Paul Manafort’s lawyers just accidentally released his Trump Russia PR strategy memo

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Paul Manafort’s lawyers just revealed confidential notes about his team’s public relations strategy which confirms the Associated Press’ bombshell story that knocked him out of the Trump Campaign.

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Manafort’s notes indicate that damning evidence of secret payments from Ukraine’s pro-Putin Party of Regions was acquired by the AP via a whistleblower, who since has delivered the data to Special Counsel Mueller’s probe responding to a search warrant. Manafort’s notes seem to validate the AP’s well-placed, whistleblower source, inside his Ukrainian political consulting company because that information was used in the indictment.

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Rachel Maddow revealed Manafort’s memo on her MSNBC program without explanation, but careful examination of the contents downloaded from the federal court docket reveals the AP’s big scoop and confirms the utmost importance of their prior stories:

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Amazingly, lawyers for the accused ex-Trump Campaign Chairman revealed that a third Kremlin-linked oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov, whose relationship has only been scarcely reported, was also paying Paul Manafort to work for the pro-Putin Party of Regions.

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Akhmetov hiring Manafort is significant because he is the wealthiest man in Ukraine.

Just after the election campaign, Manafort’s consultancy deal with Rinat Akhmetov was highlighted in the Democratic Coalition’s Dworkin Report about Trump’s direct ties to Russia and the Kremlin, which was delivered to the White House. Dworkin’s report unearthed the only known photo of the two men together that’s available on the internet today.

“Those photos are from the 2007 Davos World Economic Forum,” Dworkin told me, “from an event organized by Vinctor Pinchuk, another Ukrainian oligarch.”

Paul Manafort and his pro-Putin oligarch client Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s wealthiest man. Source: The Dworkin Report

Manafort’s notes reveal the existence of two previously unknown memos between Rinat Akhmetov and the wealthiest oligarch in Ukraine and Paul Manafort detail his political work for the Party of Regions starting in 2005.

The existence of secret memos between Manafort and Akhmetov is significant because Manafort has been charged with laundering payments from the foreign political party in order to avoid registering as a foreign agent of influence for a second, heretofore unknown, pro-Putin Ukrainian oligarch.

Manafort’s lawyers confirm, that the AP has those two memos.

Today’s notes about Paul Manafort’s spokesman also reveal a major tactical error in the criminal case when his PR flack took copies of the crucial documents from the AP to verify them, which exposed the records to Mueller’s search warrant.

Pre-election reporting by Politifact only revealed that Paul Manafort worked for Akhmetov as a business consultant. His political work has been ascribed mainly to his relationship with Dimitry Firtash, an oligarch currently detained in Austria, awaiting extradition to America on federal bribery charges.

In August 2016, the AP revealed Manafort’s dark past as an unregistered foreign agent of the Party of Regions without explaining which oligarchs for whom he worked.

Those public revelations spurred Manafort to abandon his formal role in the Trump Campaign.

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In March 2017, Manafort’s secret deal with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska for $10 million per year to promote his good friend Vladimir Putin’s interests in America was revealed by the AP.

Then in April 2017, Ukrainian journalist turned lawmaker Serhiy Leshenko revealed the “black ledger” which has become subject to Special Counsel Mueller’s initial indictment last October. The AP reported:

Donald Trump’s campaign chairman helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy.

The revelation, provided to The Associated Press by people directly knowledgeable about the effort, comes at a time when Trump has faced criticism for his friendly overtures to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It also casts new light on the business practices of campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Under federal law, U.S. lobbyists must declare publicly if they represent foreign leaders or their political parties and provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department. A violation is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The story of that ledger showed part of Manafort’s scheme to hide his lobbying activities for Dymtro Firtash, a gas baron who ran the company RusUkrEnergo that Putin created to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars directly from Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom and the Party of Regions.

The Trump Campaign Chairman’s private PR strategy notes indicate that AP reporters obtained information far in excess of what the Special Counsel previously held.

Expect a new bombshell report from the Associated Press about Paul Manafort’s furtive foreign lobbying business now that we’ve got confirmation from inside his legal team about the quality of their sources.

Grant Stern

Editor at Large

Grant Stern is a columnist for the Washington Press. He's also mortgage broker, writer, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida.

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