On Monday, the backlash against Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort just got more intense. A member of Parliament in the Ukraine just released documents showing that Manafort tried to hide $750,000 in payments that were funneled to an offshore account from a pro-Russian party. The payments were listed on a ledger as an invoice for computers. That turned out to be false.
Last August Manafort lost his job on Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign when the payments were first announced, but this new information shows that painful steps he took to try to hide it, as well.
Currently, the F.B.I. is investigating any and all individuals in Trump’s campaign/administration and their ties to Russia. This latest development doesn’t help the Trump administration in a time where they are trying to distance themselves from any further allegations.
Mr. Leshchenko, the lawmaker at center stage of the released documents, says that the invoice was recovered from Mr. Manafort’s former office in Kiev, and found by a tenant who ended up renting the space later on last year. Not only that, but Mr. Manafort’s signature is on the document. It lists Neocom Systems Limited as the company to be billed for the computers, a known shell company for money laundering schemes.
“(This) shows how corruption schemes work and why they should be exposed, said Mr. Leshchenko. This was corruption linked to Ukraine, and American law enforcement should investigate.”
So far, Mr. Manafort’s representatives tried to dismiss the ledger, saying that the ledger has been questioned by many NABU officials for its validity, but that’s not what the record shows, at least according to that same department. In fact, officials at the bureau have never questioned its validity and have even gone to court in Ukraine based on the evidence. So, what exactly is Manafort trying to say here? Questioning its validity might be his only legal recourse at this point.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to downplay this by saying that Manafort only played a “very limited role” during the campaign, but that’s simply not true. Manafort was Trump’s top aide – and he held this position for several months. This is the type of person Trump has surrounded himself with in the past.
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