I’m not sure Trump is tossing this guy under the bus after replacing him or if the media just has it in for him, but the Associated Press is reporting that Manafort was running a campaign for the pro-Russian party in Ukraine, and he didn’t report it as required by law. And just for fun, he lied about it to the American public on a Sunday News show too.
A firm run by Donald Trump’s campaign chairman directly orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government, emails obtained by The Associated Press show. Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, never disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law.
The lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. Another goal: undercutting American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraine’s then-president. At the time, European and American leaders were pressuring Ukraine to free her.
Gates personally directed the work of two prominent Washington lobbying firms in the matter, the emails show. He worked for Manafort’s political consulting firm at the time.
Manafort and Gates’ activities carry outsized importance, since they have steered Trump’s campaign since April. The pair also played a formative role building out Trump’s campaign operation after pushing out an early rival. Trump shook up his campaign’s organization again this week, but Manafort and Gates retain their titles and much of their influence. The new disclosures about their work come as Trump faces criticism for his friendly overtures to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Previously it was reported that his name was discovered on a ledger detailing $12 million in payments either owed to him or paid, in Ukraine. He completely denied that he had received under-the-table payments, and then said he had never worked for foreign governments ever:
Manafort and Gates have previously said they were not doing work that required them to register as foreign agents. Neither commented when reached by the AP on Thursday.
Just a coincidence, right? Right.
BUT, in an even zanier turn, Hillary’s shady group was in on it too!!
The emails illustrate how Gates worked with Mercury and the Podesta Group on behalf of Ukrainian political leaders. None of the firms, nor Manafort or Gates, disclosed their work to the Justice Department counterespionage division responsible for tracking the lobbying of foreign governments.
“There is no question that Gates and Manafort should have registered along with the lobbying firms,” said Joseph Sandler of Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, a Democratic-leaning Washington law firm that advises Republican and Democratic lobbyists.
John Podesta is Hillary’s campaign chair, so he’s implicated too. Trumpers will push this fact as a way to exonerate Manafort, but doesn’t that just implicate both sides as scumbags?