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Manafort Is Out, But Trump Still Loves Putin

When Donald Trump brought on Paul Manafort as his campaign chair, Trump very well knew he was getting a man who advised dictators around the world and who had uncomfortably close ties to pro-Vladimir Putin forces in Ukraine.

It turns out that Manafort is even sketchier than the general public was aware at the time Trump hired him. Manafort was behind “a series of [2006] anti-Nato, anti-Kiev protests in Crimea led by Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian Party of Regions — now designated a criminal organisation,” and he may have received up to $12.7 million from Putin allies for the effort.

Further reports on Manafort’s ties to “undisclosed” — possibly illegal — foreign lobbying on behalf of a pro-Putin group reveal that Manafort’s firm “directly orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government — something Manafort never disclosed, despite a legal obligation to have done so.

Manafort may be “out” as campaign chair, but the Washington Post reports he’ll “remain an ally and outside confidant of the campaign.” And the Trump campaign will have plenty of Russia ties without him — starting with the Putin-admiring, NATO-hating candidate, himself.

Background here.