Even though former Trump campaign chairman and foreign agent Paul Manafort resigned from the president’s team last year, his financial connections to Donald Trump were far from over.
According to a new report from The New York Times, the same day Manafort stepped down as campaign chairman, he was hard at work “creating a shell company … that soon received $13 million in loans from two businesses with ties to Mr. Trump, including one that partners with a Ukrainian-born billionaire and another led by a Trump economic adviser.”
More from the report:
The transactions raise a number of questions, including whether Mr. Manafort’s decision to turn to Trump-connected lenders was related to his role in the campaign, where he had agreed to serve for free.
They also shine a light on the rich real estate portfolio that Mr. Manafort acquired during and after the years he worked in Ukraine. Mr. Manafort, often using shell companies, invested millions of dollars in various properties, including apartments and condos in New York, homes in Florida and Virginia and luxury houses in Los Angeles.
Mr. Manafort’s ties to Ukraine and Russia have come under scrutiny as federal officials investigate Russian meddling in the American presidential election. Investigators are known to have examined aspects of his finances, including bank accounts he had in the secretive tax haven of Cyprus; there is no indication his recent loans are part of the inquiry.
The source of the money for the real estate purchases is not clear, and Mr. Manafort never filed lobbying registrations for his work in Ukraine that would have disclosed his compensation. Such registrations are necessary for activities that involve influencing policy and public opinion in the United States, and some of Mr. Manafort’s Ukraine work appeared to fall into that category …
The money could be considered a form of payment from Trump to Manafort at a time when the former Trump campaign chairman had said he was essentially an unpaid staffer who received no compensation for his work helping Trump get elected.
Last month, when trying to dodge questions about Trump’s ties to Russia, White House press secretary Sean Spicer also did his best to downplay Manafort’s role in the campaign.
Spicer said Manafort had a “limited role for a very limited amount of time.”
The fact that, upon leaving the campaign, Manafort received millions of dollars from companies with Trump ties calls into question the claims by the Trump campaign that the former chairman was working for free and that he had a “limited role.”
The news that Manafort was borrowing money from Trump-affiliated businesses immediately after leaving the campaign comes on the same day that multiple sources report that Manafort will soon register as a foreign agent.
According to The Huffington Post, “Manafort received at least $1.2 million of a suspected $12.7 million in off-the-books payments from [former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych’s] political party while the Russia-allied leader was still in power.”
Overall, this has not been a good news day for Paul Manafort, but it goes to show that not only does the president himself have questionable and largely unknown financial ties, but he also surrounds himself with people who do.
For anybody who thought Hillary Clinton was the corrupt candidate in last year’s election, I know someone who’s selling bridges.