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The Russian lawyer at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with President Trump’s top campaign aides and family members said that Donald Trump Jr. asked her if she had evidence of illegal activity related to the Clinton Foundation, according to an NBC report on written answers the lawyer provided to a Senate committee.

The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, said that she had no such evidence to provide Trump Jr., according to the report, and blamed the Trump-connected music promoter who acted as an intermediary in setting up the meeting for the miscommunication.

“Today, I understand why it took place to begin with and why it ended so quickly with a feeling of mutual disappointment and time wasted,” Veselnitskaya said in the questionnaire, according to NBC . “The answer lies in the roguish letters of Mr. [Rob] Goldstone.”

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TPM has obtained what appears to be the draft opinion article that Paul Manafort allegedly helped to ghostwrite, getting him in hot water with federal prosecutors and potentially the judge in his criminal case.

The draft op-ed was provided t0 TPM by Oleg Voloshyn, a former spokesman for Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs under the strongly pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. Voloshyn claims to be its author, a claim first reported Tuesday by Bloomberg.

“I wrote it myself upon my own initiative as I couldn’t stand the allegations by McClatchy that Manafort had tried to derail the European integration although in fact he was its staunchest supporter,” Voloshyn told TPM.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team alleged this week that Manafort and an associate with alleged ties to Russian intelligence —revealed by the New York Times to be Konstantin Kilimnik—ghostwrote the draft op-ed in violation of the judge’s gag order in Manafort’s criminal case. The judge has ordered Manafort to respond to Mueller’s allegations by Thursday.

Voloshyn told Bloomberg he sent a draft of the op-ed to Kilimnik last week. Kilimnik, he said, forwarded it to Manafort, who “advised me to add that the Yanukovych government also worked actively with the U.S. on nuclear disarmament and with NATO,” which Voloshyn said he already knew.

The draft op-ed was submitted to the English-language Ukrainian news outlet called the Kyiv Post, which declined to run it. Editor Brian Bonner called it “highly suspicious” and “blatantly pro-Manafort” in an interview with Bloomberg. TPM emailed Bonner late Tuesday and he had not responded by press time.

Voloshyn responded with further comment after this story was published, saying in strong terms that he had written the op-ed by himself. The Mueller probe, he said, had not even contacted him about his role. He promised to provide TPM with further evidence of the extent of his role in writing the article.

The draft op-ed, which can be read in full at the bottom of this article, could be described as a love letter to Manafort, crediting him with a number of pro-Western advances in Ukraine:

[O]ne shouldn’t ignore the fact that Ukraine under Yanukovych made a number of major steps towards the EU and the West in general. And that Manafort was among those who made those paradoxical accomplishments real.
It was that period when Ukraine finally met US requirements to get rid of the stocks of highly enriched uranium that could have potentially been used to produce nuclear weapons. Ukraine used to be the only non-NATO nation that took part in all peace-keeping and anti-terrorist operations of the Alliance world-wide.
With an eye towards 2015, the Yanukovych government – to the surprise of so many in Moscow – managed to negotiate with the EU huge list of terms of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). No other nation had accomplished this task over such a brief period of time. Yanukovych’s government had the Association Agreement initialed by March of 2012. This pace shocked Moscow.
This sense of commitment to the goal is actually the reason why Russia overreacted in the summer 2013 and imposed the trade blockade with Ukraine.
Following the European track created multiple challenges that would never had been solved by a Ukraine Government except for the consistent promotion of what had to be done by Paul Manafort.

The op-ed is strikingly similar to the way Manafort has defended himself from charges of propping up a tyrant: The US-led denuclearization initiative, the NATO exercises, and the free trade agreement.

“Anyone who takes the time to review the very public record will find that my main activities, in addition to political consulting, were all directed at integrating Ukraine as a member of the European community including assisting the Obama Administration’s effort to denuclearize Ukraine,” Manafort told CBS News’s Major Garrett earlier this year, “expanding military exercises between NATO and Ukraine, and engaging in the process of negotiating the documents which were the basis of Ukraine becoming a part of the EU – the DCFTA and Association Agreements.”

