Paul Manafort blew the whistle on Don Jr’s secret Russia meeting: report
Paul Manafort appears to be the source who revealed to congressional investigators that he attended a meeting last year with Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer promising damaging information against Hillary Clinton.
The former Trump campaign chairman’s home was raided late last month by FBI agents seeking evidence in a widening probe of his activity before the election — including his financial ties to Russian oligarchs — after his bank records were subpoenaed, reported Bloomberg Politics.
Federal investigators have been examining allegations that Manafort laundered money from Russia Eastern Europe through New York real estate, according to two sources familiar with that inquiry.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating those transactions, along with the purchase of Trump properties by wealthy Russians over the past decade and disgraced national security adviser Mike Flynn’s foreign entanglements.
The predawn raid on Manafort’s Virginia home caught the political adviser and his lawyers off guard, according to Bloomberg Politics, because it came a day after he provided notes to the Senate Intelligence Committee on his meeting with Trump Jr. and the Russian attorney.
The Bloomberg report also seems to indicate that Manafort initially told investigators about that meeting — which the president’s son first denied with his father’s help but then provided emails showing how the meeting was set up.
“In fact, Manafort had alerted authorities to a controversial meeting on June 9, 2016, involving Trump’s son Donald Jr., other campaign representatives and a Russian lawyer promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton, according to people familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg reported. “The president and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were dragged into the matter as details repeatedly emerged that contradicted the initial accounts of that meeting.”
That seems to confirm the New York Times‘ initial July 8 report on the meeting.
“Manafort, the former campaign chairman, also recently disclosed the meeting, and Donald Trump Jr.’s role in organizing it, to congressional investigators who had questions about his foreign contacts, according to people familiar with the events,” the Times reported.
The newspaper based its report on confidential government records based on interviews and documents shared with congressional investigators.
It’s not clear when Manafort told congressional investigators about the meeting, but a Federal Election Commission filing shows the president’s re-election campaign paid Trump Jr.’s attorneys $50,000 for legal consulting 11 days before the Times story broke.
The Bloomberg report also shows that Manafort’s longtime deputy Rick Gates and son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai had also been implicated in the Mueller probe.
Mueller’s team sent grand jury subpoenas in recent weeks to Manafort and Gates seeking global bank records, and Yohai is under investigation for operating an alleged Ponzi scheme.
Attorneys for both Gates and Yohai declined to comment on the report.