We spent a significant portion of the 2016 election cycle talking about email, but we were clearly talking about the wrong person's email.
The Washington Post reported last night that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort offered to give private briefings on the status of the 2016 election to a Russian oligarch that Manafort owed $19 million to.
Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said.
“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email, portions of which were read to The Washington Post along with other Manafort correspondence from that time.
The emails are among tens of thousands of documents that have been turned over to congressional investigators and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team as they probe whether Trump associates coordinated with Russia as part of Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.
I wouldn't say this is a funny story, but I did laugh at this part:
People close to Manafort told The Post that he and [Manafort associate Konstantin Kilimnik] used coded language as a precaution because they were transmitting sensitive information internationally.
Kilimnik wrote in the July 29 email that he had met that day with the person “who gave you the biggest black caviar jar several years ago,” according to the people familiar with the exchange. Kilimnik said it would take some time to discuss the “long caviar story,” and the two agreed to meet in New York.
Investigators believe that the reference to the pricey Russian luxury item may have been a reference to Manafort’s past lucrative relationship with Deripaska, according to people familiar with the probe.
Look, I don't necessarily have a recommendation for appropriate code words, but "caviar" seems like a very poor choice. Only rich scumbags would use "caviar" as a code word for money or illegal goods. It's cartoonish.
Given the enormous amount of pressure being levied against Manafort in the press, I can't even imagine what investigators have on him that hasn't been shared with the public.
It's an open question why a Russian oligarch would even want private briefings on the status of Trump's campaign, or why Manafort would offer to provide them, but we can guess.