A second former Trump campaign official registers as a foreign agent

President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is registering as a foreign agent, according to a recent Associated Press report.

But Trump's puzzling affection for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin - and Putin's subsequent efforts to intervene in the United States presidential campaign on Trump's behalf - cast Manafort's work in a somewhat different light.

Lobbying firms tied to Manafort and his prior work for the political party of ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych are in the process of retroactively registering with the Justice Department. Manafort has worked, in one capacity or other, for foreign politicians since at least his mid-1980s advocacy on behalf of Angolan guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi, a onetime Maoist who was trying to rebrand himself as a freedom fighter for the Reagan era. However, he said that "any wire transactions received by my company are legitimate payments for political consulting work that was provided". Manafort is now set to declare his work for Yanukovych three years after the fact.

Former Minnesota Republican Rep. Vin Weber, who was directly involved in the Mercury Group's lobbying, said in a phone interview previous year that Manafort had "approached" him about taking on the think tank as a client.

Also Wednesday, one of the Washington lobbying firms involved in the covert effort for the Ukrainian party, the Podesta Group Inc., formally registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. "I did not work for the Russian government", he told CNN in a statement last month. The registration process is much more rigorous than if someone registered under the lobbying act for US and corporate lobbyists-which many prefer to do.

It's common for the Justice Department to work with those who violate the Foreign Agent Registration Act rather than prosecuting them, but that's just a small part of Manafort's potential legal headaches.

Then in March, an invoice surfaced that appears to show Manafort got another $750,000 transfer while he worked for the party.

On the very same day that Paul Manafort left Trump's presidential campaign he formed a shell corporation that borrowed $13 million from Trump-connected businesses, according to reports Wednesday. Asked by The Associated Press whether Manafort intends to register as a foreign agent, Maloni said: "Yes, he is registering". This comes less than 24 hours after the report that former Trump campaign foreign policy Carter Page was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an agent of Russian intelligence.

And for good measure, let's note that Trump's Attorney General has come under fire for saying under oath that he didn't speak to Russian officials during the campaign - claims that turned out to be untrue, and Trump's polymathic son-in-law had previously undisclosed communications with Russian officials, too. "The signature is not mine, and I didn't sell computers", Manafort said, noting that he believes people are taking "disparate pieces of information and distorting their significance through a campaign of smear and innuendo".

KIM: Chornovil says he clashed with Manafort over election strategy. But the Justice Department requires Americans working on behalf of foreign interests to register, disclosing the nature of their work, the foreigners they dealt with and the money they made.

Leshchenko said US authorities should investigate what he described as corrupt deals between Manafort and Yanukovych. The secret documents, which detail payments doled out by Ukraine's pro-Russia party before it was deposed, lists $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments to Manafort between 2007 and 2012.

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