Paul Manafort Calls Report by New York Times ‘Silly, Nonsensensical’

By Steven Klett, Epoch Times
August 15, 2016 Updated: August 15, 2016

Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort defended himself following a report by the New York Times alleging $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments in a handwritten ledger to Manafort from the former Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych’s political party.

“Once again, the New York Times has chosen to purposefully ignore facts and professional journalism to fit their political agenda, choosing to attack my character and reputation rather than present an honest report,” Manafort said in a statement obtained by NBC News.

“The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical.”

The New York Times reported that Yanukovych’s pro-Russian government was Manafort’s main client between the years 2007 and 2012, and that he’s being investigated by Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. 

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook made a statement in response to the report.

“Donald Trump has a responsibility to disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort’s and all other campaign employees’ and advisers’ ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities, including whether any of Trump’s employees or advisers are currently representing and or being paid by them,” Mook said in a statement.

The story surrounding Manafort’s connections to Yanukovych’s government comes concurrent with two issues in the Trump campaign: scrutiny for Trump’s comments about Putin, and a souring relationship with the Times.  

Earlier this year, Trump faced scrutiny after he described Russian President Vladamir Putin as a “strong leader.” Trump also faced scrutiny over comments he made calling on Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing 30,000 emails.

More recently, Trump has responded to coverage by The New York Times on him, who he’s repeatedly condemned as “failing.”  

The day before the paper ran the story about Manafort, it ran a story about the internal strife within the Trump campaign, eliciting a prompt and vehement response from the Republican candidate in a series of tweets.

“The failing talks about anonymous sources and meetings that never happened. Their reporting is fiction. The media protects Hillary!” Trump tweeted.

He continued, blaming the “corrupt media” for not covering him honestly. 

“If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn’t put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%,” he wrote in another tweet. 

Trump expanded his criticism to questioning what “freedom of the press” means. 

“It is not “freedom of the press” when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!” he continued.