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Paul Manafort, Rick Gates
In this July 17, 2016 file photo, Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland as Rick Gates listens at back left. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Manafort offered to give a Russian billionaire 'private briefings' on the 2016 race, according to reports



President Donald Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, offered a Russian billionaire briefings on the 2016 presidential race less than two weeks before Trump became the Republican nominee, <b>The Washington Post reported Wednesday</b>.

The man in question, Oleg Deripaska, was closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to the report.

The offer was made via a July 7, 2016 email.

“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote in the messages, which were provided to The Washington Post.

They were also turned over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of <b>his team's probe </b>into Russian meddling in the election.

It is unclear how Deripaska responded or if the briefings ever took place.

Manafort's spokesman Jason Maloni told The Washington Post the exchanges reflected an “innocuous” effort to collect past debts owed to Manafort by various Eastern European clients.

Maloni said no briefings with Deripaska ever took place, but that, in his email, Manafort was offering what would have been a “routine” briefing on the state of the campaign.

Early Wednesday, The New York Times reported Mueller was requesting<b> White House documents</b> surrounding Trump's actions once sworn in, including firing former F.B.I. director James Comey.

This report was provided by Eleanor Mueller of Sinclair Broadcast Group.

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