White House Distances President Trump from Paul Manafort

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The White House continues to distance President Donald Trump from former campaign manager Paul Manafort as the Associated Press reported more details of his paid work for Russian interests.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on a person who is not a White House employee,” Sean Spicer told reporters Wednesday morning.

The Associated Press revealed a 2005 memo to Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally, proposing a plan to influence the United States in favor of Russian interests. Manafort signed a $10 million annual contract in 2006 with Deripaska.

Manafort denies representing Russian political interests as part of the contract.

“I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments,” Manafort said. “My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russian political interests.”

Manafort was an unpaid campaign manager for Donald Trump from March — August 2016, resigning two days after Breitbart News executive chair Steve Bannon was hired to manage the campaign.

On Monday, Spicer told reporters that Manafort “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time” in the campaign.

When reporters asked him if the White House was aware of any contact between Russian operatives, Spicer replied, “No.”