Manafort was instrumental in bringing Yanukovych to power. Yanukovych’s administration and his political party, The Party of Regions, was widely seen as not merely friendly to but controlled by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Putin reportedly sent advisers to help Yanukovych with a previous, unsuccessful presidential bid. Where they failed, Manafort succeeded, and since then he has sought to explain his motives—beyond the millions of dollars he was paid—in terms that will seem familiar to anyone who reads the op-ed Voloshyn provided.

Manafort’s spokesperson did not respond to TPM by press time. Mueller’s office declined to comment.


European Integration Unknown Soldier

By: Oleg Voloshyn, former spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

 EU – Ukraine Association Agreement might have never appeared but for a person now falsely accused of lobbying Russian interests.

The night of March 4, 2010 turned out to be a nervous one for the staff of Ukrainian embassy in Moscow where I used to be a press-attaché.

The first visit to Russia of newly elected president Viktor Yanukovych was on the brink of cancellation. The Kremlin wouldn’t grant the already scheduled visit an official status. Russian state media also cancelled earlier agreed interviews with members of Yanukovych team. The explanation was rather simple although possibly unusual for contemporary observers who had a mistaken and simplified perception of the fourth Ukrainian president: Russian leadership was annoyed at Yanukovych’s decision to pay his first visit after inauguration to Brussels before heading to Moscow.

Even Yushchenko in 2005 did the opposite. There was one person the Russians blamed for this “treason of special relationship with brother nation”: the political consultant to Viktor Yanukovych, American strategist Paul Manafort.Manafort persuaded Yanukovych that going first to Brussels would demonstrate to all that as President, Yanukovych intended to bring the changes required to allow Ukraine to apply for formal membership in the European Union.

Manafort brought to the Ukrainian political consultancy business a very important rule: An effective leader needs to be consistent as a President with his promises as a candidate. In his Presidential campaign VY made it clear that it was important for Ukraine to maintain its historical and cultural relationship with Russia. However, Yanukovich had also promised to implement the changes that would begin the modernization of Ukraine that would be necessary for Ukraine to become a part of the EU. The Brussels trip sent this signal loudly and clearly to all – including Russia.

I can’t but stipulate that Yanukovich was a bad president and crook who by the end of his rule had effectively lost credibility even of his staunchest supporters. And finally betrayed them and fled to Russia only to see Ukraine fall in the hands of other kleptocrats now disguised as hooray-patriots and nationalists. But with all that said one shouldn’t ignore the fact that Ukraine under Yanukovych made a number of major steps towards the EU and the West in general. And that Manafort was among those who made those paradoxical accomplishments real.

It was that period when Ukraine finally met US requirements to get rid of the stocks of highly enriched uranium that could have potentially been used to produce nuclear weapons. Ukraine used to be the only non-NATO nation that took part in all peace-keeping and anti-terrorist operations of the Alliance world-wide.

With an eye towards 2015, the Yanukovych government – to the surprise of so many in Moscow – managed to negotiate with the EU huge list of terms of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). No other nation had accomplished this task over such a brief period of time. Yanukovych’s government had the Association Agreement initialed by March of 2012. This pace shocked Moscow.

This sense of commitment to the goal is actually the reason why Russia overreacted in the summer 2013 and imposed the trade blockade with Ukraine.

Following the European track created multiple challenges that would never had been solved by a Ukraine Government except for the consistent promotion of what had to be done by Paul Manafort.

Legislation such as Criminal-Administrative Code built on fundamentally new principles consistent with the Western practices and lauded by the Western institutions is one of the vivid examples.

Even at the end of the process Manafort was engaged in helping the Europeans and the Ukrainians negotiate the final terms.

Just three months before the summit it was the EU, not Yanukovych, who hesitated whether to sign the document or not. And Manafort contributed a lot to change of mood in Brussels and major European capitals while at the same time keeping Ukraine focused on finalizing the details of the DCFTA and Association Agreement. He was doing this while Russia was imposing the trade embargo and threatening even more drastic punishment to discourage Yanukovych from getting into DCFTA with the EU.

With all that said I can only wonder why some American media dare falsely claim that Paul Manafort lobbied Russian interests in Ukraine and torpedoed AA signing. Without his input Ukraine would not have had the command focus on reforms that were required to be a nation candidate to the EU.

All listed here facts can be easily verified. If only one pursues the truth. Not tends to twist the reality in line with his or her conviction that the dubious goal of undermining Trump’s presidency justifies most dishonest means.

This post has been updated.

