Indulge me as I quote myself from a post written yesterday, about that mysterious story from Trump’s very good friends at the National Enquirer accusing Manafort of having an affair.
But … why would Trump want to make an enemy of Manafort at a moment when Manafort’s in legal jeopardy and could tell the feds God knows what about Trump and his family? The only explanation that makes sense is that Trump has reason to believe that Manafort has already betrayed him and now he’s out for revenge.
Is this the betrayal that set Trump off? New from Bloomberg:
The 6 a.m. raid on Manafort’s Virginia home last month seemingly caught his legal team by surprise. It came the day after he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and after he had provided his notes to the committee.
In fact, Manafort had alerted authorities to a controversial meeting on June 9, 2016, involving Trump’s son Donald Jr., other campaign representatives and a Russian lawyer promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton, according to people familiar with the matter. The president and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were dragged into the matter as details repeatedly emerged that contradicted the initial accounts of that meeting.
A timeline of who Manafort talked to would be useful here. The NYT reported on July 11 that Jared Kushner’s legal team had uncovered the old emails between Donald Jr and Rob Goldstone, the man who arranged the meeting with the Russian lawyer, as it reviewed legal documents. CNN later specified that the discovery had been made in June. But Manafort had also remembered the meeting and shared that information: Per the Times story on the 11th, “Mr. Manafort recently mentioned the meeting to congressional investigators looking into possible collusion, according to the people briefed on the matter.”
Who remembered it first? The way the Bloomberg piece is written, with Kushner and Trump getting “dragged in” to the mess involving the Russian lawyer by Manafort, it sounds like Manafort was the first person to notify the feds that the meeting happened. That makes me wonder if Kushner’s legal team didn’t just stumble upon the Goldstone emails during routine document review but went looking for them after they found out somehow that Manafort had mentioned a meeting with Russians involving Kushner in June 2016. It may have been Manafort, who’s been under pressure by Mueller’s office to cooperate and roll over on other Russiagate wrongdoers, who set the whole Don Jr saga in motion. Which would explain why “White House insiders” and their pals at the Enquirer were eager for payback.
I’d totally forgotten, by the way, that this isn’t the first hit piece the Enquirer has run this year on a major player in Russiagate. Scarborough’s timeline is off here but otherwise he’s correct:
Again, the Enquirer accused Michael Flynn of being a Russian spy the week before Trump fired him. https://t.co/q3fRHD9rXG
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) August 10, 2017
It was in March that they accused Flynn of being a Russian spy, not February. But as it happens, news did break in late March, about a week after the Enquirer story dropped, that Flynn was seeking an immunity deal from federal prosecutors. Hmmmm. If anyone would know about Trump using the Enquirer as a hatchet against enemies, it’s Joe and Mika!