Not only was Manafort effectively dumped as Trump’s campaign manager (he still technically holds the title of campaign chairman), but two separate new articles have added more insight into Manafort’s shady ties to Russian interests. All of this comes on top of Sunday’s story that Manafort was allegedly slated for undisclosed cash payments of $12.7 million from Ukraine’s defunct Party of Regions, the pro-Russian party of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
The Associated Press reports that during Manafort’s work for Yanukovych, he and his business associate Rick Gates conspired to funnel money from Ukraine to U.S. lobbyists through a nonprofit organization linked to Party of Regions. They allegedly did so in a way that would evade the stringent reporting requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
The money totaled $2.2 million, and was split roughly evenly between Democratic firm the Podesta Group—headed up by Tony Podesta, brother of Hillary Clinton adviser John Podesta—and Republican firm Mercury LLC, headed by former congressman Vin Weber. Among the nonprofit’s lobbying activities was an attempt to stop U.S. pressure on Ukraine to release Yanukovych’s then-imprisoned political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko.
The Times of London, meanwhile, reports that Ukrainian authorities now say Manafort was directly involved in the disruption of NATO exercises in Crimea. The region was later annexed by Russia.
Even if Trump didn’t decide to go the full Trump, today might have been the day Manafort fell from grace.