Trump Should Dump Manafort

| by Mark Jones
Paul Manafort speaks on Good Morning America on July 20, 2016Paul Manafort speaks on Good Morning America on July 20, 2016

Donald Trump should fire campaign chairman and chief strategist Paul Manafort.

On August 17, Trump announced a few changes in his campaign’s leadership.  According to CNN, Steve Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart, a conservative news outlet, will serve as chief executive on the campaign. Kellyanne Conway, a former senior advisor and pollster, has been promoted to campaign manager.

This is not the first time that Trump’s campaign has undergone significant changes recently. In June, Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. An article written for Reuters suggests that this move allowed Paul Manafort to hold more power in the GOP campaign.

Now, the time has come for Trump to continue making changes by releasing Manafort from his team, especially in light of the chairman’s ties to possible illegal activities in Ukraine.

According to CNN, Ukranian investigators suggest that Manafort and others may have received millions of dollars illegally from Ukraine’s former pro-Russia political party.

The pro-Russia political party was led by ex-president Viktor Yanukovich. Manafort served as a political consultant for Yanukovich until 2014.

Most notably, investigators are looking into handwritten records that allegedly document Manafort receiving $12.7 million of secret payouts.

Manafort’s lawyer, Richard A. Hibey, told the New York Times that his client did not receive “any such cash payments.”

He added, “It is difficult to respect any kind of allegation of the sort being made here to smear someone when there is no proof and we deny there ever could be such proof.”

Even without proof, keeping Manafort as campaign chairman would be a risky move for Trump.

Trump has been criticized for his pro-Putin comments in the past. As Trump tries to come back after losing a great deal of support in this campaign, he needs to avoid similar criticism by listening to a chief strategist with significant ties to Russian scandal.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook’s comments to CNN should provide warning enough to Trump and his advisors.

“Given the pro-Putin policy stances adopted by Donald Trump and the recent Russian government hacking and disclosure of Democratic Party records, Donald Trump has a responsibility to disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort's and all other campaign employees' and advisers' ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities, including whether any of Trump's employees or advisers are currently representing and or being paid by them,” said Mook.

Relations between Trump and Manafort have been reportedly hostile recently. 

An inside source told CNN that Trump has been frustrated with Manafort’s commitment to the campaign.

“Mr. Trump doesn't trust him anymore. That's it. Pure and simple,” said the source.

Clearly, keeping Manafort on the team is causing tension and frustration for the GOP candidate. With the release of information about Ukranian investigations, Trump now has political reasons -- not just personal ones -- to eliminate Manafort from his team.

Sources: ReutersNew York TimesCNN (2) Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group's Photostream/Flickr

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