A New Report Shows Paul Manafort Did Work To Benefit The Putin Government

FILE - In this July 17, 2016 file photo, Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland as Rick Gates listens at back left. Emails obtained by The Associated Press shed new light on the activities of a firm run by Donald Trump’s campaign chairman. They show it directly orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government. Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, never disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for Donald Trump’s presidential run, is a big part of the FBI’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

For good reason.

The man just has a lot of uncomfortable ties to the Kremlin, whether directly or indirectly.

In a new report, it is revealed that Manafort was involved in advancing Vladimir Putin’s interests, although it was a decade ago.

 Manafort partnered with a Russian billionaire and crafted a political strategy for undermining anti-Russian sentiment across former Soviet republics, according to The Associated Press.

The AP reported that Manafort proposed the strategy as early as June 2005, ultimately signing a $10 million annual contract with Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska in 2006.

Manafort is solidly in the crosshairs of U.S. intelligence, as FBI Director James Comey testified Monday that Trump’s campaign and some of his associates are part of the overall probe of Russian activities in the election.

In records obtained by the AP, Manafort wrote:

“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] will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”

Manafort insists that there was nothing inappropriate about his activities.

“My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russian political interests,” he said, adding suggestions otherwise are part of a “smear campaign” against him.

Meanwhile, news broke yesterday that Manafort has hired a crisis management team.

Where it stands now, this is not a smoking gun, but it can be the smoke from that smoking gun, so stay tuned.