The Daily Beast reports: Paul Manafort partnered on an $850 million New York real-estate deal with an ally of Vladimir Putin and a Ukrainian moneyman whom the Justice Department recently described as an “organized-crime member.”
That’s according a 2008 memo written by Rick Gates, Manafort’s business partner and fellow alumnus of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. In it, Gates enthused about finalizing with the financing necessary to acquire New York’s louche Drake Hotel.
Two former federal prosecutors told The Daily Beast that the hotel deal was likely to be an item of focus for special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into ties between Trump associates and the Kremlin.
Some White House officials, who spoke to The Daily Beast on condition of anonymity, are also wary. They feel Manafort may have made President Trump more legally vulnerable through his decades of business deals with foreign governments and shady Eastern European power brokers. Those deals, these White House aides suspect, led federal investigators down a money trail that threatens to plunge the Trump White House further into legal jeopardy. [Continue reading…]