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One of President Trump’s personal lawyers is pushing back on reports that Deutsche Bank had received a subpoena for information related to Trump and his family’s financial records in a statement that the White House is also pointing to, when asked about the reports.

“We have confirmed that the news reports that the Special Counsel had subpoenaed financial records relating to the president are false,” Jay Sekulow said in a statement. “No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”

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Buried amid the news avalanche that erupted when former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn admitted Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia was confirmation of key details of his work for another foreign nation: Turkey.

Flynn was not charged for his lobbying on behalf of Turkish interests, and his statement of offense made no mention of his alleged involvement in an outlandish plot to kidnap a Muslim cleric. But Flynn admitted that his belated application to register as a foreign agent for his Turkey lobbying was riddled with lies, and that he failed to divulge that the highest levels of Turkey’s government were behind his work.

According to court documents, “Flynn made materially false statements and omissions” in his Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filing with the Justice Department entered in March, shortly after he was forced out of the White House.

As Flynn admitted, the FARA filing falsely stated that his firm, the Flynn Intel Group, “did not know whether or the extent to which the Republic of Turkey was involved” in a project undertaken during the 2016 election to smear Fethullah Gulen, an exiled cleric living in the U.S. and loathed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Flynn also omitted “that officials from the Republic of Turkey provided supervision and direction” over the project and falsely claimed that his Election Day op-ed in The Hill calling for Gulen’s removal from the U.S. wasn’t part of that work.

Despite these remarkable admissions, Flynn, who is now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, remained defiant. In a statement released after he entered a guilty plea in Washington, D.C. federal court Friday, the retired general called months of reports on his alleged “’treason’ and other outrageous acts” “false” and “contrary to everything I have ever done.”

Flynn Intel Group’s former lobbying client, businessman Ekim Alptekin, is adamantly denying the substance of Flynn’s admissions.

“The Turkish Government did NOT provide supervision or direction to the work I commissioned from Flynn Intel Group,” Alptekin, who paid Flynn some $530,000 for the anti-Gulen work and has close ties to Turkey’s government, wrote on Twitter.

“I cannot understand why Mr. Flynn chose to ‘admit’ a falsehood,” he continued. “My interactions with Mr. Flynn & his colleagues were legal and aboveboard.”

One such interaction involved inviting Flynn to a September 2016 meet with Turkey’s foreign minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law and the country’s energy minister to discuss forcibly transporting Gulen back to his native land, according to the Wall Street Journal. Erdogan believes Gulen masterminded a failed coup attempt against him last summer, and the cleric’s return to Turkey is one of his top priorities, though his government denies he would use extralegal means to secure it.

Flynn also reportedly met with unidentified senior Turkish officials weeks before inauguration to talk about orchestrating the return of Gulen and securing the release of imprisoned Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab in exchange for over $15 million.

The Zarrab case is another sharp thorn in Turkey’s side. Zarrab, who is cooperating with the U.S. federal government, has testified in court that Erdogan and other top politicians engaged in an elaborate scheme to evade U.S. sanctions.

It’s unclear if Zarrab’s testimony could have any implications for Flynn or the Mueller investigation, but his case has intensified rocky relations between the U.S. and Turkey.

In fiery comments to members of his ruling Justice and Development Party reported by Reuters Saturday, Erdogan said that U.S. courts “can never try my country.”

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A Justice Department report released Tuesday shows Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation spending $3.2 million between its formation in mid-May and the end September.

The bulk of those expenditures are on personnel, with $1.2 million spent on DOJ employees reassigned to Mueller’s team and about $500,000 on others brought in on the investigation.

A release from the Special Counsel’s Office says that new expenditure reports will be released every six months, with the next one coming on March 30, 2018.

Beyond the $3.2 million being spent directly by Mueller’s team, an additional $3.5 million was spent by other entities in the DOJ that are involved in investigations supporting Mueller’s probe. That spending “approximates expenditures the components would have incurred for the investigations irrespective of the existence of the SCO,” the report said.

Read the full report below:

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In their scramble to explain a President Trump tweet that seemed to inadvertently support obstruction of justice allegations against himself, sources close to the White House have put out new details about interactions between former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and White House Counsel Don McGahn concerning former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, according to reports by the Washington Post and CNN.

Both reports, however, highlight what appears to be discrepancy between McGahn’s account of their conversations, and what Yates and others close to her have said.

