Former Trump Campaign Chief Promoted Russia's Interests, Report Says

Documents uncovered by the Associated Press show Paul Manafort outlined a strategy to promote Vladimir Putin's global agenda.
Posted at 12:21 PM, Mar 22, 2017

Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager, reportedly worked for a Russian billionaire to push Vladimir Putin's global interests. 

That's according to a new report from the Associated Press. The AP got its hands on 2005 documents, including a strategy memo outlining how Manafort would influence politics, business and news across America, Europe and former Soviet countries. 

The memo says Manafort believed the strategy could "greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels" and "can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government."

It's no secret Manafort has connections to pro-Russian politicians and groups, but this new report directly contradicts claims from the White House and from Manafort that he never promoted Russia's global interests.

For his part, Manafort denied the report, in spite of the documents uncovered by the AP. And all this really couldn't come at a worse time for the White House. 

"The FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating ... the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government," FBI Director James Comey said during a congressional hearing. 

For the first time publicly, Comey confirmed this week there is an active investigation of Russia's meddling during the 2016 election. 

Even before this AP report, the White House has tried to distance itself from Manafort. Although he served as campaign chairman and chief strategist longer than current adviser Steve Bannon, Trump's press secretary says Manafort "played a limited role for a very limited amount of time."