The FBI is looking into Paul Manafort’s foreign business and political dealings, NBC reports.
Manafort, who resigned as Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet Grill company apologizes after sending meatloaf recipe on same day of rock star's death MORE’s campaign manager in August, was previously an international political consultant.
He became a liability for the Trump campaign amid reports of his involvement with a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.
One damaging New York Times story earlier this year alleged the party had earmarked more than $12 million in under-the-table cash payments, raising questions about whether Manafort had run afoul of U.S. lobbying laws that would require him to register as a “foreign agent” with the Justice Department.
Manafort has denied the allegations, as well as the Monday NBC report that the FBI has opened an inquiry.
"None of it is true. ... There's no investigation going on by the FBI that I'm aware of,” Manafort told NBC.
"This is all political propaganda, meant to deflect," he said.
Sources told NBC that the FBI review is not a full-blown criminal investigation, but rather an initial inquiry.
It comes as the FBI continues to deal with blowback over its decision to renew an investigation into whether Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE or her top aides mishandled classified information.
FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to lawmakers on Friday saying his agency had potentially uncovered new information that seemed “pertinent” to its prior investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
That bombshell has provoked backlash against the FBI, with critics accusing Comey of playing politics and seeking to influence the campaign less than two weeks before Election Day.
On Monday, CNBC reported that Comey argued against accusing Russia of interfering in the U.S. presidential election because of the timing, even though he agreed with the conclusion that a foreign power was working to influence the race.
Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters Biden hits one-year mark in dire straits 'All or nothing' won't bolster American democracy: Reform the filibuster and Electoral Count Act MORE (D-Nev.) ripped Comey in a letter to the FBI Sunday, alleging that the agency was sitting on “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government.”
Democrats have lambasted Trump throughout the campaign for praising Russian President Vladmir Putin. They have warned that if Trump becomes president, he’ll look to profit off his relationships in the region at the expense of U.S. interests there.
More recently, Clinton supporters have alleged that Trump and his allies have aided the Russians in hacking emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.
Earlier this month, a Democratic group filed a complaint with the FBI alleging that Trump ally Roger Stone may have been colluding with the Russian government to hack American computers and manipulate the presidential election.