Updated: Jan 18, 2021
Prior to working for the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, Paul Manafort had extensive dealings in Ukraine and other countries. He was first hired in 2004 by a Russian Oligarch named Oleg Derpiaska to help pro-Russia candidates get elected. In doing this, he also developed ties to Ukrainian Oligarchs and worked closely with Konstantin Kilimnik, who the Committee has found to be a Russian intelligence officer. By 2016, Manafort’s work in Ukraine had declined and he claimed he was still owed millions of dollars from the Party of Regions (POR) who were funded by the Ukrainian oligarchs. Manafort had also had a falling out with Deripaska over a business venture.
While working free of charge on the 2016 Trump campaign, Manafort sought to use his position to collect the money he felt he was owed in Ukraine, and mend his relationship with Deripaska. He also stayed in contact with Kilimnik, to whom he would send campaign and polling information. Manafort was not vetted for financials or foreign contacts by the Trump campaign. Manafort also continued work with Kilimnik on a Ukrainian peace plan. After resigning from the 2016 Trump Campaign, Manafort stayed in contact with members of the campaign including Trump and Jared Kushner. Manafort, along with Kilimnik and Deripaska, worked to counter allegations that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election by attempting to place the blame on Ukraine.