The New York Times dropped a bombshell Sunday night revealing an expose on Donald Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort's ties to Ukraine.
According to the story, Manafort's work was consulting for Ukraine’s political party in power. Investigators say the network Manafort is associated with was once used to steal assets and control elections in the country. The ties to Russia and Ukraine came under attack when the FBI found that Russian government hackers were responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. Interestingly, the DNC staffer who was researching Paul Manafort's ties to Russia had his personal data targeted.
Their expose “offers new details of how he mixed politics and business out of public view and benefited from powerful interests now under scrutiny by the new government in Kiev.”
“He understood what was happening in Ukraine,” the Times quotes Vitaliy Kasko, a former senior official with the general prosecutor’s office in Kiev. “It would have to be clear to any reasonable person that the Yanukovych clan, when it came to power, was engaged in corruption.”
Adding, “It’s impossible to imagine a person would look at this and think, ‘Everything is all right.’”
Manafort has been doing international consulting since the 1980s, particularly for dictators, including Viktor F. Yanukovych who was removed after an uprising in Ukraine before fleeing to Russia two years ago.
Since leaving, investigators have looked into practices under Yanukovych and found what they called the "black ledger," a list of names and how much cash was doled out to them. The ledger was in a third-floor room of the Party of Regions headquarters along with two giant safes filled with $100 bills.
“This was our cash,” Taras V. Chornovil, the former party leader told the Times. Though he claims it was the sketchy financial dealings that caused him to leave the party. “They had it on the table, stacks of money, and they had lists of who to pay.”
Over the course of five years, Manafort’s name appears 22 times totaling $12.7 million.
“Paul Manafort is among those names on the list of so-called ‘black accounts of the Party of Regions,’ which the detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine are investigating,” the statement outlines. “We emphasize that the presence of P. Manafort’s name in the list does not mean that he actually got the money, because the signatures that appear in the column of recipients could belong to other people.”
The investigation continues detailing questionable off-shore companies that investigators say was used to launder public money that was stolen by a corrupt government.
It wasn't long before Trump loyalist and paid CNN shill Corey Lewandowski tweeted the story. Lewandowski and Manafort were notorious for infighting on the Trump campaign while Lewandowski was at the helm. He's also spent the last few months, since being fired from the Trump campaign, attacking Manafort in the media, including calling for Manafort's immediate dismissal after Melania Trump's plagiarism scandal at the Republican National Convention.
Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief https://t.co/7bh7iIHHaY— Corey R. Lewandowski (@Corey R. Lewandowski)1471222735.0
Fans of Trump didn't take it well.
@CLewandowski_ wtf is this Corey? Trying to cause drama?— CMoney13 (@CMoney13)1471222769.0
This is cold-blooded. https://t.co/UFsAvgo5nf— Philip Bump (@Philip Bump)1471223677.0
According to The Hill, many jumped on board the Lewandowski train, agreeing that the relationship doesn't look good for Manafort.
"ok so now even the WSJ is being a bitch at least we still have corey at CNN to do damage contr..." @hunterwalk https://t.co/4B2RgCSdew— darth™ (@darth™)1471224005.0
Doesnt really feel like Lewandowski and Manafort parted on the best of terms. https://t.co/B4C5X6yktu— Jennifer Palmieri (@Jennifer Palmieri)1471224060.0
Others pointed out the hypocrisy of the Trump campaign and his loyalists, declaring that they seem to love the media when they're giving him free advertising and promoting his campaign. The second they begin investigating, however, it's time to ban them all.
Fairly remarkable tweet-retweet combo from the one and only Corey Lewandowski. cc: @nytimes https://t.co/526yKMk9jh— Matt Pearce 🦅 (@Matt Pearce 🦅)1471223943.0
Piece on Manafort in Times is very interesting - more fascinating, tweeted out moments after posting by Lewandowski https://t.co/JJFvxSUkNe— John Santucci (@John Santucci)1471223618.0
Others joined in, simply to watch the show and mock:
Revenge isn't a bad dish when served hot either, am I right, @CLewandowski_ ?— Warren Leight (@Warren Leight)1471225345.0
Not gonna lie, I'm watching @CLewandowski_ and Paul Manafort fight over the Ukraine story in the @nytimes .... https://t.co/MeokqlhO6m— (((Charles Young))) (@(((Charles Young))))1471229811.0
Stay tuned for more recommendations from Corey's summer reading list. https://t.co/jsVXFa9WTH— Brian Fallon (@Brian Fallon)1471224131.0
when you can't wait to tweet it https://t.co/dw4SIGFNl1— Kate Bennett (@Kate Bennett)1471223828.0
Corey Lewandowski's hurt feelings are the breakout star of this election— Erin We're Screaming Merry Christmas Again Ryan (@Erin We're Screaming Merry Christmas Again Ryan)1471229918.0
Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort are both equally awful people. It's impossible to choose which one to root for. https://t.co/RRXV8HcOu2— Russell Drew (@Russell Drew)1471228713.0
Notable here is that Lewandowski isn't some disgruntled ex-staffer. He's also actively advising Trump. Tight ship. https://t.co/EJC9aW5XPJ— Josh Marshall (@Josh Marshall)1471228615.0
Find something to hate as much Corey Lewandowski hates Paul Manafort— Roland Scahill (@Roland Scahill)1471225452.0