Trump's Campaign Manager Denies Receiving Millions in Cash From pro-Kremlin Ukrainian Party

Paul Manafort responds to New York Times report, saying he never worked for the Russian or Ukrainian governments.

This file photo taken on April 27, 2016 shows Paul Manafort, advisor to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign, checking the teleprompters before Trump's speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla, AFP

Donald Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, denied he took millions in cash from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, as the New York Times reported on Sunday. Manafort worked as a political consultant in Ukraine for Viktor Yanukovych's party, but denied report of in payments as "silly."

Ukrainian anti-corruption investigators said they found secret handwritten ledgers showing $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments to Manafort from 2007 through 2012, reported the Times.

 Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych winking at his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin
AFP

Hillary Clinton's campaign attacked Trump and Manafort for their "troubling connections" to Russia,   

Manafort denied receiving any such money and said he has never worked for the Russian or Ukrainian governments.

Anti-corruption investigators in Ukraine say the money was part of an illegal, undisclosed payment system, and they suspect the payments they discovered are part of a large, secret network of corruption operated by the government under Yanukovich. But those officials say they have not yet determined if Manafort actually received the payments found in the handwritten ledgers, reported the Times.

“Once again, the New York Times has chosen to purposefully ignore facts and professional journalism to fit their political agenda, choosing to attack my character and reputation rather than present an honest report,” Manafort said in a statement. He called the suggestion that he had accepted cash payments as "unfounded, silly and nonsensical.”

Manafort said that "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 story broke just before Trump was supposed to deliver a foreign policy speech in Ohio.

"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.

"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," the statement said.

Manafort's lawyer, Richard Hibey, told the Times that his client denied receiving "any such cash payments" described in the report.

Clinton's campaign went on the offensive against Trump and his Russian connections. “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," said Robby Mook, Clinton's campaign manager, in a statement.

Mook called on the Times to report more evidence on Trump's campaign team's troubling connections to pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine.