Thursday, 19 April, 2018

Former Trump campaign chairman registers as a foreign agent

Image Manafort is surrounded by reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention Manafort registers as foreign agent for Ukraine work
Sammy Stanley | 29 June, 2017, 08:55

Manafort headed up the Trump campaign for nearly five months until August 2016 when his firm's lobbying of Ukrainian officials was revealed.

In the forms that Manafort filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Tuesday, Manafort revealed that he made $17.1 million over a span of two years that he had been associated with the Ukrainian party, run by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych who fled to Russian Federation after he was ousted as a leader in 2014, Washington Examiner reported.

Whether or not Donald Trump had explicit business dealings himself, with Russia or Russian agents, the curious fact remains that an unusually large number of his campaign associates did. Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for political consulting work he did for a Ukrainian political party, acknowledging he coached party members on how to interact with USA government officials.

Manafort's firm was hired to help rebrand Yanukovych and the Party of Regions from a pro-Russia party to a pro-European Union party.

Mr. Manafort, a lobbyist and Republican operative who has cultivated an worldwide client list over the years, is one of several aides to Mr. Trump facing scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and several congressional committees, according to people familiar with the matter. But Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni confirmed to several news outlets that Manafort had gone through with the registration.

"Paul's primary focus was always directed at domestic Ukrainian political campaign work, and that is reflected in today's filing".

Manafort is the second former member of the Trump campaign to register as a foreign agent after former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn registered as a foreign lobbyist for work he did on behalf of the Turkish government in March 2017. Last summer, it was reported that handwritten ledgers kept by the Kremlin-linked party showed that $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments were designated for Manafort's firm from 2007-12.

"Paul's work ended well before he joined Candidate Trump's campaign", Maloni said in a statement. On Wednesday, he retroactively registered as a foreign agent, giving America a look into the details of those ties.

Manafort registers as foreign agent for Ukraine work
Ex-Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort Registers as Foreign Agent

Ukrainian prosecutors said this week they'd found no proof of illicit payments to Manafort for his work for the party. He had been accused of previously accepting millions of dollars in off-the-books payments from deposed Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych's Party of Regions while working as an adviser to the former head of state.

Vin Weber, a partner at Mercury and former Republican congressman, brought Manafort to meetings with members of Congress, including one with former Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona, a board member at the International Republican Institute, in December 2012.

His registration came more than two months after Maloni said Manafort would be registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Manafort had been consulting in Ukraine for Yanukovych and the Party of Regions at least as far back as 2005. (Yanukovych fled to Russian Federation after he was ousted as president in 2014.) Manafort was required by federal law to register as a foreign agent for the work, but did not do so until this week.

Rohrabacher, Dobriansky and Diuk didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Manafort never worked for Mercury, and had his own shop called DMP International.

FARA requires so-called foreign agents to register within 10 days of agreeing to conduct work for the foreign entity and to provide updates every six months on political activities.

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