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The German bank that has lent President Trump hundreds of millions of dollars over the years was subpoenaed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Reuters and Bloomberg reported. Deutsche Bank received a subpoena “several weeks ago” for financial records related to Trump and his family, unnamed sources told the outlets.

“Deutsche Bank always cooperates with investigating authorities in all countries,” the bank told Bloomberg in a statement Tuesday that did not provide any additional information.

The move signifies Mueller’s willingness to cross what Trump and his allies have deemed to be a red line in the investigations into Russian election interference by looking into the President’s finances.

“I think that’s a violation,” Trump told the New York Times in July, though he declined to say whether he would fire Mueller if that line was crossed.

Democrats have sought unsuccessfully to obtain Trump’s Deutsche Bank records as part of their congressional probes. According to Bloomberg, the bank’s management is now more willing to share those records, and Deutsche Bank conducted its own internal analysis that found no evidence that its dealings with Trump were connected to the so-called Russian mirror trades affair, an alleged money laundering scheme to funnel Russian money out of the country.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intel committee, called the reported move a “a very significant development.”

“If Russia laundered money through the Trump Organization, it would be far more compromising than any salacious video and could be used as leverage against Donald Trump and his associates and family,” he said.

Update: This story has been updated to include a statement from House Intel ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

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So many of them knew.

As court filings and emails emerge from the Mueller probe and dogged reporting, Trump officials who denied that Michael Flynn would stoop to renegotiating the outgoing administration’s sanctions on Russia turn out to have been privately informed of Flynn’s pre-inauguration diplomacy in real time.

The Trump camp’s public posture about Flynn’s proposal to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak not to retaliate for Obama’s new sanctions has been a rapidly moving target. The conversation didn’t take place at all, according to unnamed Trump administration sources in January. Or they did, but the two didn’t talk about sanctions. Or they were about sanctions, but only in the context of “outreach to foreign dignitaries,” as White House lawyer Ty Cobb put it.

“It would have been political malpractice not to discuss sanctions,” Cobb told the New York Times in a report published Saturday. There is “nothing to hide,” according to the President on Monday, which doesn’t go very far to explain why so many spent so long trying to hide it.


Jan. 12: A column by the Washington Post’s David Ignatius revealed for the first time that Flynn and Kislyak spoke to each other on Dec. 29, the day President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on the Kremlin for interfering in the 2016 election. Though the column did not report what Flynn and Kislyak discussed, Ignatius asked whether Flynn’s comments could have “undercut the U.S. sanctions” and if the spirit of the Logan Act was “violated.”

Jan. 13: The Trump transition team rushed to respond and in doing so seemed to elide the existence of the Dec. 29 call, focusing instead on other, allegedly more anodyne calls between Flynn and Kislyak.

An update to the Ignatius column provided comment from one unnamed transition official who said that Flynn and Kislyak had spoken by phone twice, including a call on Dec. 28, but that the calls were before sanctions were announced and didn’t touch on that topic. A second Trump official told Ignatius that there was a Dec. 28 call in which Kislyak invited a Trump administration official to attend a January conference in Kazakhstan.

Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer provided an on-the-record response to the Ignatius column in a call with pool reporters. Spicer said that the conversations focused on exchanging holiday greetings.

“On Christmas Day, General Flynn reached out to the ambassador, sent him a text, and it said, you know, I want to wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I look forward to touching base with you and working with you. And I wish you all the best,” Spicer said in the press call. “The ambassador texted him back, wishing him a Merry Christmas as well, and then subsequently, on the 28th of December, texted him and said, I’d like to give you a call, may I? He then took that call on the 28th, and the call centered around the logistics of setting up a call with the president of Russia and the president-elect after he was sworn in. And they exchanged logistical information on how to initiate and to schedule that call. That was it. Plain and simple.”

Jan. 15: Vice President-elect Mike Pence adamantly denied that Flynn discussed sanctions in an extended interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“I talked to General Flynn about that conversation and actually was initiated on Christmas Day he had sent a text to the Russian ambassador to express not only Christmas wishes but sympathy for the loss of life in the airplane crash that took place,” Pence said, echoing Spicer.

“It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation,” Pence continued. “They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.”

