On the heels of the stunning news that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort offered “private briefings” on the 2016 campaign to a Russian billionaire, Rachel Maddow asked one question surrounding Manafort’s activities that could determine the fate of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Channeling Manafort in order to determine why he offered these private meetings, Maddow asked, “How can I use my newfound fame and my political power in this presidential campaign to pay off my debt that I owe to my eastern European contacts?”
“What could I do for them with this presidential campaign that might make them forgive my debt?” Maddow added, continuing to speculate what Manafort may have been thinking during last year’s campaign.
— Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) September 21, 2017
This all started with what looked like a small ball report on a bizarre and out-of-the-blue, nonmaterially consequential political oddity inside a back room at the Republican National Convention. It has ended, as of today, with news that the Trump campaign, at the highest level, was making contact with powerful Russian interests close to Vladimir Putin and offering them exclusive, private access to the campaign in a way that implied that some sort of exchange might be expected for providing that access. Oh.
In other words, as Maddow alluded to, Paul Manafort may have given these government-connected Russian interests a foot into the campaign in exchange for, say, Russia’s assistance in defeating Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.
Either way, this high-level private access seemed to be a way for Manafort to settle his debt with Russian interests.
If that was the case, it could certainly result in legal consequences for Manafort, but it could also spell the beginning of the end for Trump’s presidency, especially if the president was in the know.
With Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation continuing to zero in on Manafort’s shady activities – and on Trump’s own actions as president – this story is far from over.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.