Swamp things: The Manafort scandal dates back a long time

Drain the swamp? Trump & Co. are the Swamp Things.

Trump has made a great deal of money from political corruption, and we need not rely on a special prosecutor to make that case: Trump boasts of it: “When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.” Trump says this kind of corruption is part of being a good businessman, and many of his conservative admirers — including the quondam Savonarolas of Virtue Inc. — accept that justification eagerly. If Trump’s standards for his own conduct are loosey-goosey enough to accommodate bribery, then why would he demand anything more — or anything less — from his campaign manager?

It might be the case that Trump’s obvious soft spot for Vladimir Putin doesn’t have anything to do with the Kremlin’s monkeying around in the U.S. election, or whatever nefarious business it was that Trump-campaign operative George Papadopoulos was up to with the Russians that he felt obliged to lie to the FBI about. Instead, it might be simple professionalism, the admiring tribute one would-be oligarch pays to a much more successful one.