Paul Manafort, current object of an FBI investigation, was campaign manager for Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016.
Born in Connecticut, Manafort is a graduate of Georgetown undergrad and Georgetown Law. After graduating, Manafort practiced at a DC law firm while also working as the southern coordinator for Reagan's presidential campaign. He also worked as a delegate-hunt coordinator for the President Ford Committee in 1976 and was deputy political director of the Republican National Committee. After Reagan won the presidency, Manafort was named Associate Director of the Presidential Personnel Office for the White House. Manafort also advised George Bush's presidential campaign in 1988 and Bob Dole's in 1996.
In 1980, Manafort cofounded the lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone. He left in 1996 to found Davis, Manafort, and Freedman, apparently seeking to have his name on as many buildings as possible - no wonder Trump liked him.
Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March, 2016 to work with delegates. After Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandoski, Manafort took over that position.
In the Know
Paul Manafort was present at the now infamous June, 2016 Don Jr. meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya. This was the beginning of Manafort's downfall as Trump's campaign manager. In August, 2016, it was reported that Manafort may have illegally received over $12 million from the Ukranian government's Party of Regions. Manafort reportedly had connections with the Ukranian president, Viktor Yanukovych, despite objections from American politicians who claimed Yanukovych had ties to Putin. Several days later, Manafort resigned and Kellyanne Conway took over.
The FBI already had an investigation into Manafort's ties to Yanukovych that began in 2014. That investigation is still ongoing.
The 2014 investigation is now joined by a new FBI investigation into potential ties between Trump campaign officials and Manafort. On July 26, FBI agents raided Manafort's home in Virginia. The FBI had a search warrant for documents related to his taxes and finances. Manafort had voluntarily met with Senate Intelligence Committee staff the day before and was scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee the next day. Despite claiming he had been completely forthcoming, the raid indicates that Manafort had either not disclosed information or that they had probable cause to believe he had committed a crime. Either way, not looking great.
Trump commented on the raid from his golf vacation in New Jersey, saying the raid was "pretty tough stuff" and that he knew Manafort but had not spoken to him "in a long time." Was 2016 really so long ago, Donald?
Back in the glory days of Sean Spicer, the AP broke a story that Manafort had signed a $10 million contract with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in 2006 to help consult to advance Russian financial interests globally. The AP reported that, in a 2005 memo to Deripaska, Manafort wrote, "We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success." Talk about playing for both teams.