Former Trump campaign chairman to register as foreign agent

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Former Trump campaign chairman to register as foreign agent

Washington, Apr 13 (AP) President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for lobbying work he did on behalf of political interests in Ukraine, led at the time by a pro-Russian political party, his spokesman has said.

Manafort is the second Trump campaign adviser to have to register as a foreign agent since the election. The confirmation that he intends to register comes as the Trump administration has been facing heavy scrutiny over the foreign ties of former campaign advisers and other Trump associates.

By registering retroactively, Manafort will be acknowledging that he failed to properly disclose his work to the Justice Department as required by federal law.

The Justice Department rarely prosecutes such violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, but Manafort will now have to publicly and specifically detail his foreign agent work. That includes which American government agencies and officials he sought to influence, how he was paid and the details of contracts he signed as part of the work.

Before, Manafort had been able to keep much of that information out of public view.

Manafort began discussions with the government about his lobbying activities after Trump hired him in March 2016, Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said yesterday, although it was unclear whether those conversations occurred before or after Trump forced Manafort to resign in August.

Manafort has recently been given guidance by federal authorities related to whether he should register as a foreign agent, Maloni said.

Asked by The Associated Press whether Manafort intends to register as a foreign agent, Maloni said: “Yes, he is registering.”

Manafort’s resignation from the campaign came immediately after the AP had reported that Manafort’s consulting firm between 2012 and 2014 orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling political party without disclosing that it was working as a foreign agent.

Manafort’s decision to register as a foreign agent comes about one month after former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn registered with the Justice Department for work he did that could have benefited the Turkish government. (AP) RB

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.