have her mother, and none of us can fix that.”

“The girl had been taken from her mother the night before and brought to this shelter that had been redecorated for children under age 12, Kraft said staffers told her.”

It’s called ‘lying’

Trump was purportedly stumped by a question, “but you have the power to end this?” That entirely misses the point: Trump Again Falsely Blames Democrats for His Separation Policy.

You have to love how timid the New York Times continues to be in the face of escalating Trump outrages:

“President Trump on Saturday repeated his false assertion that Democrats were responsible for his administration’s policy of separating migrant families apprehended at the border, sticking to a weekslong refusal to publicly accept responsibility for a widely condemned practice that has become a symbol of his crackdown on illegal immigration.

“Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!” Mr. Trump said in a morning post on Twitter.

“It came the day after his administration said that it had taken nearly 2,000 children away from their parents in a six-week period ending last month, as part of a new “zero tolerance” policy that refers for criminal prosecution all immigrants apprehended crossing the border without authorization.”

However Trump waves his hands about law and Democrats and whatever else – he is lying. He is singularly negotiating his border wall and there is no amount of pain and suffering he will not impose upon the innocent to get his way.

Disgusting how people will sink this low – and likely lower.

Some good news!

It’s hard to call this good news by comparison, but it is important, Trump’s campaign manager is off to jail: Let’s Not Forget The President*’s Former Campaign Manager Is In Jail.

The subhead to columnist Charles Pierce’s column lays the issue bare: Paul Manafort stands accused of, among other things, conspiracy against the United States.

Oddly, Trump, Sessions, Sanders, the White House did not cite Manafort being sent to jail as a biblical imperative to enforce the law. Just the opposite as Trump and his pundits decry with outrage and confusion. But Manafort is in jail, and for good reason.

“This is the first of what will be periodic reminders that the guy who was the manager of the successful 2016 campaign for President of the United States is now in fcking jail for tampering with witnesses in the investigation of his having committed “crimes against the United States.””

Crimes against the United States. While Trump mumbles about pardons.


You would call this a ‘lie’ as well

A few days ago Trump was asked if he dictated Donnie Jr.’s “misleading Trump Tower meeting statement. His response?

“Let’s not talk about it. You know what that is? It’s irrelevant. It’s a statement to the New York Times … It’s not a statement to a high tribunal of judges.”

Trump’s lawyers agree that Trump wrote the misleading statement – the lie – about the purpose of Donnie Jr.’s meeting with Russians to get dirt on Hillary. Trump says, so what? So what, he lied. ‘So what’ about anything that is not his latest shiny object.

Everyone knows Trump lies relentlessly – the only difference is whether we care that he lies or care about what he is lying about.


And then there is this: If Michael Cohen Isn’t Singing for the Feds Yet, He’s A Fool.

Over at Fox News they are gearing up: Meanwhile, Sean Hannity prepares for one last attack on Robert Mueller’s credibility.

Trump’s lawyer is out of both money and favor with Trump as he’s heading for relegation as just another nettlesome “coffee boy”. And Trump is warning us not to believe anything Cohen might say, just in case. 

As the Washington Post noted, things do not look good for Cohen as Trump distances himself.

Esquire’s Pierce notes:

“If Cohen hasn’t begun to sing for the Feds at this point, he’s a fool. If he’s stonewalling because he’s confident of a pardon at some point down the line, he’s a colossal fool, especially since the president* has made quite clear that Cohen is out there treading water in the deep blue alone. There is now a sense of growing momentum in the coverage of the Mueller investigation.”

Pierce turns his attention to how pundits will deflect, but closes with this calming picture.

“And, through it all, Robert Mueller will reach across his desk and pick up another file folder.”


Trump’s former campaign manager is in jail. His lawyer may be there soon. Trump legal adviser Rudy Giuliani called for the end of the Mueller investigation on Thursday, even threatening Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III saying they “have a chance to redeem themselves and that chance comes about tomorrow.” 

Maybe this is a good time to mark Mueller’s progress to date: 

  • Manafort has been jailed during an ongoing investigation of charges against him
  • Former Trump campaign deputy chair Rick Gates was indicted and pleaded guilty
  • Manafort associate, purported Russian spy, Konstantin Kilimnik charged
  • Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty
  • Former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty
  • Lawyer Alex van der Zwaan pleaded guilty
  • Russian hacker Richard Pinedo pleaded guilty
  • Russian companies (3) and Russian nationals (13) indicted
  • Cohen…


Oh, the irony of it all…

While the Mueller investigation continues, there are moments of irony worthy of consideration. This from July 2016: Trump Campaign Chief Defends ‘lock her up’ Convention Chant.

As the article subhead noted: The refrain, criticized in the media as “extra-judicial,” reflects the thoughts of many Americans, Paul Manafort said Wednesday.

“Manafort said Wednesday morning that Christie’s address at the Republican National Convention prompted the response, and added that it represents the concern that the justice system works differently for the rich and powerful than it does for average Americans.”

And, ironically, Trump now makes that claim: As the president, whatever he does cannot be illegal. Trump claims justice is different – for him.

One more point to make about Manafort, he wasn’t selected as Trump campaign manager because of his previous work in U.S. politics, Manafort was chosen because he had run the Russian playbook in Ukraine politics: Former Trump Aide Approved ‘black ops’ To Help Ukraine President.

