New revelations about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has the entire political sphere in a tizzy. Manafort’s connections to the Ukrainian and Russian governments have been known for some time, but just how deep those connections were, and how much money he made, is coming to light and causing serious problems for Trump’s candidacy.
A handwritten book being dubbed the “Black Ledger” was disclosed publicly by the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau which shows Manafort received a whopping $12.7 million in cash payments from the former Ukranian pro-Russia dictator Viktor F. Yanukovych’s political party from 2007 to 2012. Investigators in Ukraine state these payments were made off-the-books and are illegal.
A former senior official in the Ukranian general prosecutor’s office, Vitaliy Kasko, said of Manafort’s cash payments, “He understood what was happening in Ukraine. It would have to be clear to any reasonable person that the Yanukovych clan, when it came to power, was engaged in corruption. It’s impossible to imagine a person would look at this and think, ‘Everything is all right.’”
However, Manafort’s lawyer, Richard A. Hibey, denies all allegations. He said, “These are suspicions, and probably heavily politically tinged ones. It is difficult to respect any kind of allegation of the sort being made here to smear someone when there is no proof and we deny there ever could be such proof.”
For now, the allegations against Manafort remain just that — allegations. The ledger is hand written, and the handwriting has yet to be authenticated. However, if and when the ledger is authenticated, it will either doom or vindicate Manafort. If this happens before the November presidential election the outcome will have serious implications on Trump’s path to victory.