World

Trump campaign chairman resigns

Paul Manafort's resignation as Donald Trump's campaign chairman comes a day after reports that confidential emails from Manafort's firm contradicted his claims that he had never lobbied on behalf of Ukrainian political figures in the U.S.
Paul Manafort has resigned as campaign chair for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump following a leadership shakeup earlier this week. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Donald Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigned on Friday in the wake of campaign shake-up and revelations about his work in Ukraine.

In a statement issued as he arrived in Louisiana to tour the flood-ravaged state, Trump said Manafort offered his resignation Friday morning. The billionaire called Manafort "a true professional."

"I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process," Trump said.

Manafort's resignation comes a day after The Associated Press reported that confidential emails from Manafort's firm contradicted his claims that he had never lobbied on behalf of Ukrainian political figures in the U.S.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump leaves a campaign rally in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Emails between Manafort's deputy, Rick Gates, also a top Trump adviser, and the lobbying firm Mercury LLC showed that Manafort's firm directly orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine's then-ruling political party.

The effort included not just legislative outreach but also attempts to sway American public opinion and gather political intelligence on competing lobbying efforts in the U.S.

Payments denied

Manafort and Gates never registered as foreign agents for their work as required under federal law.

Also Friday, Ukrainian anti-corruption investigators released copies of handwritten ledgers detailing possible cash payments from Ukrainian political figures to Manafort totaling more than $12 million. Details of the payments described in the ledger were first reported by The New York Times. Manafort denies receiving those payments.

Earlier this week, Trump brought in a new campaign chief executive and campaign manager following a disastrous stretch in which the New Yorker committed a series of errors and fell behind Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in both national and battleground state preference polls.

The new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, had described Manafort and Gates as part of a new "core four" atop the Trump operation with her and CEO Stephen Bannon.

Donald Trump's son, Eric Trump, says the campaign's outgoing chairman "was amazing" and he resigned because Trump didn't want to be distracted by outside controversy.

Eric Trump told Fox News Friday that Manafort "did a great job with the delegates" ahead of the Republican National Convention last month, and that he resigned earlier Friday because Donald Trump didn't want to be "distracted by whatever things Paul was dealing with."

now