Manafort sought to hurt Clinton 2016 campaign efforts in key states: NYT

Manafort sought to hurt Clinton 2016 campaign efforts in key states: NYT
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Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDOJ releases new tranche of Mueller witness documents Treasury adviser pleads guilty to making unauthorized disclosures in case involving Manafort DOJ argues Democrats no longer need Mueller documents after impeachment vote MORE, the former campaign chairman for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE, sought to establish a back channel to hurt Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters The Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Rosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts MORE’s 2016 campaign effort in key states, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Manafort wanted to form a back channel to the AFL-CIO, the main labor federation in the U.S., to encourage it to reduce get-out-the-vote efforts designed to help Clinton in Michigan and Wisconsin, three people close to the 2016 Trump campaign told the Times. The federation typically backs Democrats for the White House and had endorsed Clinton.

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The former campaign chairman reportedly suggested to the AFL-CIO that then-candidate Donald Trump was open to loosening his backing of right-to-work laws that unions usually disagree with, one of the people briefed told the Times.

There is no evidence that a deal was made or executed between the Trump campaign and the AFL-CIO, but Manafort told others that he was using Steven Brown to connect with at least two senior federation officials, three people with knowledge of what took place told The Times. 

Brown, who worked with Manafort in Ukraine in 2013, had pushed to meet with an AFL-CIO field operative Don Slaiman, who initially told the Times that they communicated through spokesman Josh Goldstein. 

“He wanted to meet with me,” Slaiman told the Times. “I never did. I responded to him because we regularly communicated with both Democrats and Republicans — our focus is on pro-labor issues not party identification.”

These con artists were delusional if they believed that the labor movement would enter into any kind of deal,” he added.

The Hill reached out to the White House, the AFL-CIO, the Trump re-election campaign and an attorney for Manafort for comment. Manafort's attorney declined to comment.

Manafort is currently in prison for tax fraud, bank fraud and failure to disclose a foreign bank account. He left Trump’s campaign in August 2016.

Trump won Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as some experts have said Clinton did not spend enough resources in the battleground states.