I know that by merely asking the question I’m going to get unmitigated hell on social media. But given what we know about Paul Manafort, I think it is a question that needs to be asked. Yes, let me concede up front that it then raises all sorts of other questions and concerns about the President, e.g. what’s it say about him that the Russians knew he was an easy mark.
But let’s consider the possibility anyway.
The Russians did not want Donald Trump elected. They just wanted to screw with our elections and make us hate each other. It worked. Their larger goal was to serve their own interests. They had a Podesta who could get close to Clinton, but they had a guy living in Trump Tower who could get even closer to the Republican nominee.
Yes, it does raise all sorts of other questions about the President, his team, etc., but I think we should be open to considering whether Manafort might have been working for Trump not for Trump’s interests, but for the interests of another of Manafort’s clients. Given the GOP weakening its position on Ukraine, etc., it seems like it would have been money well spent whether Trump won or lost.
And in the meantime, the Russians were able to sow lots of chaos and discord throughout the American political process.