Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence defended Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, after the New York Times reported that Manafort has been named in a corruption investigation in Ukraine relating to his work for the country’s former president.
"I think Paul Manafort has dismissed that as completely false and inaccurate and I accept him at his word,” Pence said in an interview with Fox 28 Columbus.
Before joining the Trump campaign, Manafort worked as a political adviser to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was overthrown in 2014. The Times reports that Ukrainian anti-corruption authorities have a handwritten ledger that shows $12.7 million in off-the-books cash payments from Yanukovych’s political party being earmarked for Manafort.
Pence went on to accuse Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation of financial improprieties.
“What's hard for me to understand is how, a week ago, documented information came out to demonstrate that wealthy foreign donors who made major contributions to the Clinton Foundation, who were apparently then gained access to the State Department has gotten such little attention," he said.
"The truth is Mr. Manafort is involved in our campaign, but he's not running for president. Donald Trump is running for president and so is Hillary Clinton. I think it would be very important that the public have the ability to know and understand the extent to which this ultimately was a pay-to-play arrangement.”
Pence continued to say that the FBI had wanted to initiate an investigation into Clinton, but that President Obama’s Justice Department pressured the agency not to do so.