Emails show that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was directly linked to a lobbying effort to influence American public opinion in favor of the pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine, according to the AP.
BREAKING: Emails show Trump advisers waged covert influence campaign for pro-Russian Ukraine government.
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 18, 2016
The AP reports:
The lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and AP. Another goal: undercutting American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraine’s president.
The men have said they were not doing work that required them to register as foreign agents. Neither commented Thursday.
This corroborates previous reporting that Manafort had been on the payroll of pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych. A New York Times report showed that Manafort had illegally funneled U.S. funds to lobby American government officials on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians.
Manafort’s connections to pro-Russia elements in Ukraine came under heightened scrutiny following several instances of Trump and his surrogates coseying up to the Kremlin, including lying about, or downplaying, Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine; Trump encouraging Russia to release stolen State Department emails; Trump announcing his intention to renege on NATO treaties; and his often pronounced admiration for Vladimir Putin.
“In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” former CIA director Mike Morell wrote in an op-ed earlier this month.
UPDATE—8:18 p.m. ET:
Minutes after the story about Manafort broke, Trump addressed supporters in Charlotte, North Carolina, and said that he would not allow senior officials in his administration to accept lobbying fees from foreign governments.
“I am going to ask my senior officials not to accept speaking fees from corporations with a registered lobbyist for five years after leaving office or from any entity tied to a foreign government,” he said.
Sam Reisman (@thericeman) is a staff editor at Mediaite.
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