Politics

Manafort Registers As A Foreign Agent

REUTERS/Joe Skipper

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Jack Crowe Political Reporter

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort registered with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent Tuesday.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filing, submitted late Tuesday, serves as a formal admission that Manafort guided foreign leaders in their dealings with U.S. officials. In the 87-page filing, he disclosed that his consulting firm received $17.1 million in payments for two years from Ukraine’s Party of Regions, the country’s dominant political party until 2014.

Manafort is one of a group of Trump campaign officials currently under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Justice Department’s probe into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Manafort became the second Trump campaign official to register as a foreign agent after former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn disclosed in a March filing that he had assisted a politically active Turkish businessman.

As part of the filing, Manafort revealed that he met with Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California lawmaker who has been vocal in her calls to bolster relations between the U.S. and Russia.

FARA mandates that foreign agents register within 10 days of beginning their work for a foreign government, but individuals are rarely prosecuted for failing to register and the Justice Department does not impose penalties for retroactively filing.

Jason Maloni, Manafort’s spokesman, told the Washington Post late Friday that he began preparing the filing in September, “before the outcome of the election and well before any formal investigation of election interference began.”

“Paul’s primary focus was always directed at domestic Ukrainian political campaign work, and that is reflected in today’s filing,” Maloni said.

The Trump campaign enlisted Manafort in Spring 2016 in an effort to add more experience to the election effort. He subsequently resigned in August 2016 after The New York Times reported that he received millions of dollars in payments from Ukraine’s Party of Regions.

Manafort initially announced that he was considering registering with the Justice Department in April 2016, and he maintains that his work with the Ukrainian political party concluded before he began assisting the Trump campaign.

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