Just to be clear, what we are talking about here, the Guardian article notes: Paul Manafort authorised secret media operation that sought to discredit key opponent of then Ukrainian president.

Luke Harding, author of Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, outlines the art of politics through Russian influence, which is at the heart of charges brought by Mueller against Manafort. The number of parallels between Manafort’s political history in Ukraine and the U.S. are stunning. But with one important difference, in Ukraine Manafort succeeded with ‘Lock Her Up’, he did get political foe Yulia Tymoshenko arrested and charged:

“The documents reveal another surreptitious operation to influence international opinion. In 2010 Yanukovych defeated his rival Yulia Tymoshenko in presidential elections. The following summer Ukrainian prosecutors arrested Tymoshenko and put her on trial. This provoked severe criticism from the Obama administration and the EU, which accused Yanukovych of locking up Tymoshenko for political reasons.”

Manafort continued a campaign to discredit Tymoshenko including reaching out to political figures in Europe which are linked to witness tampering charges that contributed to the jailing of Manafort. Manafort also reached out to U.S. politicians like Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and newly reported, Senator Jim Risch (R-ID)

It is no surprise to see Russpublicans accepting money for influence in Trump’s culture of corruption, graft and pay-to-play.


Russian influence on the EU vote

The parallels between Trump, Manafort and Ukraine are the same as the parallels between Trump, Brexit and Leave.EU champions like Nigel Farage and Arron Banks. We won’t develop this thread too deeply, but note that the Guardian has done a great series of articles on this for further reading: Arron Banks, Brexit And The Russia Connection.

As the Guardian reporting revealed: An 18-month investigation leads to a trail of new evidence showing the ‘bad boys of Brexit’ had closer links to Russia and its ambassador than they have disclosed.

Early in the Leave/Remain Brexit campaigns the wealth behind the Leave.EUcampaign, Arron Banks issued a press release which is now held up against news that shows meetings between Leave.EU and Russians. The meetings are not disputed:

“The press release said it showed Russia “being dragged into the domestic debate on Brexit” as part of a “wicked Russia thesis”. Written more in the language of a slighted lover than a nation state, it claimed that “this was “unfair”, and the government needed to “explain itself”. “We wouldn’t have dwelt on it,” it said, had the British government not alluded to the Russian threat “at every opportunity”. The Leave.EU team appeared to think so, too. A message from an employee to Banks and Andy Wigmore, Leave.EU’s press spokesman and Banks’s business partner, sent on the same day – 11 March 2016 – says: “Pretty strong stuff from the Russian embassy! Risky area but this might possibly be worth using for a tile?” (A “tile” is an image that they could use in social media messaging, on Twitter or other platforms.)

“Last week, the Observer published details of multiple meetings between Banks and Wigmore and the Russian embassy, the details of which they confirmed when they passed the original emails to the Sunday Times in order to try to scoop us. The documents seen by the Observer suggest Banks replies: “I think we should – let’s draft a press release in response to the Russian letter.””

Those admissions are minor compared to more recent charges of misleading statements to Parliament and passing of confidential documents to the Russian embassy. 

Leave.EU forwarded some of the confidential documents to a Russian contact with the message, “Have fun with this”. Sounds suspiciously like Donnie Jr. saying, “I love it”, when offered a meeting with Russians to receive dirt on Hillary.


Paul Manafort = Evidence of Collusion

Trump lies constantly. Trump offers that Manafort, the ‘coffee boy’ who ran his campaign, someone he’s known for thirty years, and lived in Trump Tower for much of that – only worked on his campaign for 49 days. It was actually 144 days. 

The problem with Trump lies is there are so many and correcting one means there is a pile of new ones already piled high for public consumption. And correcting one lie seems, well … trivial.

But it is all part of Trump’s defense.

Manafort is now in jail. Cohen may be heading there as well. Trump’s defenders will downplay Manafort’s role while claiming bias by whomever/whichever. Call it all a witch hunt, or deep state efforts to ‘get’ Trump. There is a BIGLY laundry list of charges against Manafort, now including witness tampering. Even specific to Trump campaign collusion with Russia, it’s an easy case to make. 

Trump supporters and Russpublicans will have no interest in understanding the case against Manafort or the one against Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. Russpublicans will not want to better understand the parallels of Russian influence leading up to the Brexit vote in the U.K. or corruption and politics in Ukraine.

Trump is no longer shy about his support for Russia. He’s talking about Putin visiting the White House soon, he’s floated an invite for Putin to rejoin the G8. Russia Today (RT) proudly announces that Trump has declared that Crimea is part of Russia.

That Trump is a liar goes without saying. That Trump corruptly allows Russia to guide U.S. policy is the new reference point.

Trump only cares about himself. He will cause pain and suffering and lie about it to suit his desires – 2,000 children taken from their parents and warehoused on the U.S. border. Don’t let anyone bullshit you and tell you it’s the law – it’s not. It’s a new invention by Trump/Sessions/Miller.

Trump only cares about himself and that must be giving Manafort and Cohen a good deal of heartburn. 

And through it all, not a single Russpublican makes a serious effort to counter any of it.