Amid investigation, Paul Manafort quits Republican convention role

Longtime Republican strategist and historian Donald J. Trump's 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who played an unpaid role advising party officials at the nominating convention, stepped aside Saturday after questions arose about his involvement in the convention planning process.

Mr. Manafort's move comes after a New York Times report that he was in Milwaukee last week to plan meetings for the conference, as well as a Washington Post story that said he was planning meetings with foreign officials and businesses. Were involved in.

“As a long-time, staunch supporter of President Trump and given my nearly 50 years of experience in managing presidential conventions, I was offering my advice and suggestions to the Trump campaign at the upcoming convention in a volunteer capacity,” Mr. Manafort told The Times, in a statement provided by the Trump campaign.

“However, it is clear that the media seeks to use me as a distraction to try to damage President Trump and his campaign by repeating old stories,” he said.

“And I won't let the media do that. “Therefore, I will remain on the sidelines and support President Trump in every way possible to help him defeat President Biden,” the statement said.

Trump campaign officials declined to comment.

Mr. Manafort helped block efforts to scuttle Mr. Trump’s nomination at the 2016 convention, went to prison for various financial crimes and was pardoned by Mr. Trump.

His role in advising conference planners had been in the works for several weeks. Mr. Manafort has extensive experience at conferences, and the Trump team was looking for an experienced official to help in July.

Mr. Manafort, 75, was an adviser to Bob Dole's presidential campaign in 1996 and managed the Republican convention that year. He was brought into Mr. Trump's 2016 campaign in the spring as the candidate was facing an effort to deprive him of the delegates needed to become the nominee at the convention.

Mr. Manafort's work with Mr. Trump's campaign that year was relatively short-lived. In August 2016, he was ousted in part because of his work in the spotlight for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. Later, Mr. Manafort was indicted by special counsel Robert S. Implicated in the investigation conducted by Mueller III.

Mr. Manafort continued to informally advise the Trump campaign in 2016 after he was removed from office, including sending a memo about focusing on Wisconsin and Michigan. He also worked through organized labor to help Mr. Trump.

Mr. Manafort was one of the few Trump advisers sentenced to prison for campaign-related crimes. Mr. Trump pardoned Mr. Manafort at the end of his presidency, praising him for not cooperating with the government investigation. The Washington Post reported this week that Mr. Manafort has again become involved in work for foreign interests and political figures, including a Chinese entertainment streaming service. He denied working for the service, but told the newspaper that he had made introductions to potential American partners.

Mr. Manafort was never expected to be in a management role at this time's conference. But according to a person with knowledge of the matter, he was expected to be involved in advising the platform committee's staffing structure, although not the platform's essence.

The debate on the platform will be particularly important for the party this year. In 2020, the Republican Party did not adopt a new platform amid several changes to the convention due to the coronavirus pandemic, and simply returned to the platform from 2016.

And in that controversy, which received little attention at the time, language was inserted into the platform to weaken the language supporting Ukraine with military aid against Russian incursions. The language change was one of the issues about which Mr Mueller sought information during his investigation.

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