Washington, D.C. (January 28, 2017)—Paul Manafort has become a central villain in perhaps the central scandal of our times. But before he was charged with conspiracy and money laundering, and decades before he would join then-candidate Trump’s presidential campaign, Manafort was instrumental in creating the very Washington swamp Trump vowed to drain. In The Atlantic’s explosive March issue cover story, “The Plot Against America,” Franklin Foer wades deeply through Manafort’s murky past to chronicle precisely how he corrupted key Washington institutions, weakened the capital’s ethical immune system, and paved the way for the kind of foreign influence that now haunts the Trump administration.
Foer’s reporting, the result of a year-long investigation, shows Manafort as a launderer of reputations and a lifetime corrupter of the American system, offering the most complete picture to date of his character, his career, and the shadowy figures surrounding it. Whatever his personal involvement with the Russians—and Foer shows clearly his close relationship and heavy debts to key Russian figures and sympathizers—his story is crucial to understanding how the forces that threaten to subvert American democracy grew strong.