National Security

Report: Manafort Was Paid $10 Million Per Year to Lobby for Putin

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Ukrainian authorities have accused former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort of laundering money for the party of former Ukrainian president and pro-Putin stooge Viktor Yanukovych, and Manafort's ties to Yanukoyvch are fairly well known, but we now have a trail of evidence that leads directly to Vladimir Putin.

According to interviews and documents reviewed by the Associated Press, Manafort was paid handsomely to lobby directly for Putin's interests, not just his cronies.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work. [...]

Manafort's plans were laid out in documents obtained by the AP that included strategy memoranda and records showing international wire transfers for millions of dollars. How much work Manafort performed under the contract was unclear.

The Trump regime has been trying to distance themselves from Manafort by downplaying his role with the Trump campaign, but no one buys that. Manafort was his campaign manager for several months and he took over as manager of the GOP convention. It was at the GOP convention, as you might recall, that the party's official platform was amended to be more friendly to Russian interests by removing language that expressed support for Ukrainian sovereignty.

Manafort and the Trump campaign made a big deal out of him working for the campaign "for free," but it seems reasonable to assume he was being paid by someone at the time even if we don't know who it was yet. I have a hunch.

Manafort currently lives in Trump Tower, by the way. He always has.

  • muselet

    Steve Benen:

    In a memo at the time, Manafort wrote that his work “can greatly benefit the Putin Government” and “can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”

    Asked for a reaction, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told NBC News, “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on a person who is not a White House employee.”

    [link omitted]

    Especially since said non-employee could have his nuts in a wringer because he failed to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, Spicer failed to add.

    Postscript: A couple of weeks before he resigned from the Trump campaign, Manafort used Twitter to accuse Hillary Clinton of having “ties to Russia.” Irony may never recover.

    [link omitted]

    Is it my imagination, or is the Trump administration lousy with sleazy, two-bit con men?

    –alopecia

    • ninjaf

      Not your imagination at all.

      • muselet

        Good to know.

        –alopecia

  • Aynwrong

    Everything! Absolutely everything that Hillary Clinton was accused of is what Trump and administration of thieves and racketeers are guilty of.

    • Scopedog

      Yep.

      Someone better tell this to folks like H.A. Goodman and the idiots at the “Justice Democrats”, though. They are still spewing out the idiot line that Hillary and the DNC are the real enemies here.

      • Badgerite

        I would check their bank accounts at this point. Putin and Russian intelligence have obviously been investing heavily in those outlets and people in the west that they saw as being of use to them politically.
        I believe they call that “grooming”. And the GOP has helped.
        Mother Jones is now reporting the Manafort , on a yearly 10 million dollar retainer from a Russian oligarch and Putin ally, “tried to help Russian oligarch suspected of mob ties get a visa”. Because, of course he did.
        One of the more troubling aspects of these ties to President So Called’s administration is that by co-opting law enforcement, he will provide new inroads for the Russian crime mob into this country,
        And without law enforcement and a capable and active intelligence community, these Russian crime bosses will start doing to America what they have done to Russia. Traitor.

    • muselet

      It’s Always Projection.

      –alopecia

  • Does anyone else feel like digging this dirt up is a little too easy?

    • Aynwrong

      Like Manafort is being scapegoated? I suppose that’s possible.

      • That’s not what I meant. I thought it would take longer and more involve more pain.

        • Aynwrong

          It does seem to happening quite rapidly doesn’t it?

    • Scopedog

      Hmmm…good point, but…perhaps it’s this easy because these fools thought they could really get away with this.

      • swift_4

        I still think they can get away with this. This isn’t a triple S scandal. It isn’t sexy, shiny, or simple. The fact that we’re talking about a US citizen actively working against democracy in this country, hand in hand with a Presidential candidate, means nothing to the Average American (You know…morons). The details are too complex for someone with a sub-par education to comprehend. And there’s no nudity or explosions.

        They’re going to ride this out the same way they won the election. Every time it seems as though things are turning against them, they’ll say something outrageous and The Media will get distracted, and in turn The Media will distract the Average Americans.

    • muselet

      I’m with Scopedog: Paul Manafort didn’t think he’d get caught, probably out of common or garden arrogance.

      Making him a patsy would be out of character: Donald Trump rewards loyalty and punishes those who don’t do his bidding. Manafort doesn’t fit either category.

      –alopecia