We now have much more context on former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s relationship with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and it is a doozy.
NBC News is reporting that Manafort’s financial relationship with Deripaska ran to the sum of $60 million dollars and that Manafort was given a loan of $26 million dollars from the oligarch. This “loan” is under investigation by the Mueller team as a money laundering payment and it appears that assets were transferred between super sketchy entities that the two individuals had set up in Cyprus.
So this means one of two things: EITHER 1. Manafort was in debt up to his eyeballs with the Russians while running Trump’s campaign OR 2. Manafort was paid by the Russians during the campaign. It also explains Trump’s Twitter tirades against NBC News over the past few days.
The timeline on the “loan” isn’t clear, it’s not mentioned in the NBC article. But it may be key to understanding Manafort’s motivations before, during and after the campaign.
That isn’t the only pot of boiling water that Trump must contend with: multiple outlets reported that Reince Priebus, Trump’s former Chief of Staff, was interviewed by Mueller and Co. on Friday. This is very important: Priebus knows a lot. He knows how Trump acted around Putin, he might know why Trump fired Comey and he might have some insight into Jared Kushner’s activities in office. He’s talking to Mueller.
We’re still a ways away from any potential indictments, but with each passing day, Mueller’s probe gains strength. Who knows what dirt more digging will turn up?