This is a guest post by ‘Jason Garik‘. I don’t particularly disagree with what he writes, and in fact we discussed a draft or two, but it’s his work not mine. Take it away Jason…
(Update: see the youtube video at the bottom for a similar but swearier take)

In the past few days, we’ve seen an uptick in the Trump/Russia story and the Mueller investigation. The latter has zeroed in on Paul Manafort, who for a while was Trump’s campaign manager during the election last year. Manafort’s credited in part with turning Trump’s campaign into a more streamlined and professional operation. Trump fired Manafort when his Russian ties became too much for Trump’s campaign to deal with. That being said, because they have nothing on anyone else on Team Trump, the Mueller investigation has tried to shift as much of its focus on Manafort to simply get any conviction that they possibly can. And then the news about the FBI wiretaps on Manafort were revealed, and it upended everything.

Mueller’s acting as though the wiretapping news is a good thing for him. Frankly, it isn’t. The Manafort wiretapping has a lot of holes in it. Let me unravel them.

A. We have no actual evidence that Manafort did anything “wrong” in regard to his Ukrainian activities. We have no evidence that he was innocent, either. But the media (and their complicit and friendly intel agents) wants us to think that the only possible viewpoint is that he’s a bad guy. This assumption is coloring the media’s entire narrative on him. It’s veering into wishful thinking territory. If it’s too good to be true, it is too good to be true.

B. Until further evidence, it looks like the feds had Manafort under surveillance twice. We don’t know when the second time started (sometime in 2016 and it ended in early 2017), but we do know that he was surveilled in 2014, and the feds stopped that surveillance because they had nothing, and it was a waste of manpower and resources. Why, after having nothing in the first place, did they restart/renew the surveillance? “We don’t like Manafort” doesn’t give them legal power to screw around just because they feel like it. Methinks they used the Fake Russian Dossier™ to go judge-shopping for an idiot who can be a legal rubber stamp, and that got them the warrants to surveil Manafort (again). And they probably used the same Fake Russian Dossier™ to get illegal warrants and surveillance of other Trump figures last year.

C. Manafort has publicly stated that the feds can release the information from the wiretaps and he has nothing to hide. Considering that the feds stopped tapping him at some point, this probably means he’s calling their bluff. It’s not a good look for the feds, and it doesn’t look like Manafort has something to hide.

D. Look at this from Manafort’s side. Why the hell would he be gallivanting around saying “Russia! Russia! Russia!” for the feds to maaaaaagically listen in on him? It’s too fucking cute, and too amateur hour from a guy who’s been working in the game as long as he has. Also, the John Podesta- a Clinton consigliere- also worked as an advisor with many of the same Russian/Ukrainian figures. Why aren’t the feds checking him out?

E. The feds have admitted that much of their Manafort information (such as it is) comes from pro-western Ukrainian sources, much of which are not trustworthy or reliable. Their job is to tell the Americans that the pro-Russian Ukrainian side are bad guys, and they’ll make the information fit the narrative. They are not disinterested observers and intelligence gatherers. They want to believe- or at least want the American intel agencies and feds to believe. Anyone who bought their information without serious reservations should be fired from the government tomorrow.

F. Does anyone remember that the feds said that no one in the Trump campaign or Trump Tower were wiretapped? Well, they lied. Manafort was wiretapped, and likely others in the Trump inner circle were also tapped. I don’t buy the feds’ explanations for this one bit- especially after they lied and said there were “no wiretappings.” Everything they’re saying now about Manafort and the wiretaps should be suspect. This includes the “news that “sources say” Manafort tried to contact business friends on behalf of Trump. If so, why no charges? Why leak that to the press? I think they’re leaking because they got out-scooped on the Manafort wiretap reveal and are desperately trying to cover their bitch asses. The “reveal” from Mueller’s camp about Manafort’s communiques just reads as too clever for its own good. It’s a smokescreen to hide the real problems (there was no need for a wiretap/Mueller’s got nothing). And that leads me to the next point:

G. Mueller has been signally that he’ll indict Manafort on charges. A few problems with that:
1. It looks like he’ll charge him for tax evasion, which is going to be hard to prove in court, and I doubt Manafort faces any jail time for it.
2. The tax evasion stuff is dodgy and has no bearing on the wiretaps. It’s like they’re trying to hide the fact that the wiretaps gave them absolutely fuck-nothing.
3. Tax evasion doesn’t prove any Russia! Russia! Russia! ties. It’s what special investigations do when they can’t “get” anything big and just settle on any little conviction they can manage.

Bottom line, I’m not convinced that Manafort is a good or bad guy. He might be playing multiple intelligence games, or doing nothing sinister at all. I am, however, convinced that the media wants him to be portrayed as the evil mastermind behind Trump and Putin, and they’re trying to use this to discredit Trump. It’s too cartoonish and reeks of desperation. It reads as though someone like Ben Rhodes (in the Obama Administration) threw this together 2 or 3 days after the election, because no one on Team Obama saw Trump winning. They’re just hoping the media will just buy into it long enough to distract everyone from the real problems within the Democratic Party and Trump’s successful GOP agenda.

It’s looking more and more like the real story is that the Obama Admin spied on Team Trump during the election (and probably other GOP candidates) to try to throw the election for Hillary. And their cover stories are unraveling, and the small pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that we have in place are bad enough. More information will come out, and I don’t think that Mueller, Comey’s FBI, or Team Obama will be happy to see it come to light. What happens if we find out that not only were they wiretapping Manafort, but they also wiretapped Kelly-Anne Conway? Or Pence? The other shoe will drop, and it will make Mueller’s dissembling on Manafort look like the cheap stunt that it is. And the entire Democratic establishment will start circling the wagons.