Amid Scrutiny, Paul Manafort Leaves Republican Convention Role

Paul Manafort, the longtime Republican strategist and chairman of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign, who had assumed an unpaid role advising party officials on the nominating convention, stepped aside on Saturday after questions arose about his involvement in the convention’s planning process.

Mr. Manafort’s move came after The New York Times reported that he had been on the ground in Milwaukee last week for planning meetings for the convention, as well as a Washington Post story that said he was involved in work connected to foreign officials and businesses.

“As a longtime, staunch supporter of President Trump and given my nearly 50 years experience in managing presidential conventions, I was offering my advice and suggestions to the Trump campaign on the upcoming convention in a volunteer capacity,” Mr. Manafort told The Times, in a statement provided by the Trump campaign.

“However, it is clear that the media wants to use me as a distraction to try and harm President Trump and his campaign by recycling old news,” he said.

“And I won’t let the media do that. So, I will stick to the sidelines and support President Trump every other way I can” to help defeat President Biden, the statement said.

Trump campaign officials declined to comment.

Mr. Manafort, who helped stave off efforts to thwart Mr. Trump’s nomination at the 2016 convention, was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for various financial crimes, including tax evasion, bank fraud, and money laundering — unrelated to the 2016 campaign — before being pardoned by Mr. Trump before he left office.

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