Opinion: AP report on Manafort ties to Putin is explosive

Paul Manafort had “a very limited role for a very limited amount of time” in the Trump campaign, according to White House spokesman Sean Spicer. (AP)

From the Associated Press:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.”

From that bad beginning, things get worse for Manafort.

The AP has acquired documentation that Manafort was paid as much as $10 million to work on behalf of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who was and continues to be extremely close to Vladimir Putin. It cites contracts, memos and international money-transfer documents. It reports that Manafort was paid through a shell company.

It quotes a 2005 memo to Deripaska written by Manafort proposing the work that he could accomplish:

“We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”

The 2005 strategy memos propose pro-Putin activities in former Soviet republics and in Europe. They brag of activities on behalf of the then-pro-Putin Ukrainian government targeting “the highest levels of the U.S. government — the White House, Capitol Hill and the State Department,” and note that Manafort had hired “a leading international law firm with close ties to President Bush to support our client’s interests.” AP’s reporting found:

“In strategy memos, Manafort proposed that Deripaska and Putin would benefit from lobbying Western governments, especially the U.S., to allow oligarchs to keep possession of formerly state-owned assets in Ukraine.”

According to the Associated Press, Manafort never registered as a foreign agent as required by federal law. Willfully failing to register as a foreign agent is a felony with up to five years in prison. Manafort told the Associated Press that he had indeed worked for Deripaska, but not for Putin.

“I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments,” Manafort said. “My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russian political interests.”

One would assume that U.S. counterintelligence is not learning all of this by clicking on a link to the AP story. It’s also pretty damn clear, given these revelations, why FBI Director James Comey feels it necessary to conduct a full counterintelligence and criminal investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Given the undisclosed, previously hidden links documented by AP, such a probe would be absolutely necessary even if Russia had not hacked American political organizations and had not strategically leaked material in an effort to aid in Trump’s election.

But it did.

These ties, combined with Russian intervention, make this an extremely critical investigation. Among other things, investigators are no doubt quite interested in how Trump, a candidate with a documented fondness for and perhaps even an obsession with Putin, ended up with a campaign CEO such as Manafort and a national security adviser such as Michael Flynn, who himself has taken tens of thousands of dollars from Russian interests without necessary approval. Accident or coincidence is not a sufficient explanation.

Since the early ’70s, the common practice in the political world has been to try to compare the scandal of the day to Watergate. Well, this one has the potential to make Watergate look minor in comparison. Republican defenders of President Trump have until now airily dismissed pressure to appoint an independent counsel to fully explore this situation, but that position no longer seems tenable.

Reader Comments 0

2123 comments
MyBad
MyBad

I'm going to start looking up older JB articles and write snarky comments when it turns out that JB and all his little liberal friends were WRONG as this investigation continues and the Obama administration end up making Nixon look like Little Bo Peep.

Am very much looking forward to this! 

KJ Rodrigues
KJ Rodrigues

Can't get POTUS Trump on anything so they're going after others - what a bunch of idiots!

Jack Warner
Jack Warner

so only democrats can work with other governments? what is the issue AJC?

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

Between the "it's still an entitlement" Republicans, and the "I just can't bring myself to do that to my constituents" Republicans, this bill is gonna be a tough vote. 

And if they can't pass it today, they'll never be able to again.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Nick_Danger Still won't stop republicans from taking a bite at that apple, they will even eat the core if they have too.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

I just scrolled down blog and discovered the new response when someone is called out on a stupid statement - "it's just sarcasm". 

I do believe that is one step up from the answer of most 10 year olds when caught the  same way - "I was only joking".

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@PaulinNH 

Pro tip:  If you don't believe that those with opposing views will find your comment at least clever or witty, it is incumbent upon you to add an indication that your comment is not serious. 

This is especially true if you have a history of posting comments others find outrageous - how are they to know when you are serious?

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

Just dropping in - have any of the RWers claimed that there wouldn't have been an attack in London yesterday if the UK had banned immigration?

Mary
Mary

it really is ironic that the first and as far as I can tell the only post about the attack yesterday on this blog was your flippant comment. An American was killed in the senseless islamic terrorist attack. Of course, that term bothers you I bet!

Try having a backbone and call out these scumbag terrorist for what they are and quit playing the passive role. It really is not becoming for a grown man.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

This is taking that left and right ideology to far.  Crazy


Israeli man, 19, arrested in connection with threats against Jewish Community Centers in U.S., other nations.


