Here’s a twist that no one saw coming, but perhaps we all should have. Now that Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been arrested and is awaiting trial for various crimes, it turns out he’s also being sued – by the Russians. Even more strangely, the Russian oligarch leading the charge against Manafort is using Mueller’s indictment against Manafort as evidence in his lawsuit.
Manafort had a financial relationship with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska for several years which involved several millions of dollars. At one point Manafort disappeared with a large chunk of Deripaska’s money, prompting Deripaska to sue him. This effort was later dropped after Manafort offered to use his position as Trump’s campaign chairman to get “whole” with Deripaska. That ultimately didn’t work out, and so Deripaska wants his money after all. Manafort is not the only former Trump adviser whom the Russians are targeting.
Deripaska is also suing Manafort’s sidekick Rick Gates, according to an NBC News report (link). It’s worth pointing out that Russian oligarchs typically don’t make major decisions like this, particularly ones with international ramifications, without the approval of Russian President Vladimir Putin. So at this point we have what appears to be a Putin-backed effort to finish off two of Trump’s key campaign advisers, while relying on evidence generated in the Trump-Russia investigation.
This may help explain why Donald Trump and his remaining allies are suddenly so desperate to smear Robert Mueller and sabotage the Trump-Russia investigation. Is Trump afraid that if the probe fully exposes his own financial dalliances with Russia, it’ll lead the Russians to want their money back from him as well? Stay tuned – there may be far more to this story than just the fact that the Russians are kicking around their former favorite golden goose Paul Manafort.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report