Politics is a web of complicated ties, and in most cases, business is conducted in a way that repeatedly calls into question the true intent behind such actions. Paul Manafort was a man in 2016 whose world collapsed after his rehab experience and his extramarital scandal, but one step he took changed everything. He volunteered as an unpaid member of the campaign team of current U.S. President Donald Trump, which he received after asking old friends like Roger Stone and Trump’s billionaire friend Tom Barrack for favors.
As selfless as his intentions may seem, Manafort is currently convicted of banking and tax fraud. He is also linked to Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, along with questionable deals with Ukraine. Read on to find out all the details of this story.
Paul Manafort and The Trump Campaign
As early as March 2016, shortly before the Republican National Convention that was to be held in Ohio, Paul Manafort joined the Trump campaign to pave the way for Trump, who was then a presidential candidate. Manafort, who is known for his experience in Republican politics, was named chairman of the campaign in just two months. His appointment was questionable, however, since he was bankrupt at the time. Among other things, it was stated that he was responsible for leading the activities leading to the election of the president, which made him open to bribery targets that could seduce him.
As speculated, it was announced in August 2016 that Manafort had withdrawn from the election campaign after handing over his position to Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway after he had illegally received some $12 million from Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Connection to Ukraine and Russia
Before becoming part of the Trump campaign team, Paul Manafort had worked as an advisor to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych; he was instrumental in his victory in the 2010 presidential elections. In 2014, however, he had to vacate his seat due to a massive protest in the country against his close ties with Russia, which caused Ukraine to renounce an agreement that would have brought it closer to the West.
Yanukovych even had to seek refuge in Russia when the protest became bloody. There was also an incident in which security officers were forced to shoot protesters; this further complicated the crisis, and Manafort was caught in the middle of it. He was seen as guilty because he advised the former president to order an open fire that claimed many innocent lives.
It is known that Paul Manafort has relations with Russia that go back to the time when he started working for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. Manafort’s right-hand man, Konstantin Kilimnik, who headed his office in Kiev, was called a Russian spy by special agent Paul Muller. Although Kilimnik denied the allegations, sources still believed that he was used to passing on information between the United States and Russian governments during the 2014 riots in Ukraine.
Manafort is also associated with the issue of the Trump collusion with Russia in an attempt to influence the 2016 elections. He was one of the people who attended the meeting with the Russian delegates in Trump Tower. As claimed, the meeting was mainly about obtaining information that would tarnish the image of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Paul Manafort Vs Robert Mueller – The Ongoing Investigations
Paul Manafort has been under investigation since 2014 by Special Advisor Robert Mueller for his ties to Ukraine, who also brought charges against him in connection with Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election of 2016.
Mueller is said to have evidence ranging from e-mails, bank records, and some 35 people who are supposed to testify against Manafort, including his alleged accomplice Rick Gates. In February 2018, Mueller made further accusations against Manafort in connection with tax evasion and bank fraud in the amount of $30 million, which he allegedly laundered through offshore accounts.
He also brought charges against the consultant for hiring former European politicians to lobby for Ukraine. Manafort was not found guilty at first because the jury believed that Muller was only pulling the strings to get information from the consultant that would implicate Trump. But then, in August 2018, Mueller won his first victory when Manafort was convicted of eight counts of tax and bank fraud. However, no charges of Russian collusion were brought against him. Manafort still maintains that he is innocent.