Paul Manafort served as the campaign chairman for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump between June and August 2016. Photo: Ida Mae Astute / ABC News
Public Relations

Trump's indicted former campaign manager was lobbyist on gaming issues

The announcement of criminal charges against three individuals who worked on the presidential campaign for Republican Donald Trump has sent the political and legal worlds into overdrive.

Trump was quick to distance himself from his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was among those indicted by a special federal prosecutor on a wide range of charges.

"Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign," the president wrote on Twitter after Manafort voluntarily turned himself in at a Federal Bureau of Investigation field office in Washington, D.C., on Monday morning.

But Trump's ties Manafort go back to a critical point of the president's early relationship with Indian Country. According to Slate, Trump hired Manafort's lobbying firm because he was worried about losing business to tribes.

"Well, you go up to Connecticut, and you look," Trump told the House Subcommittee on Native American Affairs on October 5, 1993, he lashed out at the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation for operating what at the time was the largest gaming facility in the world. "Now, they don't look like Indians to me."

Manafort's firm, which was called Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, also represented other non-Indian gaming interests, The Hartford Courant reported at the time. The paper was one of the few mainstream media outlets which provided contemporaneous coverage of Trump's incendiary remarks on Capitol Hill.

"I don't know if this lobbying does anything," Trump told the paper, "but they've represented me over the years, and I'm very loyal."

In addition to Manafort, Richard W. Gates III, who was deputy chair of the Trump campaign, was indicted. The charges against the pair cover actions they engaged in as "unregistered agents" -- in other words, lobbyists -- for foreign interests between 2006 and 2016, according to the indictment.

A third individual, George Papadopoulos, already pleaded guilty for lying about his interactions with foreign interests during Trump's presidential campaign. He was a foreign policy adviser to the campaign.

Read More on the Story:
Three former Trump campaign officials charged by special counsel (The Washington Post October 30, 2017)
Paul Manafort, Ex-Chairman of Trump Campaign, and Associate Plead Not Guilty to Money Laundering (The New York Times October 30, 2017)