Paul Manafort says Russians failed to influence him in 2016 election hacking, but did they really? Russians routinely use unwitting agents.
“If there ever was any effort by Russians to influence me, I was unaware, and they would have failed,” Mr. Manafort said in a statement. “I did not collude with the Russians to influence the elections.”
Whether the Russians worked directly with any Trump advisers is one of the central questions that federal investigators, now led by Robert S. Mueller III, the newly appointed special counsel, are seeking to answer. President Trump, for his part, has dismissed talk of Russian interference in the election as “fake news,” insisting there was no contact between his campaign and Russian officials. Read the story from the New York Times here.
The New York Times is reporting that top Russian officials discussed how to influence Trump aides last summer involving Paul Manafort. A former partner of Manafort, Russian aluminum oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska is now seeking immunity for his testimony. Read the current story from the New York Times here.
In his excellent testimony March 30 before the Senate intelligence committee, Thomas Rid, a professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, explains how Russia has perfected the art of exploiting unwitting agents. The Atlantic explains how Russians dupe people into unwitting agents here.