Timeline: Paul Manafort’s long, murky history of political interventions

On Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported that former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had drafted a proposal to help advance the business interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2005. In light of that report, we’ve compiled this history of Manafort’s interactions with political campaigns and Russian interests.

1976. Manafort helps guide Republican presidential nominee Gerald R. Ford’s efforts at the Republican National Convention.

1980. After helping shepherd Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign at the Republican convention, Manafort is a founder of the lobbying and strategy firm Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly in Washington. The “Stone” in that title was for Roger Stone, a longtime Trump confidante.

1984. Manafort helps plan the convention for Reagan’s reelection bid.

November 1985. Manafort’s firm is hired to represent Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, apparently after being connected to Marcos via an emissary — Sen. Paul Laxalt of Nevada — sent by President Reagan. (This history comes from Ken Vogel’s thorough look at the relationship.) Manafort’s firm is tasked with advising Marcos on public relations and electoral strategy.

Feb. 7, 1986. Marcos wins the country’s presidential election thanks to obvious and rampant voter fraud. Manafort describes his efforts during the election to Time magazine as trying to “make it more of a Chicago-style election and not Mexico’s.”

Feb. 25, 1986. Marcos flees the country.

1988. Manafort manages the convention for Republican presidential nominee George H.W. Bush.

January 1991. Public relations firm Burson-Marsteller acquires Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly.

1995. Manafort and partner Rick Davis found a new lobbying firm, Davis Manafort.

1996. Manafort manages Republican Robert J. Dole’s unsuccessful presidential campaign.

Late 2004. Ukraine holds a series of elections in which fraud is rampant. Viktor Yanukovych of the Party of Regions, who came in second in the first round, wins a runoff in November. Outcry at alleged fraud leads the European Union to reject the runoff results; Ukrainians take to the streets in protest in what comes to be known as the Orange Revolution. On a third ballot, Yanukovych again loses.

June 2005. According to the Associated Press, Manafort develops a strategic plan aimed at promoting the interests of the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin.

“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,” Manafort wrote in the document.

2006. Manafort signs a $10 million-a-year agreement with the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska apparently based on that plan. The work is not conducted through Davis Manafort but through a separate corporation called LOAV Ltd.

The relationship with Deripaska also connects Manafort to Yanukovych. At some point before parliamentary elections in March 2006, the Party of Regions officially hires Davis Manafort to help reshape the party’s image. The party gains a number of seats in the election, and Yanukovych becomes prime minister in August after extensive political wrangling.

January 2006. Davis arranges a meeting between Deripaska and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). The two would meet again in August.

July 2006. Deripaska’s American visa is revoked.

2007. A secret ledger kept by the Party of Regions indicates that Manafort began receiving under-the-table payments at this point — nearly two dozen of them totaling nearly $13 million. Manafort denies the allegation.

December 2007. Yanukovych is ousted as prime minister after parliamentary elections. Yulia Tymoshenko takes the position, becoming the first woman to do so.

2008. After the presidential election — Davis served as McCain’s campaign manager, creating some bad press for the candidate because of his business relationships — Davis Manafort is disbanded.

2009. Manafort’s business relationship with Deripaska continued until at least this point. It’s not clear when it ended again, according to the AP.

February 2010. Yanukovych wins the presidency with Manafort’s help. Beforehand, Manafort warns that he’s concerned about voter fraud working against his client, echoing concerns raised by his next prominent client.

2012. The last secret payment to Manafort is listed in the ledger.

Feb. 21, 2014. After prolonged protests beginning in November the year before, Yanukovych flees to Russia. The next day, he’s officially removed from his post. This triggers Russia’s incursion into Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

September 2014. Manafort flies to Ukraine to try to help Yanukovych’s former party once again gain power. The party is rebranded as the Oppo Bloc, at Manafort’s suggestion.

March 28, 2016. Manafort is hired by Trump to guide the campaign’s delegate-wrangling effort in the lead-up to the Republican convention. He’s recommended for the position by Roger Stone.

At some point, intelligence agencies allegedly surveil a call or calls between Manafort and Russian government actors. Manafort later told the New York Times that he had “never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers.”

Spring 2016. According to the Times, the FBI begins investigating Manafort’s business relationships and ties to foreign powers, including Russia.

In this time period, the Democratic National Committee’s email system is hacked by people who U.S. authorities believe are linked to the Russian government.

June 21. After months of tension between himself and campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Lewandowski is fired. Manafort becomes campaign chairman.

Week of July 11. At the national security platform meeting establishing the Republican Party positions on the subject, representatives of the Trump campaign intervene to remove a call for arming the Ukrainian military to battle Russian and rebel fighters in the eastern part of the country.

July 18. The convention begins. Trump is nominated.

July 22. The emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee are released by WikiLeaks.

Aug. 14. The secret ledger comes to light.

Aug. 17. Reports emerge that Manafort also helped the Party of Regions secretly route $2.2 million in unreported lobbying spending to D.C. in 2012.

Aug. 19. Manafort quits the Trump campaign, at the request of the candidate. Among the reasons he was asked to resign were Trump’s dissatisfaction with his tactical advice, and news articles raising questions about his ties to Russia and Ukraine.

Nov. 8. Trump is elected president.

