Paul Manafort said in a statement, "I have never received a single 'off-the-books cash payment' as falsely 'reported' by The New York Times"
Donald Trump‘s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, said Monday that there’s no truth to a New York Times report that secret ledgers in Ukraine showed more than $12 million in cash payments designated for him.
The report alleged that the pro-Russian political party of former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych earmarked the cash for Manafort through what Ukrainian anti-corruption investigators told the Times was an “illegal off-the-books” payment system.
Manafort, who previously worked as a political consultant for Yanukovych, called the report “unfounded, silly, and nonsensical” in a statement.
“The simplest answer is the truth: I am a campaign professional. 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,” the statement said.
“My work in Ukraine ceased following the country’s parliamentary elections in October 2014. 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,” the statement continued. “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.”
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Clinton’s campaign, meanwhile, slammed Trump for “more troubling connections” to Russia in the wake of the New York Times report.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement released Sunday evening, “On the eve of what the Trump campaign has billed as a major foreign policy speech, we have learned of more troubling connections between Donald Trump’s team and pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine.”
He continued, “Given the pro-Putin policy stances adopted by Donald Trump and the recent Russian government hacking and disclosure of Democratic Party records, Donald Trump has a responsibility to disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort’s and all other campaign employees’ and advisers’ ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities, including whether any of Trump’s employees or advisers are currently representing and or being paid by them.”
The dueling statements come one day after the Times reported that investigators found in secret, handwritten ledgers “$12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012.”
The report also said that the investigators have not yet determined whether Manafort actually received the payments but that “prosecutors say he must have realized the implications of his financial dealings.”
“He understood what was happening in Ukraine,” Vitaliy Kasko, a former senior official with the general prosecutor’s office in Kiev, told the Times. “It would have to be clear to any reasonable person that the Yanukovych clan, when it came to power, was engaged in corruption.”