Why did Trump keep talking to Manafort?

Why did Trump keep talking to Manafort?

by digby

As only one of two people left who could become President, why wouldn’t the FBI or Department of “Justice” have told me that they were secretly investigating Paul Manafort (on charges that were 10 years old and had been previously dropped) during my campaign? Should have told me!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2018

Uhm ok. But he certainly knew by this time:
Paul Manafort Is Back and Advising Donald Trump on Cabinet Picks

Paul Manafort left the Trump campaign back in August, or did he? Sources confirm to The Daily Beast that he’s back advising the president-elect.


11.30.16 9:35 PM ET

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts—Paul Manafort stood in the foyer of the third-floor ballroom of the Charles Hotel, across the street from the Taubman Building of the Harvard Kennedy School, on Wednesday. Having left his mafioso uniform of gleaming pinstripe suit and tie at home in favor of a half-zip sweater and casual slacks, he went mostly unnoticed, even at an event for political operatives and junkies, where a man of his status should be a star. And Harvard, it turns out, is not the only place the ex-chairman of the Donald Trump presidential campaign and former lobbyist for some of the worst dictators and killers of the 20th century is operating in the shadows these days.

According to two sources with knowledge of the Trump presidential transition process, Manafort—whose formal association with the president-elect ended in August—is heavily involved with the staffing of the nascent administration.
But now, a few months and an election night victory later, it seems Manafort is back, and in a position he surely finds more comfortable: one shrouded in almost total mystery.

“When they’re picking a cabinet, unless he contacts me, I don’t bother him,” one former campaign official who worked closely with Manafort told The Daily Beast. “It’s a heady time for everyone.”

“I think he’s weighing in on everything,” the former official said, “I think he still talks to Trump every day. I mean, Pence? That was all Manafort. Pence is on the phone with Manafort regularly.”

As a lobbyist, Manafort is particularly concerned with decisions the president-elect might make that will affect his industry, the former official explained. “A guy like Manafort tries to make sure that the government is as comfortable for business as possible. He wants names he knows on every door.”

“He’s not worried as much about who’s the secretary of HHS,” the former official added, “as he is about who’s the secretary of HUD.”

Another Trump campaign source who worked alongside Manafort confirmed to The Daily Beast that he is heavily involved in selecting the incoming administration’s “personnel picks.”

When The Daily Beast caught up with Manafort sometime later, he would neither confirm nor deny his presence on the Trump transition team.

“I don’t want to get into that,” he said. “I’m here to talk about the campaign, I don’t want to talk about transition.”

When pressed on the issue, he reemphasized, “no comment,” before continuing a conversation with several other people.

Meanwhile in Cambridge, Conway, who now acts as a senior adviser to the president-elect, was making her way through the hotel lobby for check-in.

She told The Daily Beast she had “no comment” on the Manafort matter. “But I can research that and get back to you,” she added.

She winked and continued walking with her roller bag.

More here:

Ousted campaign chief Paul Manafort seeks to shape Trump transition

By Gregory Krieg and Jamie Gangel, CNN

Updated 4:32 PM ET, Thu December 1, 2016

Sources: former Trump campaign chairman involved in transition

Spokeswoman denies that Manafort is 'in communication' with Trump

(CNN)Paul Manafort has reemerged as a player in the fight to shape the new administration, senior Republicans with knowledge of the transition tell CNN on Thursday, after resigning under pressure as the chairman of Donald Trump's campaign this summer.

Manafort solidified his ties to the incoming White House when Trump selected Vice President-elect Mike Pence as his running mate in mid-July. Both men are Capitol Hill veterans: Manafort as a lobbyist and Pence from his time as an Indiana congressman, with strong ties to the Republican establishment.

And with Pence firmly entrenched in Trump's inner circle alongside top strategist Steve Bannon, incoming Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and influential son-in-law Jared Kushner, Manafort -- who keeps a home in Trump Tower -- has a direct line to top decision-makers.

The image of an empowered Manafort, a longtime Washington operator with a murky slate of interests at home and abroad, would undercut Trump's pledge, already under fire given his early staffing choices, to "drain the swamp."

Trump spokesman Hope Hicks told CNN on Thursday that while staff contact with Manafort is "certainly not forbidden," he is "not involved in the transition team and is not in communication with the President-elect" and "definitively not involved in anything the President-elect is involved in."

Another source, who was considered for a cabinet position, also downplayed Manafort's role.
"Bannon, Reince, Pence and Jared are in the meetings," the source said. "Manafort and others offer opinions, but have little weight."

Still, the longtime K Street lobbyist and former Ronald Reagan operative has insinuated himself into the transition process through other channels, with allies like Rick Gates, who briefly served as the campaign's liaison to the Republican National Committee before leaving with Manafort in August, working behind the scenes on inauguration activities.


Manafort advised Trump team on Russia scandal

Former campaign chief remained in contact with the president and his aides after the FBI launched its Russia probe.

By KENNETH P. VOGEL 05/25/2017 05:22 AM EDT

Months after the FBI began examining Paul Manafort as part of a probe into ties between President Donald Trump’s team and Russia, Manafort called Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, to push back against the mounting controversy, according to four people familiar with the call.

It was about a week before Trump’s inauguration, and Manafort wanted to brief Trump’s team on alleged inaccuracies in a recently released dossier of memos written by a former British spy for Trump’s opponents that alleged compromising ties among Russia, Trump and Trump’s associates, including Manafort.

“On the day that the dossier came out in the press, Paul called Reince, as a responsible ally of the president would do, and said this story about me is garbage, and a bunch of the other stuff in there seems implausible,” said a person close to Manafort.

Manafort had been forced to resign as Trump’s campaign chairman five months earlier amid scrutiny of his work for Kremlin-aligned politicians and businessmen in Eastern Europe. But he had continued talking to various members of Trump’s team and had even had at least two conversations with Trump, according to people close to Manafort or Trump.


Trump’s former campaign chairman is under FBI investigation, but some say he is touting access to the president to prospective business partners.

By KENNETH P. VOGEL 06/15/2017 05:08 AM EDT

Paul Manafort is at the center of an FBI investigation into ties between President Donald Trump’s team and the Russians, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing business with international figures and companies, partly by claiming continued access to Trump, according to people familiar with his dealings.

AP March 22, 2017:

Manafort and his associates remain in Trump’s orbit. Manafort told a colleague this year that he continues to speak with Trump by telephone. Manafort’s former business partner in eastern Europe, Rick Gates, has been seen inside the White House on a number of occasions, helped plan Trump’s inauguration and now runs a nonprofit organization, America First Policies, to back the White House agenda.

Trump knew. He may have known the whole time. In fact, it may be why he he hired him.