Fresh on the news that Trump’s Chief Financial guy being a crook, and the head of the Trump Superpack being one of the mega-bank predators who foreclosed on 45,000 homes…
We have Putin’s boy as a Trump Adviser.
“An intelligence classification vetting nightmare scenario.”
With Donald Trump on the brink of receiving classified security briefings from the Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. foreign policy figures of both parties are raising concerns about a close Trump aide’s ties to allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump’s top adviser, Paul Manafort, has spent much of his recent career working for pro-Russian forces in Ukraine, and doing complex deals for an oligarch with close ties to Putin. And while a Democratic senator has already charged Trump is not responsible enough to receive secret information, Manafort’s deep relationships with top pro-Russian figures raise special concerns.
Manafort may be best known for managing the 2010 campaign of Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian politician whose ouster as president prompted a Russian invasion of the country. He has, according to court documents, managed tens ofmillions of dollars for Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch denied entry to the U.S. reportedly for ties to organized crime, but so close to Vladimir Putin that top Russian officials fought (unsuccessfully) to get him a visa.
Gary Schmitt, a former Reagan Administration official now at the American Enterprise Institute, said he believed Manafort’s ties merit extra scrutiny.
“If Trump is to be given access to sensitive intelligence, which can’t help but implicitly involve even more sensitive information about ‘sources and methods,’ then it’s imperative that any campaign staff who have had commercial ties with foreign governments and politicians not be given access as well until they have gone through a full, thorough background check — not the typical perfunctory review,” he said.
“Given his dubious foreign connections, it’s fair to assume that many in the intelligence and national security community would be extremely wary of him handling or receiving material at even the lowest level of classification,” said Adam Blickstein, a former aide to former Obama defense secretary Robert Gates.
Presidential nominees have been given access to classified briefings for decades, a tradition aimed at ensuring that they are prepared for the presidency, as well as that their campaign rhetoric not depart from secret realities.
Bradley Moss, a national security lawyer in Washington, D.C., said the process typically begins with the formal nomination, at the Republican National Convention, followed by a memorandum of understanding with the General Services Administration, a federal agency, that will offer him access to a “sanitized version of the president’s daily briefing.”
A staffer to Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign said that both Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan received detailed briefings from members of the same CIA team that briefs Obama. The briefings were conducted at secure facilities in Washington and elsewhere.
The aides were rushed through an intense security-clearance process, and while the Trump campaign didn’t respond to an inquiry about which aide would join Trump in the briefings, people familiar with the process said it is difficult to imagine Manafort clearing such a process.