The Manafort scramble: Raising millions for himself even as he ran Trump’s campaign | News Sponsored by

Aug 10, 18
The Manafort scramble: Raising millions for himself even as he ran Trump’s campaign | News Sponsored by

Paul Manafort, a valued customer of the Trump Organization who had spent $3.7 million to buy Apartment 43G in Trump Tower, appeared to be just what Donald Trump wanted in March 2016: A consummate Washington insider, deeply experienced in the byzantine art of wrangling convention delegates, yet also someone who could claim to be an outsider, a successful entrepreneur with overseas clients. Manafort’s offer to take on the planning for the Republican convention in Cleveland that summer was almost too good to be true: The legendary Washington political consultant and lobbyist, a man who visibly enjoyed the fruits of his labor, was curiously volunteering to work for free. The candidate liked what he saw. Manafort was in. What no one in Trump’s inner circle knew was that just as they were bringing Manafort aboard, the man who would manage the campaign through the vital transition from the primaries to the convention and beyond was scrambling to save his own business. Manafort managed to get through his six months at the pinnacle of the Trump campaign without letting on that his consulting business was tanking and that he was making moves that would lead inexorably to the federal trial now underway in Alexandria, Va. — an ordeal that could end with Manafort spending the rest of his life in prison. From March to August of the election year, there was no sign, according to Trump campaign insiders, that Manafort was in crisis. Presidential nominee Donald Trump gives a thumbs up alongside his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and daughter Ivanka during Trump’s walk-through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016. (Rick Wilking/Reuters) “Nothing, zero, zip, nada,” said Michael Caputo, a longtime friend of Manafort’s who also worked on the campaign that spring. “Paul Manafort is the iceman. He finds stress nourishing. He’s not just calm in the face of stress — it’s something he thrives on.” But as Manafort’s trial on tax and bank fraud charges enters its home stretch, emails and other documents submitted as evidence show that the man who had taken on the enormous task of turning around a troubled presidential campaign was at the same time carrying out what prosecutors portray as a global fraud scheme. At the least, the documents make clear that despite the heavy demands of the campaign, Manafort was also busy maneuvering to salvage his own finances, with an eye toward building a new phase of his career. Manafort knew he was in danger well before he sought the Trump campaign job. His most lucrative client had gone dry: Viktor Yanukovych, the ex-president of Ukraine, was in exile. Manafort’s expenses quickly outpaced his income. In April 2015, Manafort sent a panicked email to his longtime deputy, Rick Gates, about his tax situation, which included an estimated $500,000 jump in his tax bill. “WTF? How could I be blindsided like this,” he wrote. “You told me you were on top

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