Paul Manafort Registering with US Government as Foreign Agent

Another close aide of US President Donald Trump will register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for working on behalf of a foreign country, a report says. "Mr. Manafort received formal guidance recently from the authorities and he is taking appropriate steps in response to the guidance", Maloni said, according to CNN. The same spokesperson added that the work was not for the Russian government (presumably, this is regarding his work for pro-Russian factions in Ukraine) and started before he joined the campaign.

But while it's not entirely clear what about Manafort's business arrangements have changed to lead him to conclude that he needs to formally register, it likely has something to do with the increased scrutiny Manafort is receiving as a result of his ties to both Trump and the government of Russian Federation.

Last month, when trying to dodge questions about Trump's ties to Russia, White House press secretary Sean Spicer also did his best to downplay Manafort's role in the campaign.

Manafort is expected to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent representing Ukraine's interests between 2012 and 2014, the sources said.

Also on Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Manafort filed papers to create a new shell company, Summerbreeze LLC, on August 19, 2016 - the same day he was pushed out of the Trump campaign - and soon filled it with $13 million in loans from firms with ties to Trump and Ukraine.

"But information brought to light in recent months prompted us to review our original registration determination", Fritts said in the statement.

Paul Manafort, campaign manager to Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, is surrounded by reporters asking about the Republican National Convention Committee on Rules in Cleveland, Ohio, July 14. But what does registering as a foreign agent actually mean, and what does it suggest for Manafort and the administration going forward?

The AP identified in the records two payments received by Manafort that aligned with the ledger: one for $750,000 that a Ukrainian lawmaker said last month should be investigated by USA authorities. FARA focuses on agents working with foreign powers to influence governmental decision-making, namely, lobbying. The deposed General registered in February for lobbying work he did tied to Turkey.

At the time Manafort was also defending himself over past lobbying for foreign organizations, including Manafort's representation of a political party in Ukraine.

Now, reports say Manafort is retroactively registering as a foreign agent.

The Podesta Group and Mercury had previously disclosed their lobbying work to Congress under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, but neither firm had registered with the Justice Department.

The significance of those "Ukrainian political interests", of course, is that they're closely aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Initially, Podesta officials said they were advised that the Brussels group was a nonprofit that was not financed directly by Yanukovych or his political party.

  • Carolyn Briggs