With the Republican Lanny Davis relieved of his responsibilities of giving inevitably ignored advice to the candidate, the changing of the Trump campaign’s power structure is now official:
Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, hired in April because someone decided they needed an adult in the office, has resigned amidst incredibly damning reports of his sketchy political work in the Ukraine.
Manafort has been around the GOP a long time; he’s also been in Russia, where, as the Associated Press reports, he was part of coordinating a “covert Washington lobbying operation” to make American politicians sympathetic to the pro-Russian government installed in the Ukraine. It was apparently a lucrative business; secret ledgers listed Manafort as receiving over $12 million in cash payments between 2007 and 2012 from the Party of Regions, the pro-Russian party of deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Making tyrants look sympathetic is a cornerstone of Manafort’s career; installing a burbling ochre reality TV baby into the highest office in the United States should’ve been a snap. But the persistent reporting on his Ukraine ties weakened his position in the campaign the Washington Post says, along with Trump hiring two new staffers: former Breitbart executive Stephen K. Bannon and GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway.
Trump’s statement called Manafort a professional. As Olivia Nuzzi observes, that was presumably the last straw.