Posts Tagged ‘Ukranians’

Needed in the Russia investigation: More skepticism of Manafort and the media (Lynch Mob Doesn’t Need a Rope, At Least Not Yet)

January 11, 2019

Don’t fall for the media “bombshells,” and never count Manafort as a friend.

The Russia-collusion story manages to be at once frenetic and humdrum. Apparent bombshell revelations arise but without advancing the public’s knowledge beyond a couple of truths we all knew back in 2016: First, when it comes to President Trump, the media can’t control itself. Second, Paul Manafort is no friend.

In perhaps the 1,000th “ bombshell” report on the Russia investigation, the New York Times reported earlier this week that Manafort, as Trump’s campaign chairman, had sent internal polling data to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who is “close to the Kremlin.”

Washington Examiner

This revelation perturbed us. Seeing how close Manafort and Michael Flynn were to both Russia and Trump, we have kept an open mind about the investigation into collusion. We don’t know all the facts, and so we try to process all new information on its merits.

Oleg Deripaska — Credit Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images

Yet while many media outlets — see Esquire, Talking Points Memo, and others — took the Times report as conclusive proof of collusion, we held our fire. Why? Because while we have tried to keep cool about this investigation, the largest media outlets have not. We recall ABC reporting that Flynn met with the Kremlin during the campaign. That was a “bombshell” of the first order. Except that it turned out to be false.

And so it was with the latest Times report. Manafort was sending the polling data to Ukranians, it turns out, not to Russians as the Times claimed.

Former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn leaves after the delay in his sentencing hearing at US District Court in Washington, DC, December 18, 2018. - President Donald Trump's former national security chief Michael Flynn received a postponement of his sentencing after an angry judge threatened to give him a stiff sentence. Russia collusion investigation head Robert Mueller had proposed Flynn receive no jail time for lying to investigators about his Moscow ties. But Judge Emmet Sullivan said Flynn had behaved in a "traitorous" manner and gave the former three-star general the option of receiving a potentially tough prison sentence now -- or wait until Mueller's investigation was closer to being completed to better demonstrate his cooperation with investigators. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images Photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP or licensors

Mike Flynn outside the courthouse

This incident confirmed both of our general operating assumptions on the Russia investigation: Don’t fall for the media “bombshells,” and never count Manafort as a friend.

Manafort went to work for the Trump campaign in the spring of 2016. Trump wasn’t paying Manafort, which should have been a clear warning sign. Manafort was free to Trump for the same reason Facebook is free to you: You are not the customer; you’re the product. Manafort was working for Ukrainian oligarchs and other shady foreign clients, and part of the value he was delivering was proximity to the Republican presidential nominee and the information, such as internal polling, that proximity allowed him.

We have repeatedly warned Trump about this. “Manafort is not your friend,” we wrote in an editorial addressed to the president. “Manafort is a shady foreign agent who tried to exploit you. And if he had never been involved in the Trump campaign, there may not be a Russia investigation at all.”

Image result for donald Trump, Trump campaign, photos

There’s some worry that Trump has considered pardoning Manafort. At the very least, we’ve seen Trump praise Manafort. This praise is unwarranted.

Trump should turn his back on this double-dealer who has caused him so much trouble. And we all should show more skepticism of the media “bombshells” that have caused commentators and other reporters so much trouble.


John McCain in Kiev: ‘Ukraine will make Europe better’

December 16, 2013

John McCain, the American senator, has told protesters in the Ukranian capital   Kiev that their country’s destiny lies with Europe – despite an EU official   saying talks with the EU were ‘on hold’

John McCain speaks during a pro-European rally on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine

John McCain speaks during a pro-European rally on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine Photo: EPA/TATYANA ZENKOVICH
Harriet Alexander

By , and Christopher Miller in Kiev

The European Union suspended all negotiations with Ukraine   on Sunday over a historic trade pact, as 200,000 converged on the main   square in Kiev to demand the government align itself to Europe rather than   Russia.

The EU’s surprise announcement came despite the large numbers that converged   on Kiev’s snowy streets aiming to put pressure on President Viktor   Yanukovich.

“Words and deeds of president and government regarding Association Agreement   further and further apart,” tweeted Stefan Fuele, EU enlargement   commissioner. “Their arguments have no grounds in reality.”

Mr Fuele said that EU officials had told Ukraine that further discussions   required a “clear commitment to sign.”

But that not being forthcoming, he said: “Work on hold, had no answer.”

The opposition to the government says that union with Russia would effectively   reconstitute the Soviet Union. They remain suspicious that Mr Yanukovich   intends to agree to the customs union when he meets Russian President   Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

The diplomatic tug of war and conflicting statements worked only to invigorate   the spirits of 200,000 protesters, however, who have been rallying daily for   over three weeks.

“We are here to join the revolution,” said Lyudmila Kostyantynivna, a   pensioner from the city of Cherkasy, three hours south of Kiev. Dancing at   the front of the crowd near the soundstage while a musical act performed,   she said she had been following coverage of the protests on the few   television channels showing it for the past weeks, but decided to come out   this weekend after encouragement from her friends, who were with her.

“It is not only for young people, but us, too,” she said. “We have a criminal   for a president, and a government that takes, takes, takes, and leaves us –    the people – with nothing.”

By noon, Kiev’s Independence Square teemed with people from as far as the   western Ukrainian city of Lvov and the eastern industrial city of Luhansk.   They poured out from the metro exits and spilt onto the city’s main   boulevard, Khreschatyk, chanting: “Out with the gang!” and “Glory to   Ukraine!”

Led by opposition leaders, the crowd, waving EU and Ukrainian flags, sang the   country’s anthem.

Igor Rudenko, a 25-year-old businessman, said he wanted the government to sign   the Association Agreement with the EU, and not seek closer ties with Russia.

“We had a very unstable political and economic situation, made worse by not   signing the association agreement,” he said. “So I am out here to demand   that our country is taken to the EU.”

“The EU’s influence can make our country better, more confident and more   competitive in the world economy.”

His words were echoed by John McCain, the American senator, who arrived in   Kiev on Saturday to support the anti-government protesters.

“To all Ukraine, America stands with you,” he called out to the cheering crowd   in Independence Square.

“The free world is with you, America is with you, I am with you. Ukraine will   make Europe better and Europe will make Ukraine better.”

A much smaller rally of government supporters, numbering around 15,000 people,   was taking place about a mile away at Kiev’s Mariinsky Park. Dozens of   police in riot gear separated the two groups.

And despite Mr Fuele’s comments, the protesters were given a glimmer of hope   by Carl Bildt, Sweden’s foreign minister and a strong proponent of Ukraine’s   integration.

“The door is wide open for Ukraine to sign association and free trade   agreement with EU,” he tweeted. “It’s ready. Any time.”