The public shouldn’t take the exit of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort as the end of his ties to Russia, says Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook.
Following Manafort’s exit amid questions over his lobbying for pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs, Mook said told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump still needs to explain a “web of financial ties” that connects the Republican candidate to Moscow.
“There’s a web of financial interests that have not been disclosed,” he said. “And there are real questions being raised about whether Donald Trump himself is just a puppet for the Kremlin in this race.”
Mook cautioned that the Russian government is still at the “core” of Trump’s campaign, and went on to accuse Trump of “parroting” remarks made by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It’s clear that they are supporting Donald Trump,” he said. “But we now need Donald Trump to explain to us the extent to which the Kremlin is at the core of his own campaign.”
“We saw the Republican Party platform change,” he went on. “We saw Donald Trump talk about leaving NATO and leaving his Eastern European allies vulnerable to a Russian attack. The gentleman he brought with him to his security briefing just last week is someone who’s on the payroll of Russian Times, which is basically a propaganda arm of the Kremlin.”
The man that Mook was referring to is Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a former Defense Intelligence Agency director who serves as an analyst for Russian English-language network RT. He noted that Flynn attended RT’s 10th anniversary dinner in Moscow late last year.
“He was sitting two seats away from Vladimir Putin at their 10th anniversary gala,” he added.
Trump has made several trips to Russia himself, and has previously said of Putin, “I think he’d like me. I think I’d get along great with him, if you want to know the truth.”
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