Senator Warns It’s Critical to Declassify Info on ‘Grave Counterintelligence Threat’ Paul Manafort

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After news that former Trump campaign chairman and convicted felon Paul Manafort might rejoin Donald Trump’s campaign, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore) asked the DNI to declassify a Senate report with details about Manafort’s relationship with Russian government operatives.

“It is critical that these details be made public to the greatest extent possible,” Wyden wrote to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. “As the Committee recommended, the public should be informed as soon as a foreign influence campaign is detected. In this case, a known ‘grave counterintelligence threat’ is reportedly joining a presidential campaign. Only by understanding the details of that threat can the public guard against a malign foreign influence effort that could once again threaten an American election.”

Pointing out that the Senate report identified Manafort as a conduit between the Trump Campaign and Russia, Wyden continued:


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I write to request that you declassify information from Volume 5 of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on Russian Active Measures Campaigns and Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election (Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities). Specifically, I request the declassification of information related to Paul Manafort, who reportedly is expected to take a position in Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign (“Trump may enlist Paul Manafort, who was criticized for Russia ties,” Washington Post, March 18, 2024)

According to the public version of the bipartisan report:

“The Committee found that Manafort’s presence on the [2016] Campaign and proximity to Trump created opportunities for Russian intelligence services to exert influence over, and acquire confidential information on, the Trump Campaign. Taken as a whole, Manafort’s high-level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services, particularly [Konstantin] Kilimnik and associates of Oleg Deripaska, represented a grave counterintelligence threat.”

Full letter: Here

The backstory:

Josh Dawsey at the Washington Post reported that Manafort is in talks to return to the Trump “campaign.”

Trump’s campaign operation is not the usual political campaign, given that Donald Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election, refused to honor the peaceful transfer of power, and incited what Director Wray called a terrorist attack against his own country in an effort to maintain power.

Manafort “had accepted a plea deal in the case in September 2018, admitting to money laundering, tax fraud and illegal foreign lobbying connected to his years working for Ukrainian politicians,” the American Bar Associationreported. “Manafort also admitted lying to investigators and under oath before a grand jury about his contact with a Russian associate during the 2016 campaign, breaking the plea agreement.”

In 2019, Manafort was convicted of conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses, in what was the first case from Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to go to trial. Manafort was one of 34 individuals and a number of corporations to be indicted in the investigation.

Donald Trump pardoned Paul Manafort in December of 2020, after he lost the 2020 election and just days before he would incite an insurrection against his own country in an attempt to maintain power.

While there is always the concern of not panicking the public as well as trying to keep hostile foreign powers from ready access to our intelligence, the public should be informed about the nature and extent of the danger posed by this convicted criminal Donald Trump chose to lead his 2016 campaign — especially in light of his ties to Russia as Russia seeks to weaken Ukraine by getting the U.S. to stop its aid and support of the country after Putin invaded it illegally.

Russia also seeks to undermine western democracies like the United States, and therefore any person running for president of the U.S. should not be associating with Russian operatives.

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