Paul Manafort Once Worked to 'Benefit the Putin Government'

Manafort worked as a political consultant for former pro-Russia Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in 2009.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer received a valuable history lesson on Monday when he told reporters that a lot of things that need to get discussed aren't getting proper coverage, because "The only headlines that people want to write are the ones that support a narrative against this administration".

But Manafort noted his advocacy for Deripaska predated his own association with Trump's campaign and suggested his services did not amount to lobbying for Russian interests.

When CBS News asked Aslund if Manafort knew both of them, he said: "Yeah".

Last summer, Manafort was reportedly targeted for blackmail by Ukrainian interests who threatened to blow the whistle about his connections to the Yanukovych regime.

Citing interviews with several people familiar with the payment, the AP said that Manafort signed a $10m annual contract with Deripaska that began in 2006.

The New York Times on Monday night reported that documents had surfaced apparently showing that the Party of Regions - Yanukovych's political party - funneled $750,000 to Manafort through an offshore account, listing it as a payment for 501 computers.

NBC News has not seen the document.

Why would such payments matter to the U.S. Investigation of the Russian hacking scandal?

Ukrainian President Yanukovych was ousted in February 2014 during the Maidan revolution, and fled to Russian Federation, where he now resides.

Shortly after that came out, Manafort resigned from his position on Trump's campaign team.

"No. Then you lose out", Aslund said.

"The suggestion that I ever worked in concert with anyone to release hacked emails or sought to undermine the interests of the United States is false", he said in a statement.

Spicer went on to call Clinton "the face of the failed Russian Federation reset policy" and said Manafort's connections were "not even close" compared to Clinton's "most significant role with respect to Russian Federation". In fact, he worked on the campaign for five months and was its chairman for three months.

"I can't prevent somebody from fully disclosing everything on their taxes of filling out a form, what I can tell you is if there is an instance brought to our attention where someone has misled it, either they will be sent to the appropriate law enforcement agency, or appropriate action will be taken."

"I've know Paul a long time". Moreover, his roles in the campaign, particularly Convention Manager, were crucial, and arguably prevented a derailing of Trump's nomination through a floor fight at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Manafort replied, "No one". "Clearly, I should have been more precise with respect to Paul's role", he said. I have never spoken with any Russian Government official or anyone who claimed to have been involved.

When the ledger surfaced in the midst of the Trump campaign past year, Manafort told CNN allegations of corruption were "unfounded, silly and nonsensical", adding he had never received any cash payments off the book.

  • Joanne Flowers