(…) “In fact, McCain’s drama involved the same foreign lobbyist Paul Manafort; one of the same Russian oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska; the same Russian diplomat, Sergey Kislyak, and the same wily Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, that now dominate the current Trump controversy.
The FBI has said that there is no evidence to date that Trump ever met with a Russian figure banned from the United States.
McCain actually met twice with Deripaska, a Russian businessman and Putin ally whose visa was blocked by the United States amidst intelligence community concerns about his ties to Moscow. The meetings were arranged by Manafort and his lobbying firm partner Rick Davis, who later would become McCain’s campaign manager, according to interviews and documents. Deripaska, a metals magnet, is president of United Company RUSAL, and is considered to be one of the richest men in the world worth an estimated at $5.1 billion, according to Forbes.“My sense is that Davis and Manafort, who were already doing pro-Putin work against American national interests, were using potential meetings with McCain — who didn’t know this and neither did we until after the fact — as bait to secure more rubles from the oligarchs,” John Weaver, one of McCain’s top advisers at the time, told Circa in an interview this month.
(…) “In 2006, Davis and Manafort arranged two meetings with McCain and Deripaska in group settings while the senator was overseas on official congressional trips.
The first occurred in January 2006 in Davos, Switzerland, where McCain had traveled with fellow Republicans for a global economics conference.
When McCain and his other Senate colleagues, John Sununu and Saxby Chambliss, arrived at an apartment for drinks, Davis was present as a host with Deripaska by his side. A group of about three dozen then went to dinner, McCain and Deripaska included.”
(…) “Davis was McCain’s campaign manager in both 2000 and 2008. Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager for a brief time, resigned in August 2016, over questions of prior work with Ukrainian political parties.
During the 2008 campaign, the Davis Manafort firm disclosed through its U.S. partner Daniel J. Edelman Inc., that it was working for the political party in Ukraine supporting Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who was backed by Putin.
“Davis Manafort International LLC is directed by a foreign political party, the Ukraine Parties of Regions, to consult on the political campaign in Ukraine,” the January2008 ForeignAgent Registration Act filing showed.
The work included developing “a communications campaign to increase Prime Minister Yanukovych’s visibility in the U.S. and Europe,” the report added, indicating that Davis and Manafort were being paid a $35,000 a month retainer for the work that began in spring 2007.” (Read more: Circa, 6/21/2017)