White House won't comment on Manafort

Manafort's name was mentioned multiple times when Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey spoke at a House Intelligence Committee hearing Monday where he revealed that the agency is investigating Russian interference into the US presidential election and possible involvement of Trump associates.

Citing a strategy memo from 2005, they say Manafort told Deripaska that he would advocate a pro-Russian agenda both in former republics and "at the highest levels of the USA government - the White House, Capitol Hill and the State Department".

The AP report alleges that Manafort proposed a confidential strategic plan that suggested he would influence politics, business dealings and media coverage within the United States and elsewhere to benefit the Putin government.

At the time, US-Russia relations under Republican president George W Bush were growing worse.

Manafort's arrangement was with Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally. Their business relationship lasted through at least 2009, according to Day's story for the AP.

Manafort's plans were laid out in documents that included strategy memoranda and records showing global wire transfers for millions of dollars.

A spokesman for Mr Manafort did not immediately respond to questions.

The plans were laid out in documents obtained by the AP that included strategy memoranda and records showing worldwide wire transfers for millions of dollars. Manafort did not dispute working for Oleg Deripaska but said he had represented him only in personal and business matters. How much work Mr Manafort performed under the contract was unclear. The House Intelligence Committee is conducting a similar probe in which FBI Director James Comey testified on March 20 that the FBI is investigating "Russian meddling" in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mr Manafort has dismissed the investigations as politically motivated and misguided, and said he never worked for Russian interests.

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Senator Martin Heinrich, who is a member of the Senate intelligence committee, said revelations about Mr Manafort's work were "serious and disturbing".

Discussing Deripaska's ties to Putin, Day cites WikiLeaks cables that showed US officials referring to Deripaska as "one of the top two or three oligarchs that are very close to him".

Federal prosecutors became interested in Mr Manafort's activities years ago as part of a broad investigation to recover stolen Ukrainian assets after the ousting of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych there in early 2014.

A Treasury Department spokesman, Stephen Hudak, declined to answer the AP's questions about Manafort's records.

He has been a leading focus of the USA government's investigation into whether Trump associates co-ordinated with Moscow to meddle in the 2016 campaign.

Manafort, who was Trump's unpaid campaign chairman from March until August previous year, has been a leading focus of the USA government's investigation into whether Trump associates coordinated with Moscow to meddle in the 2016 campaign.

The Trump administration has already started distancing itself from Manafort. House beefs up cellphone security MORE (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, have called for Manafort to come before their respective committees.

There is nothing inherently illicit about using multiple companies as Mr Manafort was doing, but it is unclear why he would have been involved with companies in Cyprus, known for its history of money-laundering before joining the European Union, with unclear sources of the money flowing into them and with such secrecy surrounding the firms' connections to Mr Manafort.

Another member of the intelligence committee, 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 Russian Federation". Manafort told a colleague this year that he continues to speak to Trump by telephone. Mr Gates has since helped plan Mr Trump's inauguration and now runs a non-profit organisation, America First Policies, to back the White House agenda.

  • Adam Floyd