Just because former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort is a convicted felon serving years behind bars for committing a host of crimes does not mean he’s missing out on all the excitement happening in Washington D.C. these days. According to a new report in the Washington Post, he’s been directly involved in at least one aspect of the questionable goings-on that have led to the Democrats’ ongoing impeachment inquiry: Trump’s personal attorney and dedicated fuck-up Rudy Giuliani’s work in Ukraine.
Giuliani has reportedly been consulting with Manafort about a conservative conspiracy theory linking Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee with nefarious Ukrainian forces he claims bolstered Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. And who better to consult with on nefarious Ukrainian political forces than Manafort, a man convicted on charges stemming from his efforts to hide money earned in part through his consultancy work in Ukraine?
At issue is Manafort’s “black book,” which the New York Times reported in 2016 contained evidence of off-the-books payments to Manafort for his work boosting then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Giuliani believed the book might contain information on Ukrainian efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections by supporting the Clinton campaign, and would therefore play into the administration’s ongoing effort to discredit former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“I believed there was a lot of evidence that the [Democratic National Committee] and the Clinton campaign had a close connection to Ukrainian officials,” Giuliani told the Post.
“I said, ‘Was there really a black book? If there wasn’t, I really need to know. Please tell him I’ve got to know,’” Giuliani continued, noting that he was only able to contact Manafort through his attorney. “He came back and said there wasn’t a black book.”
Trump and Giuliani’s trafficking in unfounded Ukrainian conspiracy theories—particularly surrounding former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter—is one of the cornerstones of the growing impeachment effort by congressional Democrats.