The speculation was that Trump wanted to right his sinking campaign in light of the horrible three weeks they have suffered since the Republican National Convention.
I think there was another reason.
I believe Manafort, who was practically running the whole Trump campaign, was going to become a huge liability and like a grenade got a good toss before he blew up in their hands.
There are three reasons you can choose from for why Manafort had to go, aside from the obvious one that Trump didn't like being "handled" by the more experienced political veteran.
- Reason number one comes to us from the New York Times report on the recent revelations that Manafort's name turned up on a secret handwritten ledger in Ukraine linking him to $12.7M in undisclosed cash payments for work he did for the former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych, a staunch Vladimir Putin loyalist, was forced out of Ukraine and fled to Russia after being overthrown in 2014.
- Reason number two is a report out this morning by the AP that says Manafort helped pro-Russian forces in Ukraine secretly route $2.2 million to lobbying firms in Washington. The payments were made in 2012, “in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy.” It turns out that as all this was going on Manafort was guiding lobbying efforts in the United States to get decisions changed by the US government on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian political parties. This violates a very strict federal law that has been on the books dating back to 1938 in an effort to detect propaganda by the Germans during World World II.
- And finally, according to a report from The Times, Manafort played a key role in fomenting pro-annexation sentiments and promoting pro-Putin politicians in Crimea before the 2014 Russian invasion and occupation. The Times says that a senior Ukrainian prosecutor alleges that in 2006 Manafort orchestrated a series of anti-NATO, anti-Kiev protests in Crimea led by Paul's old boss Viktor Yanukovych’s now illegal pro-Russian Party of Regions. The protests forced planned NATO exercises there to be cancelled. Then after Manafort helped Yanukovych get elected, through state sponsored propaganda, he laid the groundwork for Russia’s annexation of the peninsula.
Pick any of those three and you've got a good reason to toss Paulie overboard.