The Associated Press has reported that former Trump campaign head Paul Manafort will be included in a special investigation that may also involve Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for their role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey as part of a larger inquiry of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is set to testify before the Senate next week, was appointed by Rosenstein in May to take over the investigation for the Justice Department. Manafort was already under investigation by the federal government for his dealings in the Eastern European country of Ukraine before the 2016 presidential election.
Manafort’s history with Russian and Ukrainian business associates began as early as 2004, but it wasn’t until 2014 that the Justice Department took notice of his involvement in the region. His clients included a political boss of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s party, a Russian business associate named Oleg Deripaska and an old friend of Russian president Vladmir Putin.
As far as the possibility of investigating Sessions role in the Comey debacle, Deputy Attorney General told AP it may be within Mueller’s authority to investigate the former Alabama senator.
“The order is pretty clear,” Rosenstein said. “It gives him authority for the investigation and anything arising out of that investigation, and so Director Mueller will be responsible in the first instance for determining what he believes falls into that mandate.”
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, announced last week that Comey will testify before both privately and publicly on Thursday, June 8.
In related news, The Guardian reported Friday that former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farange, who campaigned for Donald Trump, is a “person of interest” in the U.S. investigation of Russian interference due to his association with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Trump adviser Roger Stone, who admitted to communicating with Guccifer 2.0.
“One of the things the intelligence investigators have been looking at is points of contact and persons involved,” a source close to the investigation said. “If you triangulate Russia, WikiLeaks, Assange and Trump associates the person who comes up with the most hits is Nigel Farage.”
“He’s right in the middle of these relationships,” the source continued. “He turns up over and over again. There’s a lot of attention being paid to him.”
[AP] [The Guardian] [Photo courtesy Carlo Allegri/Reuters via ABC News]