CNN's Clarissa Ward Explains The Problematic Ties Between Paul Manafort And Ukraine's Former Pro-Russian President

Ward: “What Does This Really Say About The Kind Of Foreign Policy That Donald Trump Would Like To Espouse And The Kind Of People That He Would Like To Consort With And To Support?”

From the August 16 edition of CNN's New Day:

Video file

CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): All right, Clarissa, the money, this $12 million, this ledger may be a little bit of a distraction. Because the true currency here are the contracts, right? I mean Ukraine, [former Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych, that's only the beginning of the trail when it comes to what [Trump campaign chairman Paul] Manafort does. There was an entirely separate investigate into moving money from Russian oligarchs and who was it around [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and how deep does it go? And that is what wound up raising the eyebrows when you saw that Trump campaign got involved with changing the Republican platform on Ukraine. And then those lines in the speech yesterday about working with Russia and that Russia told us about the Boston bomber. It's all seen in a different context now. How deep might those contacts go? 

CLARISSA WARD: Well, Chris, let's just start out by looking at Viktor Yanukovych and what kind of a man and what kind of a president he was. This is someone who was jailed twice before becoming president for assault and for theft. This is somebody who rigged an election. This is somebody who was very well known to be one of the most rampantly corrupt leaders. This is somebody who ordered his own police to fire upon protesters in the Maidan after people came down to the square as part of an uprising against his corruption. Up to 100 people were killed in the Maidan revolution. And I actually visited his home, his estate. I should call it a mini-Versailles just outside of Kiev in the days after that protest movement was attempted to be quashed by him and he had left the country. 

And this Versailles, frankly, to be honest Chris, it actually looks like some of Donald Trump's properties. You're talking about Swarovski crystal embedded, private elevators, golden chandeliers, private zoos, millions and millions of dollars of Ukrainian money that had been funneled and embezzled. On top of that, you're talking about very deep contacts in the very murky waters of Putin's inner circle. Oleg Deripaska, one of the most notorious Russian oligarchs/gangsters, who has very close ties to President Putin. So what does this really say about the kind of foreign policy that Donald Trump would like to espouse and the kind of people that he would like to consort with and to support? Because as you heard just now, he has many times come out and said that President Putin is a good man. He seems to be frankly indifferent to his invasion of Crimea, which by the way was part of Ukraine, a sovereign country. And we heard yesterday in his speech, as I mention earlier, this kind of nostalgia for the hay day of the brutal dictator. So even if those $12.7 million are not an issue, the very deep association does raise serious moral questions.


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