Race to White House: Trump's campaign manager resigns

Paul Manafort found himself sidelined when the Trump campaign announced two new hires earlier this week, which were read as supplanters of his influence.

In a rare moment for the candidate, Trump admitted regret over some of the things he's said on the campaign trail. Manafort had been brought in initially at Kushner's urging, the source said.

Manafort also leaves the campaign amid a rising number of news reports about his past work for pro-Russian political elements in Ukraine, including stories of millions in secret cash payments that Manafort has denied.

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort at the Republican Convention in Cleveland.

Paul Manafort has quit as Donald Trump's campaign chair.

Manafort was credited with trying to turn the brash-talking 70-year-old NY billionaire, who has never previously held elected office, into a figure more palatable to the general electorate.

Clinton leads Trump by 8 percentage points among likely voters, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Friday.

Trump's lack of support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Some 23 percent would not side with either candidate.

But earlier this week, Trump suddenly elevated pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager and Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon to campaign CEO - an apparent demotion for Manafort. Leshchenko told Yahoo News that ledgers in the book include 22 separate entries for Manafort - a lot of them for fees under his contract as a political consultant to the party, but others for exit polls, computers, worldwide observers and other expenses. Manafort has been beating back reports from multiple media outlets in recent days over his ethics, which have been egged on by a Clinton campaign eager to highlight Trump's ties to the Kremlin.

"This morning, Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign", Trump said in a statement, thanking him for "his great work" and hailing him a "true professional". Trump went on to say he appreciated Manafort's work on the campaign and wished him great success.

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.

Trump's son Eric said Friday that while Manafort had been instrumental in steering the campaign through the GOP convention, the former chairman's business past had begun to detract from his father's messages. On Monday, in response to an earlier media report that carried the allegations, he issued a statement in which he said he had "never received a single "off-the-books cash payment" as "reported" by the 'The New York Times, ' nor have I ever done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russian Federation". Russian officials have rejected that accusation.

Democrats said the repeated upheavals of Trump's campaign reflect dysfunction and disarray.

John Feehery, a Republican strategist, said it would have been unsustainable for Manafort to stay on after Wednesday's hires. "And the Ukrainian stuff was becoming a real distraction". "I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain". Both had grown uncomfortable with Manafort, the person said.

A spokesman for Kushner declined to comment.

  • Larry Hoffman