Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, on Friday suggested that Paul Manafort left the Trump campaign due to recent reports on his ties to Ukraine, citing comments Eric Trump made earlier in the day.
“I think Eric said it very clearly, his father does not want the distraction or potential distraction of more stories coming about Paul Manafort and any relationships or ties he has with things taking place overseas,” Lewandowski, said when asked about Manafort leaving his role as campaign chair.
Lewandowski’s assessment came after Eric Trump suggested that Manafort left due to his relationship with pro-Russia Ukrainian politicians, though Trump did not mention Manafort’s overseas ties directly.
“My father didn’t want to be you know distracted by whatever things Paul was dealing with,” Eric Trump said on Fox News.
“My father just didn’t want to have the distraction looming over the campaign and quite frankly looming over all the issues that Hillary is facing right now,” he later added.
Manafort’s ties to Ukraine and Russia gained attention this week after a report that a secret ledger showed Manafort was given cash payments by the political party of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Another report this week revealed that Manafort’s firm ran a lobbying operation in the U.S. to gain positive media coverage of Ukraine’s pro-Russian government.
Lewandowski actually shared one of the stories about Manafort’s ties to Ukraine on Twitter this week. The two former Trump campaign leaders relationship was filled with tension when they worked together on the campaign. Lewandowski left the Trump campaign after he reportedly clashed with Manafort, whose role had been elevated in an attempt to make the Trump campaign more professional.