Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, resigned from his position as chairman of the campaign on Friday morning.
Manafort’s resignation comes two days after Trump announced he was hiring Stephen Bannon as campaign chief executive and Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager.
“This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign,” Trump said in a statement. “I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today,” he added.
“Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”
Manafort’s resignation comes a week after a New York Times investigation into his involvement with a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. The Times’ investigation found that Manafort received $12 million in cash payments from the political party.
The payments raised concerns that Manafort had violated U.S. laws that required lobbyists to register as “foreign agents” with the Justice Department if they work with other governments.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign used the report to bolster the campaign’s claims that Trump is too supportive of Russia.
In July, similar concerns were raised after Trump sarcastically said that he hoped Russian hackers would find and release Clinton’s private emails.
Eric Trump implied that the recent controversy around Manafort led to his departure. “My father didn’t want to be, you know, distracted by whatever Paul was dealing with,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News.
“My father just didn’t want to have the distraction looking over the campaign and quite frankly looming over all the issues that Hillary’s facing right now.”
Trump hired Manafort to help guide the campaign in the event there was a contested nomination convention.
Republicans were comforted as Manafort assumed position as campaign manager in June, they believe he would help Trump pivot to run a more conventional campaign. However, the long hoped for pivot did not happen and establishment Republicans grew increasingly worried that Trump would lose in November.