Daily Beast reports;
As the Russia probe widens, White House aides are pointing fingers at Trump's former campaign chair: 'There is no trust… There never really was any to begin with.'
President Donald Trump would have you believe that Paul Manafort wasn't all that involved with his campaign, and for good reason: Behind the scenes, Trump's aides fume that the former campaign chairman is at least partially responsible for the president's deepening legal woes.
"I know Mr. Manafort. Haven't spoken to him for a long time, but I know him," Trump said of his former top campaign aide on Thursday. The president was reacting to news that a dozen FBI agents had raided one of Manafort's four homes late last month and carried off tax documents and banking records, as The New York Times reported on Wednesday. "That's pretty tough stuff," Trump told reporters.
The president and his White House staff have for months minimized Manafort's role and time on the 2016 presidential campaign, repeatedly describing it as a "very short period of time."
Trump's attempt to downplay his relationship with Manafort left out some pertinent facts, however.
Manafort was integral to the Trump campaign's efforts to secure Republican delegates at last year's convention. He reportedly remained in touch with the White House as late as April of this year, and helped craft the administration's early strategy to counter allegations that it colluded with agents of the Russian government during last year's election.
According to sources close to the president, many on Team Trump blame Manafort for special counsel Robert Mueller's divergence from election interference and foray into the private finances of the president's family, and political and business associates.
Though Trump himself has engaged in a number of opaque foreign business deals, his aides believe it was Manafort's work in Russia, Ukraine, and elsewhere that set off the special counsel's alarm bells—and got him digging into issues only tangentially related to alleged Russian election shenanigans.
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