US independent news outlet ProPublica has published a review of the role played by former President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort in early Russian efforts to undermine Ukrainian independence. According to the ProPublica report:
March 1, 2022 Though Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is just days old, Russia has been working for years to influence and undermine the independence of its smaller neighbor. As it happens, some Americans have played a role in that effort. One was former President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Another was Trump’s then-lawyer Rudy Giuliani. It’s all detailed in a wide array of public documents, particularly a bipartisan 2020 Senate report on Trump and Russia. I was one of the journalists who dug into all the connections, as part of the Trump, Inc. podcast with ProPublica and WNYC. (I was in Kyiv, retracing Manafort’s steps, when Trump’s infamous call with Ukraine’s president was revealed in September 2019.) Given recent events, I thought it’d be helpful to put all the tidbits together, showing what happened step by step. Americans Making Money Abroad. What’s the Problem? Paul Manafort was a longtime Republican consultant and lobbyist who’d developed a speciality working with unsavory, undemocratic clients. In 2004, he was hired by oligarchs supporting a pro-Russian party in Ukraine. It was a tough assignment: The Party of Regions needed an image makeover. A recent election had been marred by allegations that fraud had been committed in favor of the party’s candidate, prompting a popular revolt that became known as the Orange Revolution. In a memo for Ukraine’s reportedly richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, Manafort summed up the polling: Many respondents said they associated the Party of Regions with corruption and considered it the “party of oligarchs.”
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In October 2020, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that US intelligence agencies had warned the White House that Russian intelligence officers were using President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani as a means to transmit disinformation aimed at undermining the presidential campaign of Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
In January 2021, we reported that the US had imposed sanctions on Ukrainian individuals and entities, accusing them of associating with a pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker linked to efforts by President Donald Trump’s allies to dig up dirt on President-elect Joe Biden and his son.