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Senate Russia investigators put focus on Paul Manafort

Senate Russia investigators put focus on Paul Manafort

Senate Russia investigators put focus on Paul Manafort

In a week that began with an announcement of a criminal investigation involving associates of the president regarding possible ties to Russia-backed entities that tried to tilt the table toward Donald J. Trump during the presidential election, Wednesday brought word of a peculiar relationship between Trump's one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and a Russian oligarch said to be a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle. Manafort was also paid to influence business dealings, politics, and news coverage to favor Russian interests, according to documents obtained by the AP.

Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn have garnered intense interest among lawmakers after FBI Director James Comey announced Monday that they were "investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts".

Manafort confirmed in a statement to the AP he worked for Deripaska in various countries but said the work was being unfairly cast as "inappropriate or nefarious" as part of a "smear campaign".

The work was described in interviews with people familiar with it and confidential business records obtained by the AP. Manafort, who worked for Yanukovych's Party of Regions for almost a decade, resigned from Trump's campaign in August after his name surfaced in connection with secret payments totaling $12.7 million by Yanukovych's party.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also has made statements diminishing the role of former Trump campaign aides and associates who may have Russian Federation links.

Spicer said the 67-year-old Manafort played a "limited role for a very limited amount of time" in the campaign. "To suggest that the president knew who his clients were from 10 years ago is a bit insane", Spicer said. Manafort worked on the campaign from March until August 2016.

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Spicer's mum stance is just the latest effort to put distance between the former top campaign official and his Russian Federation ties - after earlier calling his role helming Trump's campaign as "minimal" and limited.

Spicer said Trump didn't know about the contract when Trump hired him, and didn't know if it would have made a difference it he had.

Paul Manafort, former senior aid to Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, attends an event on foreign policy in Washington.

The Associated Press has learned the information about Paul Manafort's transactions was turned over earlier this year to US agents working in the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

In the video, which is especially relevant now in light of the evidence, Manafort is asked by CBS News anchor Norah O'Donnell if Trump himself has any financial connection to Russian Federation.

Numerous records that snarled Manafort in recent months emerged from Ukraine's new anti-corruption bureau. The new allegations arise months after Manafort resigned from the campaign amid concerns over his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. Spicer acknowledged Wednesday that Manafort had a longer and more significant role in the campaign than he previously recognized but pointed to ostensible ties between Hillary Clinton campaign staff and Russian entities.

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