The hint came through a review in the New York Review of Books:
On February 22, Yanukovych fled to Russia. (Two years later, his political strategist, Paul Manafort, would resurface in the US, playing the same role for Donald Trump.)
Why lookee here at this beautiful lede:
Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s palace, is impressive by the standards of Palm Beach—less so when judged against the abodes of the world’s autocrats. It doesn’t, for instance, quite compare with Mezhyhirya, the gilded estate of deposed Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych. Trump may have 33 bathrooms and three bomb shelters, but his mansion lacks a herd of ostrich, a galleon parked in a pond, and a set of golden golf clubs. Yet the two properties are linked, not just in ostentatious spirit, but by the presence of one man. Trump and Yanukovych have shared the same political brain, an operative named Paul Manafort.
Foer, Franklin. “The Quiet American: Paul Manafort made a career out of stealthily reinventing the world’s nastiest tyrants as noble defenders of freedom. Getting Donald Trump elected will be a cinch.” Slate, April 28, 2016.
And here at this disclosure:
Manafort was a principal at the lobbying firm Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly (along with another top Trump ally, Nixon alum Roger Stone), a K Street powerhouse with close ties to the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, as well as top Republicans on Capitol Hill.
But over the years, they made millions by representing a rogue’s gallery of clients far away from D.C.’s genteel corridors of power: dictators, guerilla groups, and despots with no regard for human rights—including one man responsible for mass amputations, and another who oversaw state-sanctioned rape.
Woodruff, Betsy and Tim Mak. “Top Trump Aide led the ‘Torturers’ Lobby’: Paul Manafort and the partners at his firm made a fortune repping some of the most despicable dictators of the 20th century.” The Daily Beast, April 13, 2016.
Welcome to the Age of Image.
Who is that precious vote going to — the candidate or the candidate’s handler and stage manager?
The Woodruff and Mak piece rolls around to this from Yanukovych’s election in Ukraine:
At the time of the election, Manafort had spun that Yanukovych was merely misunderstood, and that “the West has not been willing to move beyond the cold war mentality and to see this man and the outreach that he has extended.”
Recall the web site Yanukovych Leaks.
Ukrainians had developed cause for pique at the potential for the endless validation of corruption had they not risen to revolution for the rule of law.
Another gem —
That Trump would choose the Center for the National Interest as the place to premier his new seriousness on foreign policy has Manafort’s fingerprints all over it. For Manafort and the Center have something very important in common: both have ties to the Russian regime of President Vladimir Putin, (whose ambassador to the United States sat in the front row for Trump’s address).
BackChannels had gotten the sense that Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump appreciated one another as strong men but had no idea how close that molecular bond might be through the agency of a quiet but major political operator in the figure of Paul J. Manafort.
Addendum – October 24, 2016
According to The New York Post, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and ex-”core” aide Rick Gates have financial ties to a biometric security company that lobbied the Putin administration on behalf of technology that would help it spy on its own citizens.
Manafort was a major early investor for EyeLock — and owned up to 10 percent in the company, the Post reported — while Gates was an independent contractor hired to build business for them in Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
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