Last night, The New York Times reported that anti-corruption investigators in Ukraine found records of $12.7 million in cash payments, previously undisclosed, to Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, by the defunct pro-Russia political party of Viktor Yanukovych. It is yet another data point for criticisms that Trump himself is being unduly influenced by the Kremlin and its allies. Manafort has flat-out denied the report’s claims, saying the idea that he accepted cash payments is “unfounded, silly, and nonsensical.”
There has been speculation that this could spell trouble for Manafort, particularly when former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski tweeted the link and the headline without any further comment.
Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief https://t.co/7bh7iIHHaY
— Corey Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) August 15, 2016
Lewandowski appeared to be taking a shot at the man who had replaced him, perhaps as a way to work his way back in. But Lewandowski explained this morning on CNN why he tweeted the headline: to highlight the liberal media bias!
When Chris Cuomo asked point-blank whether Manafort worked for Yanukovych—a matter of public record—Lewandowski said he didn’t know. A flabbergasted Cuomo could only respond: “The answer is yes—he worked for Yanukovych.” As Trump’s spokesman on CNN, Lewandowski appears to be showing how Trump intends to approach the controversy. And it looks like he’s sticking with Manafort—for now, at least.