The following is a story the AP broke almost a year ago. They broke it again Today.
An AP Big Story out Wednesday will be discussed all day. The report attempts to tie Trump to Russia and Putin himself via something Paul Manafort did ten years ago though it is exactly what Tony Podesta did recently, which no one cares about.
John Podesta”s brother, Tony Podesta, was hired by Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, to “lobby its interests in the United States and proactively seek the removal of various Obama-era sanctions.”
John Podesta was Hillary’s campaign manager.
Manafort is accused of trying to help Putin’s government with lobbyists and image consultants.
Paul Manafort, a lobbyist who owns a consulting firm, helped manage Trump’s campaign without pay for five months, from March through August, last year. Other than that, there are no direct links to Trump, except Paul might talk on the phone to Trump periodically. Manafort was fired by Trump after it was found out that he orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation until 2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling pro-Russian political party.
People should keep in mind that lobbyists and image consultants for every country in the world fill the halls of Congress and U.S. lobbyists work abroad as well. In fact, according to reports out of Macedonia and Hungary, USAID is going to Soros’s hard-left lobbying groups who work under the guise of performing charitable work.
Lobbying by Iran helped win the nuclear deal.
That said, here is the report.
Ten Years Ago, Paul Manafort Helped a Russian Businessman
The AP story claims Manafort received millions of dollars in 2005 from a Russian businessman to further President Putin’s interests across the Soviet republics and in the West.
They came to that conclusion based on strategy memoranda and records from a decade ago showing international wire transfers that allegedly prove – if they are not forged documents – that Manafort took $10 million from Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally, who later accused Manafort of fraud – allegedly.
In essence, Manafort is accused of doing PR work and image consulting for a Russian oligarch aka businessman Oleg Deripaska ten years ago. It’s the same thing the brother of Hillary’s campaign manager did. Tony Podesta was hired by Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, to lobby its interests in the United States and proactively seek the removal of various Obama-era sanctions.
Manafort didn’t help since the AP article states that the relations between George Bush and Putin grew worse.
Manafort Wasn’t Hired According to Deripaska, the Russian Oligarch
Manafort responded to the AP saying that he did work for Deripaska but there was nothing nefarious going on. “I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments,” Manafort said. “My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russian political interests.”
AP doesn’t give details about the vetting of these newly-discovered records and refers to their sources as “people with direct knowledge of Manafort’s work for Deripaska.”
Deripaska denies they hired Manafort.
Immediately responding to the AP story, Vera Kurochkina, a spokeswoman for Deripaska, told Bloomberg that the Russian billionaire didn’t pay Manafort for the Russia-related work. She adds that there was only an “agreement between Mr. Deripaska and Mr. Manafort to provide investment-consulting services related to business interests of Mr. Deripaska which now is a subject to legal claims,” Kurochkina said by e-mail.
Additionally, she denied AP’s report that Deripaska paid Paul Manafort for work to improve Russia’s image in 2005.
To recap, a man who worked for a short time as an unpaid consultant for Trump and who was fired, may or may not have worked for a Putin-tied Russian businessman nearly a decade ago to improve his image and Russia’s image. There are major denials to the article which produces no evidence.
The line the AP took and presented as evidence is allegedly written in an email by Manafort to sell his consulting firm:“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, Manafort wrote, “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”
What does that mean exactly? We don’t know. It sounds like a sales pitch by an image consultant.
Trump is not implicated in these dealings in any way.
By the way, Manafort was not a fly-by-night consultant at the time Trump hired him and had worked for people like Presidents Reagan and Ford, and had enjoyed a positive reputation, perhaps undeservedly.
It’s also reported that Manafort’s former business partner Rick Gates has been inside the White House and Manafort still speaks with Trump on the phone according to the AP report.
There is no evidence Gates was involved in Manafort’s dealings at all. The phone call as “evidence” is actually gossip.
Manafort Might Have Committed a Felony No one Is Ever Indicted For
Manafort is being investigated for not reporting his lobbying relationship, which is a felony, however, as the AP states deep into the article, Willfully failing to register is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, though the government rarely files criminal charges.
Democrats and Lindsey Graham Jump to Conclusions
The AP report does not directly tie Trump to Putin in any way. It ties Manafort to a Russian businessman tied to Putin for the purposes of improving images coming out of Russia. As an aside, all Russian businesses and businessmen are tied to Putin. He’s a dictator.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Trump’s harshest critics in the Senate, called the disclosures about payments to Manafort from the Russian billionaire “very disturbing if true.”
“That’s basically taking money to stop the spread of democracy, and that would be very disturbing to me,” he said Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
However, the report doesn’t prove that it was a political strategy.
Though Trump is not tied to this, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said the disclosure “undermines the groundless assertions that the administration has been making that there are no ties between President Trump and Russia. This is not a drip, drip, drip” situation, she said. “This is now dam-breaking with water flushing out with all kinds of entanglements.”
She has no grounds for that statement based on this AP report.
Why didn’t the AP publish the documents? Show the public the evidence and let the public decide.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “We do not feel it’s appropriate to comment on someone who is not an employee at the White House.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Louie Gohmert, an outspoken House Republican from Texas, is calling for a congressional investigation of John Podesta’s role with Rusnano, a state-run company founded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported. No one’s talking about that. No one is investigating Tony Podesta’s firm either.