Navalny Links Kremlin to Trump Campaign Aide Paul Manafort

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has published a video investigation claiming that Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska acted as a messenger between U.S. President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort and a top Kremlin foreign policy official, citing footage of a meeting on a yacht.

Paul Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign chief in mid-2016, is suspected of having offered information on the campaign to Kremlin-linked metals tycoon Oleg Deripaska. The offer was seen in Washington as evidence of Russia’s suspected interference in the U.S. presidential elections which saw Trump win the White House.

In his investigation released on Thursday, Navalny said he found the trail in a video posted by a self-described ‘sex huntress‘ on social media depicting Deripaska and Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko aboard a yacht in August 2016.

In July 2016, Manafort offered private briefings to Deripaska on the Trump campaign’s progress in an email, The Washington Post reported last year.

Navalny’s investigation alleges that the footage of Deripaska’s yacht meeting with Prikhodko, who served as a foreign policy advisor to Russian leaders for more than two decades, proves the oligarch’s role as a conduit between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

"[It’s] because these briefings were actually for Putin, the Kremlin, the Federal Security Service," Navalny says in the video, without providing further evidence. The video had gathered some 470,000 views by Thursday afternoon.

Russia’s Central Elections Committee has barred Navalny from running in next month’s presidential elections, in which Putin is widely expected to win his fourth term.

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