Manafort's Reward: Sen. Ron Johnson and the Ukraine Conspiracy Investigation: Part II - 2020-08-24
After three years of insisting that unvetted information should never form the basis for an investigation into an active presidential candidate, Republican members of the Senate would never attempt to do such a thing themselves, right?
Wrong. That is exactly what some are attempting to do in the home stretch of the 2020 election. Specifically, Senator Ron Johnson has been laying the groundwork to undertake Ukrainegate 2.0: An attempt to accomplish through a congressional hearing what President Donald Trump was unable to achieve through his quid pro quo to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, namely, to put Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, under a cloud of suspicion before the country votes this November. And rather than wait for any report voted out by his committee, Johnson has taken to penning an open letter and tweeting out insinuations.
But Ukrainegate 2.0, like the original, has a dual purpose. The goal isn't just to smear Biden, but also to shift blame for 2016 election interference to Ukraine. An architect of that false narrative about Ukraine is Paul Manafort, and the probe has accordingly served the former Trump campaign chairman's interests along numerous fronts in Ukraine politics and at home. With regard to his personal interests, Manafort is currently serving a 7 1/2-year federal sentence for bank fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, false statements, and witness tampering. Manafort has attempted to use the Ukraine's "election interference" conspiracy to discredit the evidence that led to his own prosecution.