Paul Manafort has resigned from Donald Trump’s campaign staff. Prior to his resignation, Manafort’s responsibilities had been scaled back in an attempt to distance his personal scandal from the Trump campaign. In his official capacity as Trump’s campaign chairman it was getting hard to continue to deny that he nor Donald Trump had no current ties to Putin and the Russian Government. Manafort has been plagued by questions regarding his previous work in the Ukraine and payments that seem to have been made to him subsequently.
On Wednesday Donald Trump’s campaign announced a change in leadership. Trump’s new campaign manager is Kellyanne Conway, a highly regarded strategist and pollster. CEO Stephen Bannon, a top executive for Briebart news, has come on board as campaign chief executive.
Then emails from Manafort’s firm hit the news wire showing that Manafort may have contradicted himself when he claimed that he had never lobbied on behalf of Russian political figures in the United States.
Almost as if they had been synchronized, on Friday, Ukrainian anti-corruption investigators released copies of handwritten ledgers indicating more than $12 million in payments simply as ‘Manafort Payment’ or ‘contract’. Paul Manafort denies receiving these funds, maybe it’s more common a last name than we know…( rolls eyes)
Emails surfaced between Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, who is also on Trump’s campaign staff, and the lobbying firm Mercury LLC, proving that DMP International LLC, Manafort’s firm, directly set up a lobbying operation of Ukraine’s top political figures at the time. The operation was created to not only provide legislative outreach opportunities but to attempt to change the average American’s mind about Russia.
Trump announced Manafort’s exit from his campaign on a visit to Louisiana Friday to survey the damage done by the recent floods. The GOP Candidate called his former campaign chief “a true professional.” Trump also added, “I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process.”
If the allegations and paper trail holds up Manafort could be facing legal trouble. Manafort never registered as foreign agent for his work as required under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act. In the capacity of a lobbyist for foreign political figures or political parties, one must provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department’s counterespionage unit. To not do so is a felonious offense and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
While Manafort has resigned, Gates is still on Trump’s campaign staff. He is now moving into the position of liaison to the Republican National Committee. Since the start of his campaign Trump has spent a lot of time speaking on how we should smooth our working relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Russian Government. He has commended the Russian leader or his efficiency and business acumen. It is very interesting to find indication that the head of his campaign was possibly involved in a plot to change the way Americans viewed Russian countries. What better way than through the GOP front runner.
Even more interesting, turns out Neither Manafort nor Gates have been paid by the Trump campaign as of June 30, according to campaign finance reports. Manafort had said multiple times during his tenure on Trump’s campaign that he didn’t expect to be paid for his work on the GOP candidate’s staff. I wonder if it’s because his Russian bosses paid him more than enough.