Things happen so fast for a witch-tracker these days that even a dedicated chronicler can’t keep up with Russiagate. No sooner did the ink dry on my last tally of witches (more than 35 if you count home-grown traitors who have pled guilty, and you include indicted Ruskies) nabbed by Grand Inquisitor Robert S. Mueller III than he surpassed himself, flipping the head necromancer of the Trump Bunch, sending its members scattering like roaches at dawn. Yep, Paul Manafort, the president’s one-time campaign manager with the key to the coven caved at last; he pled guilty to defrauding the United States and witness tampering—both big-time felonies.
This sudden revelation of Manafort’s turning turncoat lifts expectations that our national humiliation at the skilled and dirty hands of Vladimir Putin can at last be understood, and perhaps put behind us, even as any and all home-grown traitors get their due. Expect nation-shaking events to be upon us before we know it.
Let’s put aside such happy thoughts for the nonce to note another minor catch in Mueller’s successful witch hunt; this one may have escaped your attention. His name is Sam Patten, an American by nationality, a D.C. blueblood by birth, a lobbyist by trade...as so many entrepreneurial Republicans are in this shady age of influence peddling.
Sam’s crimes include forgetting to register as a foreign agent for a Russian-backed Ukrainian political group and assisting, through a third party, a Russia-favoring oligarch (believed to be Serhiy Lyovochkin) in his secret and illegal purchase for $50,000 four tickets to Donald Trump’s Inauguration. (The high price was probably justified given the record crowd attending.) Patten also withheld incriminating documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee. He pled guilty to the charges, which could mean five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Who sold him those prized tickets? Konstantin V. Kilimnik (now there’s a good Irish name for you), Sam’s sometime business associate who has been charged by Mueller with obstruction of justice and has fled Ukraine into the protective arms of Mother Russia. (Oh, the stories KVK could tell if only he were in our clutches!)
But the conspiratorial coziness doesn’t end there. Patten also did work for the notorious (and now defunct) Cambridge Analytica, dirty-trick artists for sale who messed with our 2016 elections, among those of other countries near and far. And what other unsavory political fixer-for-hire did Patten work with? None other than Kilimnick’s bosom buddy and former business partner, our own convicted felon, Paul Manafort, who just flipped and agreed to tell Mueller all.
What a tangled web those witches weave when first they practice to deceive; in Russiagate those webs are so gigantic, erratic, and ensnaring, it would take an army of spiders on speed to weave. Too tough a task for wizard Mueller and his team of crack investigators to unravel? I think not. He and his skilled associates appear to be on the brink of solving most Russiagate mysteries and naming a host of witches...err, traitors. Or so I hope.
Few of us realize we are living through the greatest conspiracy in human history, with our lives and futures in the balance. As they say in Hollywood, it’s got a cast of thousands, as many thrills, and takes you all over the world.
So hang on for the existential ride of your life! (Which, of course, could be short.)