Pence pioneered the one Trump administration talking point it has stuck to: talking to “diplomatic leaders, security leaders in some 30 countries” was “exactly what the incoming national security adviser should do.”

“The subject matter of sanctions or the actions taken by the Obama did not come up in the conversation,” incoming White House Chief of Staff  Reince Priebus said in his own interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” claiming he’d discussed the issue with Flynn.

“In fact, it was the sports team that was in an unfortunate plane accident,” Priebus continued. “They talked about setting up a phone call after inauguration. And they also talked about a conference in Syria, or a conference in regard to ISIS in Syria. So those were the only subjects that came up.”

An unnamed transition official affirmed Pence’s remark about Flynn and Kislyak not discussing sanctions to CNN in a story published the same day.

Jan. 24: The FBI interviewed Flynn at the White House about his contacts with Kislyak, and Flynn was less than truthful. Flynn would later plead guilty to lying to the FBI that day about the content of his conversations with Kislyak, including the Dec. 29 call discussing sanctions.

Jan. 26: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates met with White House Counsel Don McGahn to tell him that White House officials were giving comment “related to conduct that General Flynn had been involved in that we knew not to be the truth,” as she later testified. Yates told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that she expressed grave concern about Flynn’s “underlying conduct” and the fact that the national security adviser “was compromised by the Russians.” The White House said that McGahn recounted his exchange with Yates to Trump immediately.

Feb. 8: In an interview with the Washington Post, Flynn twice responded to questions that he had discussed sanctions with Kislyak with a flat “no.”

Feb. 9: The Post published a story including those Feb. 8 denials, and confirming that Flynn discussed sanctions with Kislyak during the transition. Though the Post story did not specifically cite the Dec. 29 phone call, it reported that Flynn’s communications with Kislyak were under scrutiny by the FBI. The article included a line from Flynn’s spokesman who said that the retired general now “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be sure that the topic never came up.”

Feb. 13: Hours before his dismissal, Flynn gave an extraordinary interview to the Daily Caller, contradicting his denials to the Post, in which he admitted to discussing Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats to retaliate for Russia’s election meddling, but denied crossing any lines.

“If I did, believe me, the FBI would be down my throat, my clearances would be pulled. There were no lines crossed,” Flynn insisted.

Though he claimed the discussion “wasn’t about sanctions,” he admitted it “was about the 35 guys who were thrown out”—which was, in fact, part of the sanctions. “So that’s what it turned out to be. It was basically, ‘Look, I know this happened. We’ll review everything.’ I never said anything such as, ‘We’re going to review sanctions,’ or anything like that.”

The Dec. 29 call “was not to relieve sanctions,” he reiterated. “It was basically to say, ‘Look, we’re coming into office in a couple of weeks. Give us some time to take a look at everything.’”

Feb. 14: The day after Flynn’s firing, Spicer spent the daily press briefing insisting there was nothing suspect about the ousted official’s foreign contacts.

“The job of the incoming NSA is to sit down with the counterparts and start that dialogue, and that’s exactly what he did,” Spicer said, noting that the transition “would constantly read out” reports of “who he was speaking to, how he was getting ready.”

“There’s nothing that the general did that was a violation of any sort,” he responded to a subsequent question. “He was well within his duties to discuss issues of common concern between the two countries.”

The firing was a direct response to “misleading the Vice President and others, and not having a firm grasp on his recollection of that,” Spicer said.

The same day, The New Yorker reported that an anonymous source had described Reince Priebus supposedly angrily dressing down Flynn until Flynn cracked and admitted to possibly discussing sanctions.*

Feb. 16: President Trump gave a wide-ranging press conference in the White House’s East Room defending Flynn as a “fine person” and saying he was simply unhappy with the way “a certain amount of information [was] given to Vice President Pence.”

“Did you direct Mike Flynn to discuss the sanctions with the Russian ambassador?” a reporter asked.

“No, I didn’t,” Trump said. “No I didn’t.”

“Did you fire him because—” a reporter followed up.

“No, I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence, very simple,” Trump interjected. “Mike [Flynn] was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts. So it certainly would have been okay with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it. I didn’t direct him but I would have directed him because that’s his job.”

Feb. 19: Priebus gave a pair of interviews claiming that the White House only learned of the sanctions discussions after days of “sort of deposing Michael Flynn.”

