Manafort laundered money for Yanukovych, we’re told.

A Russian billionaire paid former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort millions of dollars to boost the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Associated Press reports. The new allegations arise months after Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign amid concerns over his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

“According to documents that we’ve reviewed, Paul Manafort secretly worked for a Russian oligarch who wanted him to promote Russian interests,” the AP’s Chad Day tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “And in particular, he wrote a memo that outlined this kind of vast plan for him to promote Russian interests in the former Soviet republics — and also to specifically benefit the Putin government.”

Maybe this doesn’t bear any relation at all to Trump and his ties to Russia. Maybe. Spicey wants us to think it doesn’t.

Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sought to minimize Manafort’s involvement with the Trump campaign, saying that Manafort “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.” Spicer returned to the topic at Wednesday’s midday briefing.

“Nothing in this morning’s report references any actions by the president, the White House, or any Trump administration official,” Spicer said. He added, “The report is entirely focused on actions that Paul took a decade ago.”

But even if that’s true…why is Trump drawn to the kind of person who does things like that?

In his deal with Deripaska, Manafort promised to counter anti-Russian sentiment, according to Day and his AP colleague Jeff Horwitz. Citing a strategy memo from 2005, they say Manafort told Deripaska that he would advocate a pro-Russian agenda both in former republics and “at the highest levels of the U.S. government – the White House, Capitol Hill and the State Department.”

“My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russia’s political interests,” Manafort told the AP, saying that he instead focused on ago representing Deripaska in countries where he had investments.

Discussing Deripaska’s ties to Putin, Day cites WikiLeaks cables that showed U.S. officials referring to Deripaska as “one of the top two or three oligarchs that are very close to him.”

Manafort has an apartment at Trump Tower in New York and is a veteran of politics and lobbying; his career stretches back to Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. His lobbying firm has been known for working on behalf of “unsavory governments in Nigeria and Kenya, the UNITA rebels in Angola and a group with ties to Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos,” as NPR reported last summer.

Never met an authoritarian he didn’t like, I guess. Sounds very Trumpish.

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