Paul Manafort’s business partner, Rick Gates testified against Obama’s counsel on Thursday and testified that Greg Craig had leaked information to the NYT to help prop up Russia supported leader of Ukraine.
He testified that there were some things Craig had refused to participate in but that he most certainly broke the law. While he was at it, he took time to throw Tony Podesta under the bus. Gates testified that Podesta knowingly worked with a company that was a front for the Russia backed leader of Ukraine.
Podesta had been given immunity from prosecution, but that was only for what he said before congress.
While Craig isn’t charged with failing to register as a foreign agent, a key issue at the trial is whether he was honest with Justice Department officials about his role in release of the report, which included providing an advance, embargoed version of the review to the veteran New York Times national securityreporter David Sanger.
Gates maintained, however, that the decision to go to The Times through Craig had the desired effect.
“The overall strategy worked. … The article wasn’t the greatest, but at least it was viewed neutrally, so it did have an impact,” Gates said. “From our viewpoint, the success of it was very great.”
Gates conceded that Craig ultimately refused to participate in many of the rollout-related activities that were part of the various plans, but the Manafort aide was emphatic that Craig’s contact with Sanger was a part of the Ukraine team’s broader effort.
“Did Mr. Craig carry out the role that he had promised to carry out in relation to The New York Times?” prosecutor Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez asked.
“He did,” Gates said.
Gates also testified Thursday that, to his knowledge, Craig was the first to raise the possibility of essentially leaking the report to Sanger.
“Mr. Craig had named a reporter from The New York Times as somebody who … he had a specific relationship with that could help with that effort,” Gates said. “He said Mr. Sanger is a tough reporter but a fair reporter, and we wouldn’t necessarily get a good article, but he’s very credible in the space.”
Gates said Craig never said in detail how he knew Sanger. “He just said historically,” Gates said.
Gates also testified that there was some secrecy surrounding the selection of Sanger, at least for a time.