Mr Manafort worked as Mr Trump's unpaid campaign chairman from March until August last year. AP


Manafort confirms work for Russian billionaire, denies pushing country's 'political interests'

President Trump’s former campaign chairman acknowledged on Wednesday he had worked for a Russian billionaire about a decade ago, but he denied a report suggesting the lobbying efforts served Russian political interests.

The Associated Press report on Paul Manafort comes amid swirling accusations – and congressional and FBI investigations – of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential campaign and possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Kremlin operatives.

The AP reported early Wednesday that Manafort worked for aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin and proposed a political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics. The report said the revelation may contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

But Manafort noted his advocacy for Deripaska predated his own association with Trump’s campaign and suggested his services did not amount to lobbying for Russian interests.

‘‘I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments,” Manafort said in a statement to Fox News. “My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russian political interests.”

A senior White House official told Fox News the Trump campaign wasn’t aware Manafort – who helped Trump amass and retain delegates during the primary process and served as campaign chairman from April through August – had previously dealt with Deripaska. The official said there had been several discussions of Manafort’s business dealings and the subject of Deripaska “never came up.”

Manafort is reportedly one of the Trump associates being examined by the FBI for possible links to Russia.

Manafort worked for Deripaska from 2006 to 2009, the AP reported, and the two had a falling out over a Ukrainian TV investment in 2014 – a year before Trump announced he was running for the GOP presidential nomination. It's not uncommon for U.S. political consultants to work in campaigns abroad.

Strategy memos obtained by the AP allegedly show Manafort told Deripaska that he and Putin – who is reportedly close to the billionaire magnate – would benefit from a lobbying campaign focused on Western governments, particularly the U.S. The campaign’s goal: allow oligarchs to keep possession of formerly state-owned assets in Ukraine.

“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,” Manafort allegedly wrote in a 2005 memo.

Manafort left the Trump campaign in August after it was revealed the longtime operator had worked for the pro-Russian party of ex-Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych.


Trump ex-aide Paul Manafort 'offered to help Putin'

US President Donald Trump's one-time campaign chairman secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to assist President Vladimir Putin, the Associated Press (AP) news agency reports.

Paul Manafort is said to have proposed a strategy to nullify anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics a decade ago.

AP says documents and interviews support its claims about Mr Manafort.

Mr Manafort has insisted that he never worked for Russian interests.

He worked as Mr Trump's unpaid campaign chairman from March until August last year, including the period during which the flamboyant New York billionaire clinched the Republican nomination.

He resigned after AP revealed that he had co-ordinated a secret Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine's ruling pro-Russian political party until 2014.

Newly obtained business records link Mr Manafort more directly to Mr Putin's interests in the region, AP says.

It comes as Trump campaign advisers are the subject of an FBI investigation and two congressional inquiries.

Investigators are reviewing whether the Trump campaign and its associates co-ordinated with Moscow to interfere in the 2016 presidential election campaign to damage Mr Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton, a stern critic of Mr Putin.

Mr Manafort is said to have pitched the plans to aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Putin.

In a confidential strategy plan in 2005, AP reports, Mr Manafort proposed to influence politics, business dealings and news coverage in the US, Europe and the ex-Soviet republics to advance the interests of the Putin government.

At this time, US-Russia relations were deteriorating.

"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,'' Mr Manafort is said to have written, adding that it would be offering "a great service that can refocus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government".

Mr Manafort signed a $10m-a-year contract beginning in 2006, AP reports. How much work he did under this contract was unclear.

Mr Manafort and Mr Deripaska reportedly maintained a business relationship until at least 2009.

When Donald Trump picked Paul Manafort to be his campaign chair last March, the political operative was a relatively minor player in Washington, consigned to working for deep-pocketed foreign benefactors. That those benefactors have turned out to include Russian oligarchs and Ukrainian politicians with ties to Vladimir Putin is sure to cause growing concern in the Trump White House.

Now it appears increasingly likely that Mr Manafort is one of the "individuals associated with the Trump campaign", in Director James Comey's words, at the heart of an ongoing FBI investigation.

This would explain why White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer recently downplayed Mr Manafort's connections to the Trump team, saying he "played a very limited role" in the campaign for "a very limited amount of time".
Mr Manafort could face legal consequences if the FBI concludes that he did not properly disclose his work for foreign leaders. That would at the very least prove embarrassing for Mr Trump, given the power he delegated to Mr Manafort last summer.

If it turns out that Mr Manafort's contacts with foreign interests continued during his time at the top of the Trump campaign, the situation for the White House could go from embarrassing to full-blown scandal.

In a statement to AP, Mr Manafort confirmed that he had worked for Mr Deripaska in several countries but insisted the work was being unfairly cast as "inappropriate or nefarious" as part of a "smear campaign".

"I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments," Mr Manafort said in the statement.

"My work for Mr Deripaska did not involve representing Russian political interests.''

Further allegations have been made in Ukraine about secret funds said to have been paid to Mr Manafort.

Lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko said he had evidence that Mr Manafort had tried to hide a payment of $750,000 (£600,800) by a pro-Russian party in 2009.

Mr Manafort's spokesman said the claim was "baseless".

Mr Manafort was an adviser to Ukraine's ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, but denies receiving any cash payments.

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