A day doesn’t go by without some fascinating news popping up relating to the scandal-ridden White House. Let’s take a look at what’s happening this week:
The FBI has begun interviewing politicians and officials in Ukraine regarding former Trump campaign advisor Paul Manafort, who was once employed by the nation’s deposed autocratic leader Viktor Yanukovych. Among the swirling cast of players involved in the Russia probe, Manafort has by far the most extensively recorded dealings with Russian operatives, having earned millions of dollars promoting Russian interests in his various capacities as a political consultant.
Manafort played a key role in overseas campaigns that featured similiar interference tactics witnessed during the US presidential election in 2016, such as spam bots spreading fake news to targeted demographics. He is considered a major reason why Russia was able to install the pro-Kremlin Yanukovych, who fled to Russia after the 2014 Maiden protests ousted him from power.
Over 12 years, Manafort made $12.7 million as a chief consultant to Yanukovych.
Recently, the FBI has taken a deeper interest in Manafort’s dealings overseas, and have been working with anti-corruption officials in Ukraine to flush out documents relating to his profitable tenure in the war-torn country.
Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign after his previous work history became public last year. According to officials in Ukraine, Manafort was part of Yanukovych’s money laundering operation, which funneled millions of dollars through shell corporations from Central Asia to Belize.
With his murky dealings with Russian oligarchs – along with his direct involvement in pro-Russian campaigns that made use of the same deceptive strategies utilized to usher Trump into power – Manafort’s profile in the Russia probe is massive. This could all be innocuous (in relation to the US election, that is. That he committed fraud in Ukraine is beyond dispute).
What investigators uncover as the dig deeper remains to be seen.