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Manafort Registers as Foreign Agent    06/28 06:10

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul 
Manafort, has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for 
political consulting work he did for a Ukrainian political party, acknowledging 
that he coached party members on how to interact with U.S. government officials.

   Manafort says in a Justice Department filing Tuesday that his firm, DMP 
International, received more than $17 million from the Party of Regions, the 
former pro-Russian ruling party in Ukraine, for consulting work from 2012 
through 2014.

   Manafort is the second member of the Trump campaign to register as a foreign 
agent. In March, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn registered with 
the Justice Department for work his consulting firm performed for a Turkish 
businessman that he said could have aided the Turkish government. Both 
registrations came after the work had been completed.

   Manafort helmed Trump's campaign for about five months until August and 
resigned from the campaign immediately after The Associated Press reported on 
his firm's covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine's ruling 
political party. He is one of several people linked to the Trump campaign who 
are under scrutiny by a special counsel and congressional committees 
investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and potential coordination 
with Trump associates.

   Manafort has denied any coordination with Russia and has said his work in 
Ukraine was not related to the campaign.

   The Washington Post first reported Manafort's registration and posted a copy 
of his filing online Tuesday. The filing does not bear the date and time stamps 
showing that it has been formally received by the Justice Department's FARA 
unit. But Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni confirmed to several news outlets 
that Manafort had gone through with the registration.

   Maloni did not respond to phone calls or emails from AP seeking comment.

   His registration came more than two months after Maloni told the AP that 
Manafort would be registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Maloni 
later backed off that statement, saying in late April that Manafort was still 
considering his options after receiving guidance from the Justice Department.

   Under federal law, people who represent foreign political interests and seek 
to influence U.S. public opinion and policy are required to register with the 
Justice Department before they perform any work. Manafort's registration comes 
more than three years after he completed his work.

   The Justice Department rarely prosecutes violations of the Foreign Agents 
Registration Act. Instead, as in Manafort's case, they often work with 
lobbyists to get in compliance.

   In addition to Manafort, his deputy, Rick Gates, also registered for the 
Ukrainian political work. Gates also served in the Trump campaign. He could not 
be immediately reached for comment Tuesday evening.

   In the filing, Manafort said that his company's work was mostly focused on 
domestic Ukrainian politics as part of its work for the Party of Regions, which 
was led at the time by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The filing 
repeatedly states that Manafort's firm worked "to advance the goal of greater 
political and economic integration between Ukraine and the West."

   Manafort's firm also acknowledged that it had some involvement with a 
Brussels-based nonprofit called the European Centre for Modern Ukraine, saying 
that it provided "advice" to the entity.

   Last August, the AP reported that emails show that Manafort's firm and Gates 
directed the efforts of Washington lobbying firms that were working on behalf 
of the center.

   The emails show Gates directing lobbyists from Washington firm Mercury LLC 
to set up meetings between a top Ukrainian official and senators and 
congressmen on influential committees involving Ukrainian interests. Gates also 
had the firms gather information in the U.S. on a rival lobbying operation and 
directed efforts to undercut sympathy for Yulia Tymoshenko, an imprisoned rival 
of Yanukovych.

   Both of the lobbying firms involved in the work--- Mercury and The Podesta 
Group --- have since registered with the Justice Department as foreign agents.


(KA)

 
 
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