In arguably the biggest bombshell yet in the still developing Trump/Russia scandal, the AP reports that Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, was a clandestine employee of the Russian government ten years ago, where he “secretly worked to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government”
CNBC reports that this revelation “appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests…Manafort did not disclose details about the lobbying work to the Justice Department during the period the contract was in place.”
According to the report, in 2005 Manafort began working with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska to craft and implement a plan to undermine “anti-Russian sentiment across former Soviet republics.” The next year, a contract for $10,000,000 was signed by Manafort and Deripaska. Deripaska is confirmed by the AP to be a close ally of Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
The AP has obtained business records and transactions from the relationship, including one memo from Manafort to Deripaska:
“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. [The effort] will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”
Manafort responded to a request for comment from the AP by saying in this relationship there was nothing “inappropriate or nefarious.”
This revelation comes to light on the heels of FBI Director, James Comey’s admission that the FBI is currently investigating the Trump campaign/administrations ties to the Russian government, including the possibility of collusion in the Russian effort to undermine the U.S. elections.