Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump can cheese and brag all he wants; however, the FBI has officially made an inquiry into his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.
NBC reported that although it is not a “full-blown criminal investigation,” the FBI is conducting a “preliminary inquiry” into Manafort’s foreign business ties. This comes months after it was reported Manafort had business ties to Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs.
‘NBC News reported in August that Manafort was a key player in multi-million-dollar business propositions with Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs — one of them a close Putin ally with alleged ties to organized crime — which foreign policy experts said raised questions about the pro-Russian bent of the Trump candidacy.’
Manafort was found to be involved in lobbying operations to influence favor towards Ukraine’s pro-Russian government. Furthermore, he never revealed that he was operating as a foreign agent. That same week it was also discovered he had received cash payments of $12.7 million between 2007 and 2012. With Trump’s admiration of Russian president Vladimir Putin and encouragement of Russian intelligence to hack Clinton’s missing emails, Manafort’s Russian and Ukranian ties have been a legitimate cause for concern. In August, former adviser to the Marco Rubio presidential campaign, David Kramer, explained why.
‘The relationships that Trump’s advisors have had with pro-Russian forces are deeply disturbing. Trump’s attitude on Russia is not in line with most Republican foreign-policy thinking. Trump has staked out views that are really on the fringe.’
Shortly after these allegations were made, Manafort resigned as Trump’s campaign manager in August, and Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway joined the Donald Trump campaign team.
Manafort spoke with NBC news and said:
‘There’s no investigation going on by the FBI that I’m aware of.’
This revelation has been made at a precarious time in the election as the campaigns wind to a close and people are lining up for early voting. This comes only days after FBI Director James Comey made the decision to reexamine Clinton emails found on devices belonging to Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner during a separate investigation. Both revelations have been made public less than two weeks before election day.
According to New York Daily News, the announcement also comes only a day after Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made allegations that the FBI was “sitting on ‘explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government.”‘
NBC News was careful to report that this is only an inquiry and not an investigation, writing,
‘An FBI inquiry is a preliminary examination that falls short of a criminal investigation.’
With the announcement of reexamining Clinton’s emails, Comey is facing intense scrutiny as officials question his motives for publicly announcing investigations. Rep. Adam Schiff said:
‘Any specifics of what the FBI or intelligence agencies may be looking at are not something that the bureau should be discussing publicly. But here, where the director has discussed an investigation involving one candidate, it opens the director up to claims of bias if he doesn’t discuss other potential investigations.’
Featured image via Getty Images/Win McNamee.