Reportedly, the firm of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is one of several companies and organizations in the United States being investigated by the Department of Justice and FBI for possibly having some questionable pro-Russia ties. Specifically, the DOJ and FBI are looking into whether or not these companies, including the one run by Paul Manafort, contributed to pro-Russian, and former-Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych financially or otherwise.
According to CNN, the investigation into the potentially criminal activity of the company run by Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, is extremely broad in scope and not centered solely on Paul Manafort’s business. Rather, the company is just one of many that is caught in the wide dragnet of the U.S. government probe. The FBI and DOJ ultimately want to know if the U.S. financial system, including companies and businesses in the United States, were used to support the alleged pro-Russia corruption of Viktor Yanukovych, who was president of Ukraine in 2014 during the deadly Crimea uprising.
U.S. investigators, including those from the Justice Department and FBI, say that at this point nothing is being “ruled out” in their long-term and continuing investigation into the financial and political activities of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s company, as well as a handful of other prominent U.S. corporations and firms.
Following the deadly Crimea protests and riots in 2014, former (and suspected pro-Russian) Ukrainian president Yanukovych absconded to Russia amid allegations that he and his political party were running a corrupt pro-Russian system while leading Ukraine.
So far, while it is being widely reported that the company of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is being investigated for potential pro-Russia ties including potentially financially supporting the regime of President Yanukovych, neither the Justice Department, the FBI, nor attorneys for the former Ukrainian president or Paul Manafort are answering media questions.
Other companies that are being investigated for possible ties to the pro-Russian former Ukrainian president include the Podesta Group. The Podesta Group, which also has ties to the 2016 presidential campaign, released a public statement following the news of the DOJ/FBI investigation. Reportedly, the group has lawyered up in response to the investigation.
“The firm has retained Caplin & Drysdale as independent, outside legal counsel to determine if we were misled by the Centre for a Modern Ukraine or any other individuals with regard to the Centre’s potential ties to foreign governments or political parties.”
Interestingly, the Podesta Group is operated by the brother of John Podesta, who is Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
The investigation into the company of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort comes just days after Manafort resigned his position from the Donald Trump campaign. That decision was announced on Friday amid a major Trump campaign shake-up and escalating rumors that Donald Trump and the Trump family might have undisclosed deep and questionable ties to Russia.
The rumors of a Trump-Russia association were further stoked when Ivanka Trump shared a vacation photo of herself and Wendi Murdoch (the rumored girlfriend of Vladimir Putin) on Instagram over the weekend.
While the Donald Trump campaign has already cut its ties with former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the news that his company is being investigated for possible pro-Russia ties comes at a very difficult time for the former reality TV star’s political aspirations. As CNN reports, Donald Trump’s road to 270 is getting a lot more difficult to traverse; that news came just days after the resignation of Paul Manafort and around a week after he publicly tried to squash reports that he had received millions of dollars in payments from as secret payment system set up by former pro-Russian president Yanukovych, according to a Politico report.
According to the CNN report, several traditionally Republican-leaning swing states are poised to vote in favor of Democrat Hillary Clinton. While the Trump campaign continues to struggle, Hillary Clinton is reportedly holding onto a lead in national polls.
While the investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s potential connection to pro-Russia interests in Ukraine is only one part of a much larger FBI and Department of Justice investigation, it has the potential to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Paul Manafort has distanced himself from Donald Trump, but many are calling his resignation from the campaign too little, too late. Particularly in the midst of rumors that Donald Trump himself might have ties to Russia or Russian interests.
What do you think? Was Manafort’s resignation enough to absolve Donald Trump from a connection to his former campaign chairman’s alleged pro-Russia scandal? Do you think that the suspected connection between former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s company to pro-Russia causes in Ukraine could impact the November general election?
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