Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was indicted on federal conspiracy and money laundering charges Monday, has a long history of ties to pro-Putin groups in Ukraine. He also has a long history of connections to Donald Trump. According to leaked texts sent and received by his daughter, Andrea Manafort Shand, the two pals were “perfect allies.”
“Paul Manafort was brought in to lead the delegate process, which he did, and was dismissed not too long after that,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday. “Paul was brought on sometime in June, and by the middle of August he was no longer with the campaign,” then-press secretary Sean Spicer said in March.
Spicer’s statement was untrue, and Sanders’ claim was misleading.
The public record shows that Manafort, who had known Trump for decades, joined his campaign toward the end of March 2016. And Manafort’s eventual resignation didn’t necessarily indicate he was leaving Trump’s orbit, according to his daughter’s texts. Manafort Shand may have wanted to inflate her father’s role to impress her friends. But even after her father stepped down from the campaign last August, Manafort Shand was under the impression that he had continuing influence within the Trump campaign and beyond.
The following texts, sent by Manafort Shand to her sister, Jessica Manafort, and to friends and part of a cache discovered by the website Krypt3ia earlier this year, offer a markedly different understanding of the Trump/Manafort relationship than the president and his allies are attempting to sell. (Manafort previously confirmed the authenticity of several of the other texts to Politico.)
The texts have been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.
March 17, 2016: The Manafort daughters claim Trump asked their father to run his campaign.
Jessica Manafort: Guess who called Dad last night and asked him to run his convention.
Andrea Manafort Shand: Mom told me he was going to call dad. She told me to get ready for Trump to be president and pick the position in the White House I want.
JM: Dad gave him his list of requirements and so long as he can fulfill the list, Dad accepted.
March 29: Even before he was announced as campaign chairman, her father’s role was much larger than the public knew, Manafort Shand claims.
Friend: I’m not paying enough attention to really form an opinion. But yea I think economy makes sense, just hate what an asshole [Trump] is in the process.
AMS: Well hopefully my dad will help scale that back. That’s part of the reason he was brought on. He is refusing payment. Bc he doesn’t want to be viewed as Trump’s employee. Only having his expenses covered. He is involved purely because he wants to help the country and he thinks trump is best, so long as trump gets trained a bit. PS this is all top secret, so please do not repeat.
AMS: Dude he is second in command. Perhaps arguably running it. The campaign manager is all for show. [Corey Lewandowski] doesn’t do shit. Trump has been managing his own campaign
April 7: Manafort Shand paints her father as a master manipulator who is a close ally of Trump’s.
[After sending her friend a CNN article hinting at Manafort’s expanded role within the campaign.]
Friend: Is Paul getting a bigger role?! Seems like it ...
AMS: You’re surprised?? I told you this was the game. You think Paul does anything in moderation?
Friend: And like, if Trump gets elected, guess who’s gonna be chief of staff ...
AMS: Phffff. He would never accept.
Friend: Too many skeletons in his closet?
AMS: Too constrictive. Paul is a lone wolf. Has to go his own way. Do what he wants when he wants how he wants. He doesn’t have room for other people and their needs/wants.
Friend: Yea that sounds about right
AMS: He likes the challenge. That’s why he’s doing this. It’s a game for him. He isn’t being paid.
Friend: Man I bet he’s loving it.
AMS: This is pure sport. He is a power hungry egomaniac. Yes. He is loving it. Conclusively. Him and trump are perfect allies for this agenda. It’s so weird he is my dad.
AMS: It’s just weird. Like [my dad] doesn’t seem that smart. Like he is smart. But I know I’m smarter than him.
Friend: I don’t doubt that, he’s a master manipulator. Which seems pretty key.
AMS: He is very manipulative. I did inherit that ability. But I don’t exploit it like he does. I know all his tactics. They aren’t that brilliant but they do work.
Friend: But yes you’re right, you have a moral conscious [sic].
AMS: Like he just tells you the sky is green over and over. And eventually you are like is it? I don’t possess the ability to just lie like he does.
Friend: Yea he works his charm.
AMS: It’s confidence. When you say something unwaveringly, people start to believe it.
Friend: I mean yea that got Trump where he is today.
AMS: Yup. Perfect allies. Trump probably has more morals than my dad. Which is really just saying something about my dad. My dad is a psycho!!! At least trump let his wives leave him. Plus, Trump has been a good father.
AMS: Trump waited a little too long in my opinion, but I can attest to the fact that he has now hired one of the world’s greatest manipulators. I hope my dad pulls it off. Then I can sell my memoir with all his dirty secrets for a pretty penny.
[Later, Manafort Shand talks to another friend about her feelings regarding the campaign.]
AMS: He was brought on to be convention manager, but really it was always to run shit. And now that’s being publicly known. Or acknowledged I guess.
JM: Dad and Trump are literally living in the same building and mom says they go up and down all day long hanging and plotting together
April 12: Manafort Shand offers campaign-related favors from her father to a friend.
AMS: By the way, if you want to exploit my dad to better your career, please let me know.
