Paul Manafort, Trump’s Former Campaign Chairman, Returns to the Republican Arena

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Paul Manafort, the longtime Republican strategist who was chairman of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign, helped stave off efforts to thwart his nomination at the convention, went to prison and was pardoned by Mr. Trump, has begun advising efforts for the Republican National Convention.

Mr. Manafort, for decades a lobbyist who worked with foreign governments and had extensive experience with past Republican conventions, was present last week for meetings in Milwaukee, where the July convention will take place, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Manafort’s involvement with the convention has been expected for weeks, as Trump advisers have discussed bringing him on to help with the event — in an unpaid capacity — and it has already generated controversy.

Mr. Manafort did not respond to a message seeking comment. A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign and the R.N.C. did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Mr. Manafort, 75, was an adviser for Bob Dole’s presidential campaign in 1996 and managed the Republican convention that year. He was brought on to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign in the spring as the candidate was facing an effort to deprive him of the delegates necessary to become the nominee at the convention.

Mr. Manafort’s involvement with Mr. Trump’s campaign was relatively short-lived. In August 2016, he was ousted in part over headlines about his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. Later, Mr. Manafort was ensnared in the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, into ties between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

Mr. Manafort was one of only a few Trump advisers who were sentenced to prison. Mr. Trump praised him for not cooperating with the government investigation and pardoned Mr. Manafort at the end of his presidential term. The Washington Post reported this week that Mr. Manafort has re-engaged with work for foreign interests and political figures, including a Chinese entertainment streaming service. He denied working for the service, but told the paper he had made introductions to potential U.S. partners.

Mr. Manafort’s precise role for this convention remains unclear. He is expected to be involved with advising the staffing structure of the platform committee, although he is not supposed to be involved in the substance of the platform itself, according to one of the people briefed on the matter.

The platform debate will be especially significant for the party this year. In 2020, the Republican Party did not adopt a new platform amid a series of changes to the convention because of the coronavirus pandemic, and simply reverted to the platform from 2016.

And in a controversy that received little attention at the time, language was inserted into the platform watering down language supporting Ukraine with military aid against Russian incursions. That language change was among the issues Mr. Mueller sought information about during his investigation.



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