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NY Times: 'Chaos Devoured' Manafort in Trump Campaign

Image: NY Times: 'Chaos Devoured' Manafort in Trump Campaign

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By    |   Saturday, 20 Aug 2016 01:34 PM

Paul Manafort, a veteran Republican strategist since the 1970s, is out of a job as Donald Trump's campaign chairman after appearing to find in Trump the one candidate whose campaign could not be brought under his control.

Ultimately Manafort's predictions to his confidants that he might not be able to remain on the job came true, reports The New York Times.

With a one-paragraph statement on his campaign's website, Trump announced that the seasoned operative had resigned his post leading the campaign.

The decision, though, didn't come as suddenly as the official statement implied and according to New York Times writers Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin, Trump's final straw may have been an article in their newspaper detailing the campaign's internal issues with Trump.

Manafort himself by that point, had become what Trump's son Eric on Friday described as a "distraction" to his father's campaign because of the growing reports that Manafort had allegedly been paid millions in cash through his business transactions with Ukraine leaders linked to Russia and the Kremlin.

"My father just didn't want to have the distraction looming over the campaign," Eric Trump told Fox News on Friday, in an apparent contradiction to his father's official statement that "this morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, hjs resignation from the campaign."

Newly minted campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who initially denied that Manafort was being forced out, on Friday told WABC Radio host Rita Cosby that Manafort was asked to step down, and the decision was "mutual and a very mutually respectful decision."

But even before the moves came against Manafort, his relationship was already cooling with Trump, reports The New York Times. His poll numbers dipped below Hillary Clinton's in most of the nation's polls, and Trump reportedly started to condemn Manafort with one of the dismissals he uses for people he holds in contempt like former GOP rival Jeb Bush: "low energy."

And last weekend, the article appeared.

Trump raged on Twitter against The Times, accusing it of "failing" and of referring to "anonymous sources and meetings that never happened," but he was also angry at Manafort, who he blamed for the article, sources told The Times.

Sunday, Trump pulled together Conway, ousted Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, and Stephen Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News, who he ended up days later naming as his campaign CEO. Manafort was there for part of that meeting, The Times reports.

It was at that time Ailes urged Trump to shake up the campaign's leadership. Further, Ailes reviewed some of the television commercials Manafort had brought together, and told Trump the spots were lackluster, an unnamed source told The Times.

Manafort was not told until Tuesday that Conway and Bannon were coming on board, taking positions over his. He held on for a few days before handing in his resignation on Friday, with Trump advisers, including Conway, insisting in television interviews  that Manafort's role in the campaign had not changed.

Ironically, Manafort stepped out while Trump's campaign appeared to be headed toward the pivot he'd pushed for. The unconventional nominee made three highly regarded speeches, including one in which he expressed "regret" for some of his stronger words, a step that took many critics by surprise.

Manafort's exit also comes as Trump is trying to bring back his campaign from a serious series of missteps, including his back-and-forth jabs at the Gold Star parents of an Army captain killed in battle and his initial refusal to endorse the campaigns of several powerful Washington Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The growing news about Manafort's ties in Ukraine also caused alarm among Trump's family. His son-in-law Jared Kushner, married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, had been concerned about the reports involving Manafort, notes The Times, especially considering that Trump has been quoted as admiring Russian President Vladimir Putin's leadership skills.

"The easiest way for Trump to sidestep the whole Ukraine story is for Manafort not to be there," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, now a close ally of Trump's.

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Paul Manafort, a veteran Republican strategist since the 1970s, is out of a job as Donald Trump's campaign chairman after appearing to find in Trump the one candidate whose campaign could not be brought under his control.
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Saturday, 20 Aug 2016 01:34 PM
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