AP: Manafort and Russia ties emerge

The Associated Press has unveiled a new report about President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his alleged ties to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Reportedly, Manafort worked for Deripaska to advance the interests of his ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, a decade ago. His work apparently focused on proposed political strategies that would render anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics futile.

This new report stands in contrast to the claims by the Trump campaign team that they never worked or had previous engagements with Russian interests. Manafort’s apparent dealings stem back into the era of the George W. Bush administration when tensions between the U.S. and Russia grew deep.

In 2006, Manafort signed a $10 million annual contract when beginning work for Deripaska. The two maintained a cordial business relationship until at least 2009, according to a source that spoke with Bloomberg.

A preliminary 2005 memo sent to Deripaska from Manafort as to why he should be hired was also recently obtained:

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

With mounting pressure on the Trump administration over alleged ties to secret dealings with Russia, Manafort is attempting to set the record straight. “I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments,” Manafort said to the AP. “My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russian political interests.”

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