FBI Finds No Links Between Trump And Russia, Probing Manafort Instead

With the FBI accused of pushing the Clinton campaign, which as recently as a week ago was seen as invincible as it stormed toward the November 8 presidential election, over the proverbial cliff, it was perhaps inevitable that in order to preserve the appearance of impartiality the Bureau would proceed with a probe of Trump’s own campaign. And, according to NBC which cited law enforcement and intelligence sources, it has done so by focusing on Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and specifically his foreign business connections.

The news of the inquiry, which has not blossomed into a full-blown criminal investigation, emerges just days after FBI Director James Comey’s disclosure that his agency is examining a new batch of emails connected to an aide to Hillary Clinton. It also comes a day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized Comey’s revelation and asserted that Comey possesses “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government.”

As a reminder, Manafort, who resigned as Donald Trump’s campaign manager in August, was previously an international political consultant. He became a liability for the Trump campaign amid reports of his involvement with a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. One damaging New York Times story earlier this year alleged the party had earmarked more than $12 million in under-the-table cash payments, raising questions about whether Manafort had run afoul of U.S. lobbying laws that would he require he register as  “foreign agent” with the Justice Department.

What received far less focus at the time of Manafort resignation, is that as part of the probe, the FBI was also looking into the PR firm of John Podesta’s brother, the Podesta Group founded by prominent democrat Tony Podesta.

But back to Manafort, and the NBC story, which in retrospect is merely a regurgitation of a CNN report from August 19, which reported the exact same thing over two months ago: the FBI did not comment. Manafort told NBC News “none of it is true … There’s no investigation going on by the FBI that I’m aware of.” He said he had never had ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, or had dealings with Putin and his government. He said any suggestion of such ties was “Democratic propaganda.”

“This is all political propaganda, meant to deflect,” he said.

Meanwhile, Democrats have used this renewed opportunity of ties between a former Trump staffer and Russia, or rather Ukraine, to pitch the worn out propaganda line that Trump is nothing more than a KGB plant.

Meanwhile, not content with letting the Russian “angle” drop, on Monday evening, the master of propaganda, John Podesta himself, whose brother would be in the same trouble as Manafort if not more if the FBI were truly probing pro-Russian/Ukrainian lobbying connections, tweeted that “Donald Trump has a secret email server set up to communicate privately with the Russian Alfa Bank.”

Donald Trump has a secret email server set up to communicate privately with the Russian Alfa Bank. https://t.co/7b3E8VbT6c

— John Podesta (@johnpodesta) October 31, 2016

Which is wonderful (granted he may be borrowing a little too heavily from the Hillary Clinton script), the only problem is that at almost exactly the same time, the NYT reported that U.S. Officials Doubt Donald Trump Has Direct Link to Russia.

For much of the summer, the F.B.I. pursued a widening investigation into a Russian role in the American presidential campaign. Agents scrutinized advisers close to Donald J. Trump, looked for financial connections with Russian financial figures, searched for those involved in hacking the computers of Democrats, and even chased a lead — which they ultimately came to doubt — about a possible secret channel of email communication from the Trump Organization to a Russian bank.

Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.

In other words, the FBI itself is telling the Democrat establishment to move on and find a different attack on Putin because the “Putin agent” is getting old. Alas, that means either more tax stories or more allegations of rape, both of which the public appears to no longer care as much about.

Full article: FBI Finds No Links Between Trump And Russia, Probing Manafort Instead (Zero Hedge)

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