When news broke in recent weeks that the FBI was investigating top Trump aides for potentially improper communications with Russia, Paul Manafort was, unsurprisingly, named as one of the subjects of the investigation. Manafort, who served as the Trump campaign “CEO” before being dismissed in the summer of 2016, has reportedly made a fortune lobbying on behalf of foreign governments and politicians, including pro-Russia regimes in the Ukraine.
Now, Politico is reporting that hackers have obtained texts sent to Manafort’s daughter over the summer, indicating a scheme to blackmail Manafort and possibly Donald Trump. The hacked texts included a note to Paul Manafort citing “‘bulletproof’ evidence related to Manafort’s financial arrangement with Ukraine’s former president, the pro-Russian strongman Viktor Yanukovych, as well as an alleged 2012 meeting between Trump and a close Yanukovych associate named Serhiy Tulubm,” reports Politico.
The blackmail attempt reads, in pertinent part, “Considering all the facts and evidence that are in my possession, and before possible decision whether to pass this to [the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine] or FBI I would like to get your opinion on this and maybe your way to work things out that will persuade me to do otherwise.”
Manafort confirmed on the authenticity of the hacked texts on Tuesday. Manafort said he did not respond to the blackmail attempt, but forwarded the texts to his lawyer. The purported author of the texts, Ukrainian parliamentarian Serhiy Leshchenko, denies any involvement with the texts.