Donald Trump's embattled campaign manager Paul Manafort stepped down Friday morning, capping off yet a chaotic week of staff reshuffling and ending his five-month stint of running the Republican nominee's operation.
"I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today," Trump said in a statement. "[In] particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success."
Manafort's resignation comes two days after Trump effectively replaced with him with two major hires. Former Breitbart News chairman Stephen Bannon is assuming the position of "campaign CEO" and Kellyanne Conway will be the campaign manager, Trump announced Wednesday.
Manafort was a controversial figure nearly as soon as he came on board the Trump campaign in March. A veteran GOP operative, Manafort was hired to bring some adult supervision to the campaign and help Trump clinch the nomination through the end of the primary process. But in recent days, details have emerged about Manafort's connections to foreign authoritarian leaders, in particular his work for Ukraine's pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych.
Manafort, and his deputy Rick Gates, were paid by the Ukrainian government to lobby on behalf of Yanukovych and influence American public opinion in favor of pro-Russian interests, according to reporting by the Associated Press. They never disclosed the amount of money received for their efforts nor did they register with the Department of Justice as foreign agents, in apparent violation of federal law that requires US lobbyists to disclose the amount paid by foreign entities.
The Trump campaign and Manafort did not immediately respond to VICE News' requests for comment.
On Thursday, Trump said as president he would not allow officials in his administration to accept payment from corporations who lobby or "any entity tied to a foreign government." The campaign's statement did not address Manafort's Russian or Ukrainian connections.
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