“He maintained the fact that he never talked to the Russian ambassador about sanctions,” Priebus told NBC’s “Meet the Press” of their initial conversations. “But still, something wasn’t adding up. And eventually, we determined that he did, in fact, talk about the sanctions, even though we didn’t believe that it was illegal.”

Priebus was also subjected to an extended grilling from CBS “Face The Nation” host John Dickerson, who asked six times if it was actually appropriate to discuss sanctions or if Trump thought it was.

“There is nothing wrong with having a conversation about sanctions,” Priebus finally said. “And there was nothing wrong about having a conversation about the fact that the Obama administration put further sanctions in place and expelled some folks out of the United States. There is nothing wrong with that topic coming up in a conversation.”


Flynn’s guilty plea Friday for lying to the FBI about the extent of his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak revealed a much more extensive sequence of conversations. It was Jared Kushner, identified in the Mueller probe’s statement of offense as “a very senior official” of the Trump transition team, who first asked Flynn to contact Kislyak, at the time in response to a U.N. resolution condemning the expansion of Israeli settlements, which Kushner wanted delayed or defeated.

When Obama sanctioned Russia on Dec. 28 for its interference in the 2016 elections, Mueller’s team wrote, Kislyak had called Flynn. On the 29th Flynn reached out to “a senior official of the presidential transition team,” identified by the AP as K. T. McFarland, who became Trump’s deputy national security adviser (now his nominee for ambassador to Singapore), who was at Mar-a-Lago with the president-elect and senior members of the transition team.

The two “discussed that members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation” and ultimately decided to ask Kislyak not to escalate sanctions; Kislyak complied, and Russian president Vladimir Putin announced the next day that he would not retaliate, according to the Mueller probe’s statement of the offense filed against Flynn.

The New York Times reported Saturday on an email about Flynn’s discussion with Kislyak from McFarland. Her email about Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak went to Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Tom Bossert and at least five other Trump advisers.

In her email, McFarland was explicit. “As part of the outreach, Ms. McFarland wrote, Mr. Flynn would be speaking with the Russian ambassador, Mr. Kislyak, hours after Mr. Obama’s sanctions were announced,” the Times reported.

McFarland also outlined what she believed was the anti-Trump strategy concealed in the sanctions by the Obama administration, designed to “box trump in diplomatically with russia.”

*Priebus, according to Saturday’s Times report, was CC’ed on the email from McFarland discussing Flynn’s sanctions-related talking points with Kislyak and would very likely have had the evidence he was supposedly seeking in his email.

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The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is calling for KT McFarland to “clarify” testimony she gave the committee on what she knew about former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador before she receives a floor vote confirming her as an ambassador to Singapore.

“Senator Cardin believes that before Senators are asked to vote on her nomination, Ms. McFarland should publicly clarify the information she said and sent to the Committee that now appears to be incomplete,” Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D-MD) spokesperson told TPM in a statement. “The onus is on her.”

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The agreement that Paul Manafort and Special Counsel Robert Mueller had seemed to have come to on releasing him from home arrest has fallen apart due to what prosecutors described in court filings Monday as an op-ed Manafort was “ghostwriting” with a Russia-based colleague “regarding his political work for Ukraine.”

The colleague has been “assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service,” prosecutors said, and the writing of the op-ed was in violation of a prohibition the judge had put on the case banning the parties from communicating through the media.

They were drafting the op-ed “as late as November 30, 2017,” the prosecutors claimed.

Last week, Manafort’s attorneys filed a bail package proposal that indicated that they and Mueller had hashed out a deal, a month after Manafort turned himself him, on the terms of his release.

In Monday’s filing, Mueller’s team acknowledged that they had come to that agreement —albeit with a few more conditions that Manafort’s attorneys had not mentioned in their brief — but later that day “learned facts that are pertinent to the bail determination before the Court.”

Prosecutors indicated to the court that they wanted to file the op-ed draft in question under seal.

“Even if the ghostwritten op-ed were entirely accurate, fair, and balanced, it would be a violation of this Court’s November 8 Order if it had been published,” they said. “The editorial clearly was undertaken to influence the public’s opinion of defendant Manafort, or else there would be no reason to seek its publication (much less for Manafort and his long-time associate to ghostwrite it in another’s name). It compounds the problem that the proposed piece is not a dispassionate recitation of the facts.”

Read the filing below:

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