The Daily Beast reports: The White House on Wednesday insisted that the president had no idea his former campaign chairman had worked to advance the interests of the Russian government when he was hired last year.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer dismissed “insane” suggestions that Trump might have known about Paul Manafort’s past work for a Kremlin-linked Russian oligarch—noting that his work in Russia was public record.
And it would have been, if Manafort filled out the proper forms. But he didn’t, and he’s now facing allegations of a federal crime as a result.
Spicer’s comments followed an Associated Press report revealing that Manafort worked for Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. Under his $10 million annual contract, Manafort pursued policies to “greatly benefit” Putin’s government, according to the AP report.
Spicer insisted that the news has no bearing on an ongoing FBI investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.
His comments came a day after he sought to downplay Manafort’s involvement with the 2016 campaign. On Tuesday, Spicer said the former campaign chairman “played a very limited role” on the campaign.
Spicer brushed aside questions on Wednesday about whether Trump should have known about Manafort’s past dealings with an adversarial foreign government, even as he described that work, and Manafort’s representation of other governments, as readily available information. [Continue reading…]