Republicans are pushing a debunked conspiracy theory to exonerate Paul Manafort
Former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort faces 18 counts related to tax and bank fraud (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)

Republicans who are desperately pushing back against the impeachment of President Donald Trump have embraced a debunked conspiracy theory whose aim is to exonerate convicted criminal and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Daily Beast reports that Trump-loving Republicans have recently embraced a conspiracy theory claiming that the so-called Ukrainian "black ledger" that showed Manafort on the receiving end of corrupt payments was nothing more than a forgery.

However, notes the Daily Beast, this conspiracy theory was already debunked years ago by the FBI.

"The FBI has already published documents showing it had bank records corroborating the ledger’s claims two years before Trump even ran for president," the publication writes. "The problem for those who want to believe that the ledger is fake and therefore evidence of Ukrainian election-meddling is that FBI records and media reports have corroborated that at least some of the payments listed in the ledger actually made it to Manafort on or about the date they were listed."

And that's not all, as the Daily Beast also reports that "court documents suggest the FBI may have asked Manafort about some of that money in 2014, two years before the ledger was published and two years before Trump became the Republican nominee."

Manafort last year was convicted on money laundering and tax evasion charges related to his efforts to secretly funnel money he made working in Ukraine back to the United States.