Oh how the tables have turned for Hillary Clinton…
The more we learn about the investigation’s origins as to whether the Trump campaign collided with Russia to steal the 2016 election, the more Russian connections connect back to the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
During an interview Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska acknowledged that he paid Christopher Steele (who was hired through an intermediary by the Clinton campaign to compile the infamous and discredited “Steele Dossier” alleging Team Trump colluded with Russia in 2016) for a research project.
“It was a research project to support one of the cases against me in London,” Deripaska told Solomon. “But my understanding was that lawyers trust him for some reason and he was for quite a time on retainer.”
Steele was hired initially by Deripaska in 2012, but the oligarch did not know that he had worked for the FBI. It should be noted that the Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Deripaska and that he is involved in a legal fight over them with the State Department and his failure to obtain a visa to come to the United States.
The suggestion Deripaska paid for Steele has been around for over a year. Lee Smith released an article in Tablet Magazine in February 2018 which included a letter from then-Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley, asking questions about Steele’s own links with Russian authorities.
Solomon wrote in his follow-up post to the interview that Deripaska also confirmed a story he had heard from law enforcement sources a year previously – that in September 2016 the FBI reached out to him for a “fishing” expedition to get dirt on the Trump campaign.
“I told them straightforward, ‘Look, I am not a friend with him [Manafort]. Apparently not, because I started a court case [against him] six or nine months before … . But since I’m Russian I would be very surprised that anyone from Russia would try to approach him for any reason, and wouldn’t come and ask me my opinion,’ ” he said, recounting exactly what he says he told the FBI agents that day.
“I told them straightforward, I just don’t believe that he would represent any Russian interest. And knowing what he’s doing on Ukraine for the last, what, seven or eight years.”
Solomon noted that Deripaska’s FBI interview was reportedly never given to Manafort’s attorneys. Manafort’s defense attorney, Kevin Downing, said the interview, which would be exculpatory evidence, was not handed over.
“Recent revelations by The Hill prove that the Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) claim that they had a legitimate basis to include Paul Manafort in an investigation of potential collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government is false,” Downing told Solomon. “The failure to disclose this information to Manafort, the courts, or the public reaffirms that the OSC did not have a legitimate basis to investigate Manafort, and may prove that the OSC had no legitimate basis to investigate potential collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government.”