Paul Manafort received payments from 'pro-Russian' party while Trump campaign chairman

On Wednesday, the Associated Press, or AP, reported confirmation that Paul Manafort's business received two payments listed in the 'Black Ledger,' a handwritten list of off-the-book disbursements made by a Russia-supporting political party in Ukraine.

Manafort once served as the chairman of the Trump Campaign. He joined the effort in March and was moved to the top position in mid-May. Manafortvacated the post in August amid talk of his involvement with the political group, notes the New York Times.

Though Manafort denied the validity of the ledger, bank records obtained by the AP reportedly show designated payments totaling no less than $1.2 million align with deposits into an account belonging to his firm.

RELATED: Key players in Trump-Russia connection allegations

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Key players in Trump-Russia connection allegations

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort signed on as Donald Trump's campaign manager in March 2016. A longtime Republican strategist and beltway operative, Manafort had previously served as an adviser to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich -- a pro-Russia leader who was violently ousted in 2014. Manafort resigned from his campaign position in August 2016 amid questions over his lobbying history in Ukraine for an administration supportive of Russia. The former campaign manager reportedly remained in Trump's circle during the post-election transition period.

Michael Flynn

Gen. Michael Flynn was named President Trump's national security adviser in November of 2016. Flynn reportedly met and spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, at one point discussing sanctions. Flynn originally told Vice President Pence he did not discuss sanctions -- a point the Department of Justice said made the national security adviser subject to blackmail. Flynn resigned from his position in February.

Sergey Kislyak

Outgoing Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak is the Russian official U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions -- communication Sessions denied during his Senate committee hearing testimony.

R. James Woolsey

Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has cooperated with Mueller's investigation and worked with Michael Flynn and was present at a meeting where they discussed removing the controversial Turkish Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen from US soil. 

(Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Roger Stone

Stone is a longtime Republican political consultant who served as a campaign adviser to Trump who continued to talk with the then-GOP candidate after stepping away from his adviser role. Stone claimed last year that he had knowledge of the planned WikiLeaks release of emails pertaining to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Stone recently admitted to speaking via direct message with "Guccifer 2.0" -- an online entity U.S. officials believe is tied to Russia. Stone says the correspondence was “completely innocuous.”

Jeff Sessions

Former U.S. senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama joined Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser in February 2016. Sessions was nominated to be U.S. attorney general by President Trump and was then confirmed by the Senate. Reports then emerged that Sessions had spoken twice with Sergey Kislyak while he was senator -- a fact that he left out of his Senate hearing testimony. Instead, he said in writing that he had not communicated with any Russian officials during the campaign season. Sessions defended himself saying he had spoken with Kislyak specifically in a senate capacity.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

The American intelligence community accused Putin in Jan. 2017 of ordering a campaign to undermine trust in the American electoral process, developing a clear preference for Trump as president. "We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump," the report read.

James Comey

Comey publicly confirmed in March an FBI inquiry into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election. “The F.B.I., as part of our counterintelligence effort, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 president election,” Comey stated.

Carter Page

Page worked for Merrill Lynch as an investment banker out of their Moscow office for three years before joining Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser. During his time with Merrill Lynch, Page advised transactions for two major Russian entities. Page has called Washington "hypocritical" for focusing on corruption and democratization in addressing U.S. relations with Russia. While Page is someone Trump camp has seemingly tried to distance itself from, Page recently said he has made frequent visits to Trump Tower.

J.D. Gordon

Before Gordon joined the Trump campaign as a national security adviser in March 2016, he served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005 through 2009. Like others involved in Trump-Russia allegations, Gordon met with ambassador Kislyak in July at the Republican National Convention, but has since denied any wrongdoing in their conversation. He advocated for and worked to revise the RNC language on and position toward Ukraine relations, so it was more friendly toward Russia's dealings in the country.

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According to AP, they were made in 2007 and 2009 in the amounts of $455,249 and $750,000, respectively.

That is, some time prior to Manafort becoming the manager of the Trump Campaign, and the AP considers the records unrelated to that endeavor.

However, it notes that they do, "for the first time bolster the credibility of the ledger. They also put the ledger in a new light, as federal prosecutors in the U.S. have been investigating Manafort's work in Eastern Europe as part of a larger anti-corruption probe."

Over the past months, Manafort has been accused of being involved in a money-laundering scheme, and the payments confirmed by the AP align with some of the specifics of the claimed wrongdoing.

SEE ALSO: Putin: Trust between, US, Russia has 'deteriorated' under President Trump

Manafort has denied the allegations and once told the AP, "any wire transactions received by my company are legitimate payments for political consulting work that was provided. I invoiced my clients and they paid via wire transfer, which I received through a U.S. bank."

Manafort further noted that he accepted money through his, "'clients' preferred financial institutions and instructions."

In the past weeks, amid questions about Manafort's alleged ties to Russia, the White House has asserted that President Trump had no knowledge of dealings between Russia and members of his campaign team.

Furthermore, White House press secretary Sean Spicer downplayed Manafort's involvement with the Trump campaign in a press briefing on March 20, describing him as someone "who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time."

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