Paul Manafort’s daughters thought his campaign work for Donald Trump was a joke, according to hacked phone records — but they were genuinely terrified of his role in propping up Ukrainian strongman Viktor Yanukovych.
Stolen text messages posted on a darknet website run by a hacktivist collective show Manafort’s daughters worrying about the ethical and safety consequences of his work for the Russia-backed Yanukovych, and they teased about his efforts with the Trump campaign, reported Politico.
“Im not a trump supporter but i am still proud of dad tho,” said daughter Jessica Manafort in one exchange. “He is the best at what he does.”
Her sister, Andrea Manafort, described the Trump-Manafort pairing as “The most dangerous friendship in America” between “a perfect pair” of “power-hungry egomaniacs.”
Andrea Manafort guessed that her father was working for Trump as “sport.”
“He likes the challenge,” she texted. “It’s like an egomaniac’s chess game. There’s no money motivation.”
On the other hand, Manafort’s daughters and their mother were deeply troubled by his work as a political consultant for the Vladimir Putin-aligned Party of Regions in Ukraine, which eventually led to his ouster from the Trump campaign.
“Don’t fool yourself,” Andrea Manafort wrote in March 2015. “That money we have is blood money.”
She worried in another texts, sent months later to someone else, that her father’s “work and payment in Ukraine is legally questionable.”
Paul Manafort has defended his work in Ukraine as both legal and justified, saying he was pushing Yanukovych toward moderate policies that aligned with U.S. foreign policy.
Andrea Manafort, 31, and Jessica Manafort, 34, did not respond to Politico requests for comment.
But their father, according to another hacked message, realized in August that Andrea Manafort had been hacked.
“I just got an email from her saying ‘important document’ and sharing a Google spreadsheet … Needless to say, don’t open!” Pau Manafort wrote.
Manafort left the Trump campaign in August over his ties to Yanukovich, and he confirmed last week to Politico that the hacked texts came from his daughter’s phone.
He also confirmed that he’d received messages that may have come from an anti-corruption Ukrainian lawmaker threatening to expose Manafort’s alleged financial ties to Yanukovich.
Manafort said the messages began arriving shortly before the New York Times reported that the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine had obtained documents allegedly showing $12.7 million in cash payments intended for him.
He resigned two days later from the Trump campaign, although he denies receiving off-the-books payment from Yanukovych’s party and claims he was never contacted by Ukrainian or American authorities about the documents.
The FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies are investigating possible links between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, including Manafort and campaign advisors Carter Page and Roger Stone.