The campaign is raising issue with a report in the New York Times Monday indicating that Trump’s campaign chair, Paul Manafort, received more than $12 million in previously undisclosed cash payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.
Manafort, in a statement on the report, said the Times “purposefully ignore(d) facts and professional journalism to fit their political agenda, choosing to attack my character and reputation rather than present an honest report.”
“The simplest answer is the truth: I am a campaign professional,” Manafort said. “It is well-known that I do work in the United States and have done work on overseas campaigns as well. I have never received a single ‘off-the-books cash payment’ as falsely ‘reported’ by The New York Times, nor have I ever done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia. Further, all of the political payments directed to me were for my entire political team: campaign staff (local and international), polling and research, election integrity and television advertising. The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly, and nonsensical.
“My work in Ukraine ceased following the country’s parliamentary elections in October 2014,” Manafort continued. “In addition, as the article points out hesitantly, every government official interviewed states I have done nothing wrong, and there is no evidence of ‘cash payments’ made to me by any official in Ukraine. However, the Times does fail to disclose the fact that the Clinton Foundation has taken (and may still take) payments in exchange for favors from Hillary Clinton while serving as the Secretary of State. This is not discussed despite the overwhelming evidence in emails that Hillary Clinton attempted to cover up.”
The statement seems to be an effort to muck the issues up a bit – at one point issuing a denial that he had done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia, but then acknowledging work in Ukraine that ended with the 2014 parliamentary elections, and concluding with a shot at Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and email issues.
“Facing another news story detailing Trump’s team’s ties to Russia and on the day of his foreign policy address, Trump’s campaign manager’s statement raised more questions than it addressed,” said Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook. “This is a serious matter and there are real concerns about the pro-Kremlin interests engaged with the Trump team. As someone running to lead American policy and national security, Donald Trump owes the American public answers.”