Manafort indictment comes as 'big surprise'

Photo courtesy of The Associated Press.

Ex-Trump campaign manager indicted on suspicions of fraud.

Those who responded with awe to Paul Manafort’s indictment clearly haven’t been paying attention to the news.


After fading from the public view in the 1970s, Manafort re-emerged in the Ukraine in 2005, where he worked with a Ukrainian billionaire who wanted to boost his image and company profits.


This billionaire “was a supporter of Viktor Yanukovych, the prime minister of Ukraine and an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” said Amber Phillips, reporter for The Washington Post.


Yanukovych came up short in a presidential election, where he was accused of “fraud, the poisoning of the pro-Western opposition leader, [that resulted in] a court ruling invalidating Yanukovych’s win,” said Phillips. Yanukovych turned to Manafort for a public-image makeover. Yanukovych won the election in 2010 but fled to Russia due to protests occurring in the region. However, even though Yanukovych left the country, Manafort stayed and worked with government officials in an effort to influence the politics of the country.


While most of this might sound slightly suspicious at best, the New York Times reported in 2016 that Manafort’s “name is listed on secret ledgers in the country as being owed $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments from Yanukovych’s party.” Numerous additional accusations have been brought against Yanukovych and Manafort, all of which seem to be finally coming to a head in light of Manafort’s indictment.


As a result, Manafort has been more concretely tied to Russia, especially with his ties to George Papadopoulos. This begs the question: why is everyone surprised?


The summation of accusations and questionable activities on behalf of Manafort and his associates provided here does little to even scrape the surface of Manafort’s complicated history in the public – and not so public – sphere. This has been going on for years.


Although only for a short time, President Trump selected this man to be his campaign manager. Despite Manafort’s obvious ties to Russia and a corrupt, Russian-sympathizer in the Ukraine, this man had access to the president of the United States for nearly half a year. It took almost six months for people to realize how inappropriate and risky it was to have Manafort on staff.


If this situation teaches Americans anything, it’s the importance of vigilance and critical assessment of those in power and of those with connections to government leaders. It’s time to pay attention.


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