Even as Michael Flynn is signaling that he’s willing to testify in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal in exchange for immunity from alleged crimes which include failing to register as a foreign agent, it turns out one of his fellow Donald Trump campaign figures is now being targeted for the same crime. McClatchy is reporting that the FBI is targeting former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for his own failure to register as a foreign agent.
Flynn made waves weeks ago when he tried to retroactively register as a foreign agent of Turkey, acknowledging that he had previously been on the take for more than half a million dollars from a Turkish government intermediary. It’s since come to light that Flynn also failed to register the tens of thousands of dollars he took from a Kremlin-funded television station and Russian business interests. But that pales in comparison to the tens of millions of dollars which Paul Manafort is alleged to have taken from Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire who had explicitly hired him to promote Russian interests.
Now the FBI is targeting Manafort for the money he took from Deripaska, who has close ties to Vladimir Putin. While taking that money, Manafort got Russian puppet Viktor Yanukovych elected as President of Ukraine. Manafort then went on to serve as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman for a long stretch of the campaign, while also briefly serving as his campaign manager.
If the FBI determines that Paul Manafort did indeed break the law by failing to register as a foreign agent for the money he was taking from the Putin intermediary, as McClatchy is reporting (link), then he could end up in race with Flynn to try to get the first immunity deal, which is typically the most generous one. Any such immunity would require providing incriminating evidence against a bigger fish, which in this case would have to be Donald Trump himself. Contribute to Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report