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Report: Manafort Advised Trump Team on Russia Scandal

Image: Report: Manafort Advised Trump Team on Russia Scandal
(AP)

By    |   Thursday, 25 May 2017 08:53 AM

President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort was in contact with chief of staff Reince Priebus months after the FBI began its Russia probe in an effort to push back against the growing controversy, Politico reported.

Four people tell the website the conversation between the two men came in a phone call about a week before Trump took the oath of office,

"Manafort wanted to brief Trump's team on the alleged inaccuracies in a recently released dossier of memos written by a former British spy for Trump's opponents that alleged compromising ties between Russia, Trump and Trump's associates, including Manafort," Politico's Kenneth Vogel wrote.

And a person close to Manafort added: "On the day that the dossier came out in the press, Paul called Reince, as a responsible ally of the president would do, and said this story about me is garbage, and a bunch of the other stuff in there seems implausible."

Manafort recently gave more than 300 pages of documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee in connection with its probe of Russia election meddling, CNN reported.

Drafts of speeches, calendars and notes during his time with the campaign were included in the documents, according to CNN.

The committee did not seek details of Manafort's business ties in Ukraine. He was a lobbyist working with the political party of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, the news network reported, and has filed documents to retroactively register as a foreign agent.

Now, news of the conversation between Manafort and Priebus could lead to expand the line of inquiry for both the FBI and congressional investigators, Politico noted.

"They've increasingly focused on the Trump team's handling of the investigations, including evolving explanations from the White House, and the president's unsuccessful efforts to get the FBI to drop part of the investigation, followed by his firing of FBI director James Comey," Politico's Vogel wrote.

"All that has led to claims that the president and his team may have opened themselves to obstruction of justice charges."

According to Vogel, Priebus alerted Trump to the conversation with Manafort. Both Priebus and the White House have declined to comment, as did Manafort.

Politico noted Manafort also had discussions with other Trump allies about launching an investigation into the Ukrainian government's connection with Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton as a way to distract from the FBI and congressional probes.

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President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort was in contact with chief of staff Reince Priebus months after the FBI began its Russia probe in an effort to push back against the growing controversy, Politico reported.
paul manafort, advised, trump, team, russia, scandal
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Thursday, 25 May 2017 08:53 AM
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