Paul Manafort, a former campaign chairman for President Vladimir TrumPutin, once worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the efforts of the Russian president.
In a scathing exclusive, the Associated Press reports that in 2006, Manafort pitched plans to promote Russia’s global influence and signed a $10 million annual contract with Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a known ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to work as a consultant.
“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 a 2005 memo to Deripaska obtained by AP.
As expected, the White House is distancing itself from allegations that a former Trump aide had ties to Mother Russia.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on a person who is not a White House employee,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told NBC News.
Manafort, who left TrumPutin’s campaign in August amid allegations that he had received millions in payments for secret lobbying efforts involving Russian interests, confirmed to AP that he once worked for Deripaska “on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments.”
“My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russian political interests,” he added.
This new development comes at a difficult time for TrumPutin’s administration, following FBI Director James Comey’s statement to the House Intelligence Committee that his agency is looking into the administration’s reported ties to Russia.