This is a really big story. Makes you wonder if the campaign shakeup underway this morning at the Trump campaign headquarters was in response to knowing this was about to come out.
That’d be a sign of competence in the campaign if so. And this has really big potential to go further with Manafort.
Donald Trump’s campaign chairman helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy.
The revelation, provided to The Associated Press by people directly knowledgeable about the effort, comes at a time when Trump has faced criticism for his friendly overtures to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It also casts new light on the business practices of campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
One of the things Manafort’s company allegedly did was lobby congress to not pressure a Kremlin ally leading Ukraine to release political prisoners. That’s right. The American political consultant opposed the release of political dissidents from prison.
Among other issues, Mercury opposed congressional efforts to pressure Ukraine to release one of Yanukovych’s political rivals from prison.
Also tied into this? Tony Podesta, the brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
We’ve got Paul Manafort and Tony Podesta lobbying for the bad guys and Manafort running the Trump campaign, but don’t call Trump “establishment.”