Why is Trump rearranging the deck chairs on his campaign? Because one of those chairs is full of Paul Manafort, and Paul Manafort is not just on Vladimir Putin's payroll:
Fresh details of alleged secret payments allocated for Paul Manafort by the pro-Russian party of Ukraine’s former president have emerged after 12 itemised regime accounting entries, totalling $7.61 million, were obtained by The Times.
He’s also earned that pay.
The senior Ukrainian prosecutor alleges that in 2006 Mr. Manafort orchestrated a series of Anti-Nato, Anti-Kiev protests in Crimea led by Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian Party of Regions—now a designated criminal organisation. The protests forced planned Nato exercises there to be cancelled.
For weeks now, every time the subject of Donald Trump’s Putin fanboyism and Campaign Manager Paul Manafort’s connection to pro-Russian forces in Ukraine has come up, the Trump campaign has tried to wave the allegations away. But these allegations are more than just taking Moscow’s money. More even than helping Putin make a land grab.
And as if that’s not enough, Manafort also helped violate US laws on foreign lobbying and steer Russian money to the US.
Donald Trump's campaign chairman helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party's efforts to influence U.S. policy.
Manafort may have been hidden from the limelight by this morning’s announcement that Trump would put the king of fake videos in charge of his campaign, but … the whole point of this morning’s announcement may have been simply to try and point attention anywhere but Manafort. Too late.
Paul Manafort is going down, and the question will be who goes with him.
Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, another top strategist in Trump's campaign, were working in 2012 on behalf of the political party of Ukraine's then-president, Viktor Yanukovych.
People with direct knowledge of Gates' work said that, during the period when Gates and Manafort were consultants to the Ukraine president's political party, Gates was also helping steer the advocacy work done by a pro-Yanukovych nonprofit that hired a pair of Washington lobbying firms, Podesta Group Inc. and Mercury LLC.
The Trump campaign’s connections to Russia go way beyond Manafort to include an adviser who traveled to Moscow to deliver an anti-American, pro-Putin speech, and even that is the tip of the iceberg. Just this week, Trump continued to push a pro-Russia position in his foreign policy speech, suggesting that the United States go soft on Putin’s strongman in the Middle East, Bashar al-Assad, and pair up with Russia. Trump has also made multiple hints of weakening US support for NATO, of allowing NATO partners to go unprotected, and of gifting Crimea to Putin.
The Trump campaign’s Russian connections are the story they most want to avoid, and they’ll go to any length to distract the media’s attention. But even Donald Trump’s mouth and Stephen Bannon’s website may not be up to the task of distracting from this one.
Donald Trump’s campaign adviser is accused of not just taking millions to promote Russia inside Ukraine, but of purposely plotting to weaken western influence in Ukraine—including United States influence—and hand a critical region to an aggressive Russia. At the same time, he was routing Russian funds into US lobbying firms.
No shouts of “email” are going to distract from that.