Friend: Are you serious?
Friend: I wouldn’t be opposed to exploiting him.
AMS: I am on a business email basis with my dad.
AMS: My dad is Trump’s right-hand man right now and will be through November. But he won’t accept any position in the White House, so his leverage will diminish at that point (assuming Trump wins).
April 13: Manafort refused payment as a power play, his daughter claims.
AMS: Yup. That’s a match made in heaven. Egomaniacs galore.
AMS: But yea [my dad is] super tight with the Trumps. All the kids call him all the time. And him and Trump both live in Trump Tower in NYC. So it’s like a sitcom. Although — top top secret. Can’t repeat, promise? My dad isn’t getting paid for trump.
Friend: WHAT, really?
AMS: He refused payment. Trump is only covering expenses.
Friend: Political favors later?
AMS: Eh maybe but the truth of it is, I think there are rules for how much you can pay campaign personnel, so it isn’t much to start with — not to my dad anyway. And my dad wants Trump to listen to him and respect him. View him as an equal, not as staff. So refusing payment makes it so. And makes it clear to Trump why my dad is doing it — because he wants to.
AMS: And my dad won’t take an appointment either. Trump knows that, too. So this isn’t for personal gain for my dad, and that’s true — not a game. So why is my dad doing it? Sport.
AMS: This is his wheelhouse. And he gets off on power too. My dad loves challenges and this is like a chess game. He got a mistress because he was bored. Trump is his new mistress.
May 19: Although her father was never officially co-manager with Lewandowski, Manafort Shand claims that was effectively the case.
[After sending her friend a link to an ABC article about Manafort moving up yet again within the campaign.]
AMS: My mom told me they were gonna call them co-managers, and then Corey went to Trump’s son-in-law, Ivanka’s husband, and burst into tears about how that would ruin him. So since my dad doesn’t care about titles, this was the compromise.
May 26: Manafort Shand offers campaign-related favors from her father to Lockheed Martin.
Friend: Helleeew! I have an awkward favor/question to ask, so if you’re not down, I totally understand. I’m not sure how you and your dad are these days, and I’m gonna guess you’re overloaded with requests to get in touch, but if it’s do-able, could you help me get in touch with or pass on an email to someone in your dads office?
AMS: Sure, what’s your end goal?
Friend: It’s not an effort to help the campaign. My dad works for Lockheed Martin, and they want to essentially let Trump’s transition team know that they’re ready, available, and happy to provide info about defense acquisition and sustainment. So to discuss policy. But they can’t reach out to Trump’s team — the team would have to reach out to them. So I’ve got an email with info that would be amazing if passed on to the right people. Again — if this is not your cup of tea, totally forget I asked. I’m only asking bc it’s my dad.
AMS: I hear ya — it’s not a problem, I just think it’s probably a bit early. But I can ask my mom who the right person would be to receive the email. I would imagine Rick Davis or Rick Gates. But I’ll find out and let you/them know.
Friend: Thank you!! I really appreciate it. I think they want to get in front ahead of time instead of play catch up. I feel weird asking for a favor like this haha.
AMS: You’re not the first. It’s no bother. I am happy to be a conduit. I just can’t promise anything other than initial access.
Friend: Just being a conduit is amazing! Zero expectations, just doin what I can for my dad so anything at all is fucking great.
AMS: Totally get it. Not every day you know the man behind the man. Gotta exploit it. Which is why I am happy to help. Cuz fuck it, hopefully someone can benefit by my relation to the count of Monte Cristo.
June 20: Manafort had enough sway to pick Trump’s vice president, his daughter claims.
AMS: My dad is picking VP. So there’s that.
Aug. 17: Trump hires Steve Bannon and promotes Kellyanne Conway. Manafort Shand claims that her father was really the one who hired them and that public perception of his being sidelined is incorrect.
AMS: [My dad] hasn’t been demoted. That’s total bullshit. No surprise that the media is wrong. Again. My dad hired those 2 people. Interviewed them in trump towers
Aug. 19: Manafort Shand claims that her father’s resignation was merely to appease the public, but that he’s still very much involved.
AMS: So I got to the bottom of it. As I suspected, my dad resigned from being the public face of the campaign but is still very much involved behind the scenes. He felt he was becoming a distraction and that would ultimately take a toll on the campaign.
Friend: Wow. Well, I’m really glad he’s still part of it. Seriously, who knows what would have happened at the convention if he wasn’t running the show.
AMS: Yes for sure. He said that, in the next few weeks, we should hopefully be seeing a new Trump, so to speak. Last night’s speech was a speech my dad had been pushing him to make for several weeks, and since it was so well-received, he thinks Trump will be more responsive to doing things a bit differently.
Friend: Thoughts go out to your pops — I can only imagine that he’s relieved, angry, hurting, a combination of a lot of emotions. Wishing you and your fam the best
AMS: Hahaha, you’re so silly. It’s all just PR.
Paul Manafort, Andrea Manafort Shand and the White House did not respond to requests for comment.