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Chapter 10
April 2, 2017

Manafort Destiny

"Mister President!" "Mister President!" "Mister President!"

"Yeah. You. In the back."

"Mister President, can you tell me -"

"No, not you. The other guy in the back."

"But -"

"In fact, what are you even doing at my press conference? I thought I barred your publication from participating."

"Actually -"

"So, other guy in the back, you gonna ask your question or what?"

"Yes, sir. My question is about Paul Manafort. Were y -"

"Never heard of him."

"You never heard of Paul Manafort?"

"That's what I said. Don't make me repeat myself or we'll never get out of here!"

"You've never heard of your campaign manager?"

"Who?"

"Paul Manafort!"

"If you say so."

"If I what? Look, I don't say so, Mister President. Paul Manafort was your campaign manager. Everybody knows it."

"I'll take your word for it. Lord knows, sad, pathetic, lying media - hunh, hunh, am I right? But, in this instance, I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. This Paul Manifold guy?"

"Manafort."

"Sure. Whatever. If you say he was my campaign manager, I'll accept that he was my campaign manager. I probably shouldn't. But, I can be trusting that way."

"Are you suggesting that you don't know who Paul Manafort is?"

"A lot of people worked on my campaign. A lot of people. If I had to learn who each one of them was, I would never be able to attend rallies - and you know how much I love rallies. By the way -"

"But -"

"Did you hear the shrug in my voice when I started that last answer, there? I been working on it for weeks. My vocal coach says I'm making real progress. When he's not saying how much he needs a drink. Guy's Irish - what can I say? My family's German, by the way, so it's okay for me to say that."

"Umm - I - what? Never mind. Look, Mister President, Paul Manafort was not some volunteer who got you coffee or...or...or pretended that you were being funny when you were being a boor -"

"I never bore people. That's one thing about me you should get straight. Never bore. Un uh. Not boring. Not me."

"Manafort was your campaign manager! He managed your campaign. He was central to how things were run! During your campaign!"

"Okay. Sure. Only, I never met the man."

"You shared a stage with him! More than once!"

"And, in that time, did you ever see anybody introduce us?"

"What? No. Obviously, you knew him well enough to -"

"I rest my case."

"Oh, for the love of - Mister President, you praised the work he was doing for the campaign!"

"How could I do that? I barely knew the man."

"Barely knew the -? At campaign rallies, you praised him for how well he was running your campaign!"

"No, I didn't."

"You said, and this is a direct quote: 'I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.'"

"You must be mistaken."

"We have you on videotape saying those exact words!"

"Well, okay, then, I must have said them."

"Finally!"

"It doesn't mean I knew the man. I have people who write speeches for me. I just read what they write."

"No, you don't, Mister President. You read the first couple of lines of your prepared speeches, and then you go off on wild tangents and flights of fancy that are totally unrelated to what your speech was about!"

"Thank you."

"You - say what?"

"Okay. So, what if what you're saying is true and I do know Paul Manifest?"

"Manafort."

"Yeah, yeah. Whatever. What's the big deal if I knew him or not?"

"Manafort had been working with a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that this Russian 'businessman' paid Manafort millions of dollars to use his political clout to influence governments, including the American government, to soften their stand on Russia. And, he just happens to run your campaign at the same time as the Russians were hacking the email accounts of Democrats? My question, Mister President, is -?

"That's all the time we have for today. Thank you for coming, everybody. The next Presidential press conference should happen in a couple of years..."

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