Aaron Blake writes: The trouble Paul Manafort is in is still coming into focus. The latest development: emails he sent to a Ukraine-based employee of his consulting business talking about setting up a briefing with a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin.
The Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman, Carol D. Leonnig and Adam Entous just broke that big story, and it comes on the heels of a New York Times report this week that investigators have told Manafort they plan to indict him — apparently in hopes of getting him to flip on President Trump.
For me, though, the most intriguing email in The Post’s report is this one:
In one April exchange days after Trump named Manafort as a campaign strategist, Manafort referred to his positive press and growing reputation and asked, “How do we use to get whole?”
Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said Wednesday that the email exchanges reflected an “innocuous” effort to collect past debts.
“It’s no secret Mr. Manafort was owed money by past clients,” Maloni said.
We can argue over what’s innocuous and what’s not, but that seems to be an acknowledgment from his own spokesman that Manafort was discussing how he could leverage his status as a leading strategist on an American presidential campaign to chase down debts he was owed — i.e. to enrich himself financially. [Continue reading…]