In early April, Ted Cruz was mounting a ground campaign winning delegates, despite popular votes, threatening Donald trump’s march to convention. Donald’s messaging was, as usual random and not centered, his behavior was erratic and Republican leadership was openly bothered at the prospect of his winning the nomination. So, trump brought on an old friend of old faces, a homme de nuit, Paul Manafort to manage the run-up to and any possible contested convention that may occur.

 

By mid-May, as the prospect of such a convention began to wane, Manafort was named Campaign Chairman. In June, he wrestled the job of Campaign Manager from Corey Lewandowski, closing the circle tight around the candidate. In the two months since, trump has succeeded in absorbing the RNC apparatus, and the devotion of even reluctant party operatives, rebranding himself as the anti-Clinton – a convincing argument for the many who have convinced themselves that Hillary Clinton is the political equivalent to Doomsday, the greatest villain of them all. To this point, trump recently blathered to a hesitant audience that Republicans “have no choice. Sorry, sorry, sorry.”

 

As the fixer now running a campaign, Manafort managed to get the GOP to bow before trump and his registered-Democrat family. Perhaps it was a party-saving move. But it isn’t a reach to assume it was also to save face – that Manafort likely has safety deposit boxes full of dirt on every politician in his 40 years in Washington politics.

The man doesn’t hide that he plays the card tables across the globe. His digital rolodex swerves the topographical surface of earth from French presidential candidates and African rebel force commanders to Ukrainian oligarchs and American senators. He doesn’t just rub shoulders with dictators and arms dealers, or lobby on behalf of Saudi princes, he runs PR for their organizations – when he’s not fraternizing with them. Think: Olivia Pope with a black hat – the Lord of War, and masseuse of criminal legacies. This is the master of Donald trump’s machine today.

 

He has helped garner government support for dictatorial regimes and steered hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to rebel forces engaging in battle. It is debatable whether the Angolan civil war was continued because of Manafort’s lobbying for rebel support, or if his bait and switch games with dictators is tantamount to enabling the hands of violent men. But when it walks and quacks like a duck, it’s often something you don’t want to admit.

 

Yes, his activities have directly crossed paths with the world’s most powerful, and he’s stood a phone call away from battlefields and flesh.

 

Who better to hire for his ambitious coup, than Paul Manafort? Donald trump is an unstable and dangerous man (I am told I need to say “allegedly” to avoid typical litigation), but securing 1/3 of the Republican electorate was only part of his strategy – he needed someone with the reach of Jack Abramoff and the dirt-collecting skills of a J Edgar Hoover. In Manafort, he secured the brain behind the triumvirate that once ran a virtual monopoly on the entire 1988 Republican primary under one agency roof, with Roger Stone, Charles Black and Lee Atwater representing Jack Kemp, Bob Dole and George Bush. Oh, and Manafort also produced several conventions for the RNC as well over the years.

 

But this activity is Oedipal love compared to his relationships overseas, and a trail of circumstantial evidence that begs more questions than can be answered. Perhaps some don’t want answers. But while my venerable Republican Party rubs an ivory sludge all over its face in deference to the populism of our modern-day George Wallace, recent converts and defenders are painting Hillary Clinton as the lady in blood red. But, trump’s power circle is the one within a speed dial of the world’s most murderous dictators and arms dealers.

 

Manafort’s firm has earned the nom de guerre, “The Torturer’s Lobby,” for it’s ties, and even direct relationships with some of the worst power-hungry people on the planet.

 

This is not hyperbole. It’s just overshadowed by a web of control on both the media and power figures he’s helped move through the ranks. Senators owe him favors, but so does Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippine dictator who ruled his country under martial law while stealing billions for his own family. Before taking over trump’s campaign, his most recent resume-builder was to restore Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian president accused of police torture for dissidents and censorship of the media. Yanukovych is currently wanted by Interpol for embezzlement and other crimes against his country. It seems Manafort has a strong nose for being in the right place at the right time, getting between strongmen and their illegally acquired billions.

 

He was also named a player in the Karachi Affair, a French scandal investigation that tied the sale of submarines to Pakistan around funds used in a French election. Manfort’s name was all over the investigation. The sale was facilitated by a Manafort client, Abdul Rahman al-Assir, a Lebanese arms dealer who paid Manafort $90,000 to advise Eduoard Balladur’s presidential campaign. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tie the two ends.

 

When an opposition team recently attempted to build an oppo file on him and these kinds of activities, their networks were mysteriously hacked by foreign entities. Just a coincidence…

 

Now, when the Democratic National Committee email server is broken into by what appears to be Russian hackers, it’s nearly impossible to dismiss the gray line that exists between Washington’s ultimate fixer and political events in the United States. Just a coincidence…

 

I have long despised tinfoil conspiracies and infowars hype (sorry, I repeat myself), but sometimes, correlation and circumstantial evidence is anything but pure coincidence. No one benefited more from the DNC hack than Donald trump. If proved to be of Russian origin, no greater motivation exists for such a hack other than being part of the network Manafort and his team built over the years. Never mind that trump’s development debt to Russian interests is mounting and well-documented. To wit, I sense domestic encouragement for these foreign breaches of security.

 

“The greatest evil today is indifference. To know and not to act is a way of consenting to these injustices. The planet has become a very small place. What happens in other countries affects us.” – Elie Wiesel

 

Paul Manafort is the master of working that last point into personal wealth. My only question is how many ethical lines are crossed, governments destroyed and lives taken by those he’s “consulted?” Is it off base to associate his crown jewel, Donald trump to the past that brought him here? The personality profiles of his employers are almost identical. Hillary gets the business for being tied to one scandal and suspicious death after another in her rise to power – will conservatives wake up and avoid creating a villain of their own?