Conservative site publishes op-ed penned by Russian oligarch offered private Trump campaign briefings by Manafort
The conservative Daily Caller blog on Thursday afternoon published a column written by a Russian oligarch that was given private briefings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
In the editorial, former Manafort employer and Russian steel magnate Oleg Deripaska claims the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin is a manufactured non-scandal.
“The ever-changing ‘Russia narrative’ in American politics is today’s ‘Wag the Dog’ scenario,” Deripaska wrote, likening the many government investigations into potential Trump-Russia collusion to the 1997 black comedy in which a fictitious American president creates a war with Albania to distract from his own sex scandal.
Deripaska, who Manafort offered to give private updates on the Trump campaign’s status when he was its helm, went on to charge people suspicious of the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia with making it up as a means to boost the military.
Citing his attendance at the Munich security conference in February as evidence, the Russian oligarch charged Democrats bashing “Deep State”-obsessed right wingers with promoting the “military-industrial complex.”
“One of the panelists, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), said: ‘What the Breitbart crowd would call the ‘Deep State’ is what many of us would call ‘knowledgeable professionals,'” Deripaska wrote. “The panel’s uniform message was essentially: Ignore Donald Trump and increase your defense budget to 2 percent, because the generals who are ‘operationalizing policy’ remain in charge.”
“What has been inelegantly termed the ‘Deep State’ is really this: shadow power exercised by a small number of individuals from media, business, government and the intelligence community, foisting provocative and cynically false manipulations on the public,” he continued. “Out of these manipulations, an agenda of these architects’ own design is born.”
Manafort, who has been indicted on 32 counts by Mueller primarily related to bank fraud and his work for a Ukranian political party, wrote to an intermediary just before Trump accepted the Republican nomination that he’d be willing to give Deripaska “private briefings” if he required them. Deripaska sued Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates in January for $25 million in damages stemming from a failed business deal.