Court documents: Paul Manafort wanted to galvanize 'Obama jews' against Ukrainian politician as part of his lobbying work

Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesFormer Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
  • Paul Manafort wanted to turn “Obama jews” against former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko as part of his lobbying work on behalf of a Ukrainian political party, according to federal prosecutors.
  • Manafort and his firm sought to discredit Tymoshenko in the United States, who garnered international support after being imprisoned by Manafort’s client, former President Viktor Yanukovych.
  • Manafort reached a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to two charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in exchange for his cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort sought to turn what he termed “Obama jews” against former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko as part of his lobbying work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, according to a Friday indictment prosecutors filed in federal court.

Manafort struck a cooperation deal with federal prosecutors on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team on Friday. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of obstruction of justice, two weeks before he was set to be tried on those and other charges in the District of Columbia.

The superseding criminal information document filed in court details Manafort’s lobbying activities on behalf of Yanukovych and the Party of Regions, which he pleaded guilty to conducting without registering himself as a foreign agent with the US State Department.

The Yanukovych administration prosecuted and imprisoned Tymoshenko in 2011 for an energy pipeline contract she signed with Russia, but several Western nations, including the United States, argued that the trial was politically motivated and spoke out in support of Tymoshenko.

Part of Manafort’s efforts included proliferating the claim that Tymoshenko was part of an anti-Semitic political party. His aim was to galvanize “Obama jews,” apparently referring to former President Barack Obama’s Jewish supporters, to “put pressure” on senior Obama administration officials who had expressed support for Tymoshenko to disavow her, thereby benefiting his client Yanukovych.

Prosecutors say he collaborated with an Israeli official to spread the story that Tymoshenko was allied with anti-Semitic causes to make the administration believe “the Jewish community will take this out on Obama on electionday if he does nothing.”

“I have someone pushing it on the NY Post. Bada bing bada boom,” Manafort wrote in an email to one his employees in his consulting firm, identified as Person D1 in the court documents.

In addition to accusing Tymoshenko of anti-Semitism, Manafort also spread stories that Tymoshenko ordered the killing of a Ukrainian official, telling his deputies on his lobbying firm to promote it “with no fingerprints,” the documents said.

“It is very important we have no connection,” he wrote, according to the court filing. “My goal is to plant some stink on Tymo.”

Manafort is now the fourth former Trump campaign official to reach a plea deal to cooperate in the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In August, a jury in Virginia convicted Manafort on eight federal counts of tax and bank fraud as part of a separate trial also prosecuted by the special counsel.

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