U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies are looking at interceptions of both communications and financial transactions as part of “a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump,” according to a new report by the New York Times.
Citing former and current senior American officials, the Times said that Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is one of the Trump associates included in the investigation. Prior to his work with Mr. Trump, Manafort was an advisor to Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician.
Former Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page is also a subject of the investigation, according to the report, as is longtime Republican strategist and longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone. Like Manafort, Stone was fired from the Trump campaign.
Manafort told CBS News’ Major Garrett in an email, “The pro-Russian narrative about me being pro-Russia and interacting with the Russian Government is a Democrat Party dirty trick and completely false. I have never had any relationship with the Russian Government or any Russian officials.
I was never in contact with anyone, or directed anyone to be in contact with anyone, on the ‘Russian hacking of the DNC’ and my only knowledge of it is what I have read in the papers.”
According to the Times, the investigation is at least in part focusing on the business dealings that some of Mr. Trump’s past and present advisers have had with Russia.
The Times report also says that it’s not clear whether the intercepted communications were at all related to Mr. Trump’s campaign, or to Mr. Trump.
Manafort also said that his activity in Ukraine “focused on the westernization of Ukraine.”
He added: “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, 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.”
The DCFTA is the Deep Comprehensive Free Trade Area.