WaPo: Manafort Offered Russian Bigwig ‘Private Briefings’ On Campaign

FILE - In this July 18, 2016, file photo, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort walks around the convention floor before the opening session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is questioning Donald Trump’s top political aide’s ties to a pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine, claiming it is evidence of the Republican nominee’s cozy relationship with Russia. The New York Times reported that handwritten ledgers found in Ukraine show $12.7 million in undisclosed payments to Paul Manafort from the pro-Russia party founded by the country’s former president Viktor Yanukovych. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Carolyn Kaster/AP
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Paul Manafort offered a Kremlin-linked Russian billionaire private briefings on the Trump campaign while serving as its chairman, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Manafort emailed an overseas intermediary requesting that his message be passed along to aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin with whom Manafort had previously done business.

“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote in an email dated July 7, 2016, according to the report.

Post reporters were read part of the email, which Politico reported was sent from his presidential campaign account. It was one of tens of thousands of documents that congressional investigators and special counsel Robert Mueller’s team have received as part of their ongoing probes into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

There is no evidence in the documents to show that Deripaska either received the email or took any briefings from Manafort, according to the newspaper. Representatives for both Deripaska’s company and Manafort denied that there was anything inappropriate about the communications.

Manafort spokesperson Jason Maloni told the Post that no briefings occurred and characterized the email as simply an offer for a “routine” briefing on the state of the campaign.

Vera Kurochkina, a spokeswoman for Deripaska’s company, Rusal, told the Post that its requests for comment “veer into manufactured questions so grossly false and insinuating that I am concerned even responding to these fake connotations provides them the patina of reality.”

Per the Post’s report, the documents turned over to investigators include a number of email exchanges related to Deripaska, some of which focus on money Manafort believed he was owed by Eastern European clients, that appear deliberately vague and that refer to the aluminum magnate only by his initials.

Manafort has reportedly been informed by federal prosecutors that they plan to indict him for possible tax and financial crimes.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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