Trump campaign chairman resigns

  • Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a campaign speech in Charlotte, N.C. Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Gerald Herbert

  • FILE - In this July 18, 2016, file photo, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort walks around the convention floor before the opening session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Manafort resigned in wake of campaign shakeup and revelations about Ukraine work. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File) Carolyn Kaster

  • Kellyanne Conway, new campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Gerald Herbert

  • Eric Trump, foreground, son of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, listens as his father delivers a campaign speech in Charlotte, N.C. Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. Right is Eric's wife Lara Yunaska. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Gerald Herbert

  • FILE- In this Aug. 8, 2016, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with his running mate, Republican vice presidential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as he arrives to give an economic policy speech to the Detroit Economic Club in Detroit. A campaign official familiar with the plans said Thursday, Aug. 18, that the GOP nominee and his running mate will tour the flood damage in ravaged Louisiana on Friday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) Evan Vucci

Published: 8/19/2016 10:54:00 AM

Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort is resigning from the campaign.

In a statement, Trump says Manafort offered his resignation Friday morning. Trump praised Manafort’s work on the campaign and called him a “true professional.”

Manafort is stepping down in the wake of a campaign shake-up, as well as revelations about his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that Manafort’s firm orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s then-ruling political party. Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, never disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law.

Earlier in the week, the campaign added two new top officials to the campaign in a move widely seen as a demotion for Manafort.

Trump aide should face graft probe, Ukrainian lawmaker says

Manafort should be questioned by Ukrainian investigators over almost $13 million he allegedly received from a secret account for working on behalf of toppled President Viktor Yanukovych, a lawmaker said Friday in Kiev, Ukraine, according to Bloomberg News.

“We state that Mr. Manafort received $12,774,869 from Nov. 20, 2007, until Oct. 5, 2012, from a shadow account of the Party of Regions, which was filled in a nontransparent, corrupt way,” Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist who now heads a parliamentary subcommittee on fighting corruption, told a news conference. Ukraine’s anti-corruption bureau and prosecutors “should question Manafort by sending a request to the U.S.”

A former member of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, Vitaliy Kalyuzhny, allegedly received most of the funds on behalf of Manafort, Leshchenko said. Kalyuzhny, a former chairman of Ukraine’s parliamentary international relations committee, was a board member of a non-governmental organization in Brussels that hired a Washington lobbying firm to promote ideas favorable to Yanukovych’s party, the New York Times reported.

Manafort, who has denied getting cash payments, worked with Kremlin-backed Yanukovych for a decade, helping him win presidential elections in 2010 that tilted Ukraine back into Russia’s orbit until the 2014 revolution that ousted him from power. Trump’s been repeatedly accused of adopting positions favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin by Democratic contender Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which said Tuesday there were “real concerns about the pro-Kremlin interests” of his team after allegations about the payments emerged.

Ukrainian anti-corruption bureau head Artem Sytnyk said Monday there’s no direct proof so far that Manafort received the money, which included reimbursement of expenses and payments for exit polls and foreign observers, and that the investigation is continuing. Yanukovych is in exile in Russia, where he fled after the deadly 2014 street protests.

Manafort said he’s “never received a single ‘off-the-books cash payment’ ” and that all money directed to him was for work carried out in Ukraine by his political team, according to a statement reported by NBC News on Monday. He hasn’t “ever done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia,” and his work in Ukraine ended after parliamentary elections there in October 2014, according to the statement.

Manafort has been relying on a former interpreter for Russian military intelligence to collect unpaid fees in Ukraine owed to his company by the Opposition Bloc, a political party founded by former Party of Regions legislators, Politico reported Friday. The aide, Konstantin Kilimnik, began working for Manafort in 2005 and continued to lead his office in Ukraine after Yanukovych fled the country in 2014, it said, citing business records and political operatives that it didn’t identify.


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