or… “I am not a Russian spy.”
Needless to say, questions remain. All the more so, given former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort — who helped arrange anti-Nato protests for a pro-Putin Ukrainian political party — is under FBI investigation over his ties to Russian interests. The concerns raised by the FBI investigation are intensified by a new Mother Jones report citing a “former Western intelligence officer” who alleges sources say “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.”
Trump’s plausible deniability on his and his campaign’s deep Russian ties is only credible up to a point, and the preponderance of evidence is pushing that limit.
Paul Manafort, Donald Trump‘s chief campaign adviser, did work for Ukraine’s pro-Putin political party and had an office in Kiev as recently as May 2016, according to a New York Times report. The investigation also uncovered that Manafort may have received as much as “$12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments” from the pro-Russia political organization.
And then the Times of London uncovered that Manafort was also behind “a series of  anti-Nato, anti-Kiev protests in Crimea led by Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian Party of Regions — now designated a criminal organisation.”
Now, the FBI has launched an inquiry into Manafort’s foreign ties.
Former Trump Foreign Policy Adviser Carter Page’s Russian Investments And Ties
Another sketchy character with even more direct ties to Putin’s Russia is Trump
And in September, it was reported that a recent Page trip to Russia and his meetings with “some of the most powerful men in Moscow” were being actively investigated by U.S. officials. So there’s that.
Ordinarily, it would be shocking to see an American presidential nominee embracing pro-Russia foreign policy doctrine dictated by such pro-Putin advisers. But Donald Trump is no ordinary candidate — nor are his Putin-connected aides typical campaign advisers. And that’s what explains Trump:
- Openly requesting that Russia
conduct espionage on Hillary Clinton, and even going so far as to offer that the country might be rewarded for doing so;
- Heaping praise on Vladimir Putin;
- Alternately saying he did and didn’t meet with Putin, to the point where it’s unclear which is the lie;
- Lobbying to make the GOP platform more pro-Russia;
- Claiming that he has “ZERO investments in Russia,” even though his son once claimed, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets”; and,
- Pushing Kremlin talking points — including that Russia never invaded Ukraine, although, if they did, the “people of Crimea…would rather be with Russia” — which has earned him folk hero-status among the Russian media.