Question of the Day: Why Did Paul Manafort Agree to Become Trump’s Campaign Manager?

As a side note on the Manafort indictment, this is yet another example of the peculiar arrogance of powerful men in Washington. The poster child for this has long been Gary Hart, who famously dared reporters to follow him around when he was suspected of having an affair with Donna Rice. That ended badly.

And now we have Paul Manafort. According to today’s indictment, he spent years engaged in a wide-ranging scheme of money laundering to the tune of $75 million. If you’ve done something like this, your best lifestyle choice is to stay very, very quiet. Attract no attention. Stay as far away as possible from reporters and FBI agents.

So what does Manafort do? He signs on as campaign manager for the biggest, loudest, brassiest presidential campaign in recent history. Practically his first actions were related to defending Russia for a candidate who was already suspected of being a little too simpatico with Vladimir Putin. He was almost literally daring reporters to investigate him.

Why? Do people like this figure that if they’ve gotten away with something for years, they’ll get away with it forever? Are they so smitten with their own brilliance that they can barely conceive of being outwitted by anyone else? Do they just not think at all? It is a mystery.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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