JERUSALEM — A young Israeli man who also holds U.S. citizenship was arrested by Israeli police Thursday in connection with the wave of security-related threats made to Jewish communities and institutions in the United States and several other countries over the past few months, according to the FBI and local authorities.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser Another uninformed post by you.  When will you learn to study before posting?  Israeli Jews are conservative and American Jews are leftist.  The chances of him being a Hillary supporter are very slim.  Carry on with your misleading post....

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser I am betting when the interrogation has been completed that the young man is a Trump hater and voted for Hillary. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

 td1234 just now

@Hedley_Lammar Just because you do not wish to educate yourself and stomp your feet does not mean you are right. 


Like your so called educating us about water gate yesterday?  Your teachings included a fact that none of us knew, Nixon took the fall for plumbers and that is why he resigned.  That one was knee slapping.  ROTFLMAO

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser @Hedley_Lammar It wasn't no art of sarcasm when you posted yesterday, you were serious as a heart attack with two strokes behind it.  The sarcasm was when you were called out by everybody, now that was knee slapping funny.  

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser As far as you educating me, you did no such thing.  I posted a link on why Nixon resigned after your plumber fabrication way before you copied and pasted from Wiki.  Any who enough of this rabbit hole, I have another one for you up top.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

More cleaning up of evidence.


WORLD NEWS | Wed Mar 22, 2017 | 6:48am EDT


Lawyer of dead Russian whistleblower injured after fall from window

The lawyer for the family of late Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky is in intensive care after plunging from his fourth-floor apartment a day before a major court date, Russian media reported.  Magnitsky's former employer released a statement saying the lawyer, Nikolai Gorokhov, had been thrown out of a window on Tuesday, though he gave no further details and police were not immediately available to comment on his account.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-magnitsky-lawyer-idUSKBN16T174



skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

Who the  heck cares about the DNC and Podesta  hacking?




The blatant attempt by the Neo-fascists to avoid bipartisan sanctions and their interference in  Obama's retaliatory sanctions for spying is what is the big issue. 


Has Trump once supported the bipartisan sanctions which were not even mentioned at the GOP convention? Why is that?



Is GOP interference in Obama's security decision to punish the Russians for hacking a punishable offense?



How many more times is the GOP going to get away with  that to get a President elected ? (Nixon, Reagan, Chalabi fiasco and Bush)


Cons think we are stoopid.

td1234
td1234

@lvg That is because we Trump voters want the US to join Russia to rule the world. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @lvg Now that has to be the dumbest comment I have seen from you to date.  Just pull out your white flag and step forward td, it's game time for team Trump.  Any day now.

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser Another prog blogger that does not understand the art of using sarcasm to make a point.  

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Just in, Bookman has identified links from Trump Administration to Peter the Great, its EXPLOSIVE  

td1234
td1234

We know the DNC interfered in the Presidential process when they gave questions to Hillary to hurt Bernie. Where is the investigation? 

td1234
td1234

@Hedley_Lammar No I do not have to google. Unlike you, I actually understand what the founders wrote on the Constitution and the original intent of the Constitution. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@td1234 @Nick_Danger What laws has the Trump administration broken? 


The emolument clause for one.


As for the Russian stuff we just dont know yet.

td1234
td1234

@Nick_Danger @td1234 What laws has the Trump administration broken? 


BTW: You seem to have an issue with sarcasm as a tool to make a point. LOL 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@td1234 Investigate that too.


Although the DNC is a private organization. By all means have at it


Independent counsel. All cards on the table.

td1234
td1234

@Hedley_Lammar Wrong and there is no investigation on that one and there will not be one. 


If we use the Democrat definition then no businessman would ever be able to become President and that runs totally against every single thing the founders of this nation believed in.  

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@td1234 @Hedley_Lammar  No I do not have to google.


LOL


No you dont. For example i'm betting you think it was based on Judeo Christian values


it wasn't. 

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

 It's a shame, the lengths you'll go to protect the Dems.

td1234
td1234

@Hedley_Lammar Just because you do not wish to educate yourself and stomp your feet does not mean you are right. 

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@td1234 

What laws are you claiming were broken, again? 

And, are you claiming that the DNC interfered in its own process?  LOL!

Mary
Mary

Well we certainly did not have to worry about the emolument clause with Obama. Community Organizer Activist..........

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Mary 

University Law Professor, State Senator, author, US Senator....

Mary
Mary

I rest my case! Those who can't teach, or become politicians.