Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chair with close financial ties to Russia, is now advising a Chinese billionaire on how to win contracts with the Trump regime.
The Financial Times reports that Manafort was in Shanghai last week, where he met with Yan Jiehe, founder of Pacific Construction Group, China’s largest privately owned conglomerate, to advise the billionaire on how to secure contracts in in Trump’s promised trillion dollar infrastructure bill.
After initially denying the meeting had taken place, Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni called the session “an impromptu meeting added to Mr Manafort’s schedule at their request because the Chinese are interested in US infrastructure,” and insisted that “his work does not involve any current or future infrastructure projects or contracts in the United States.”
However, an individual familiar with the meeting told the Financial Times that Manafort “came seeking co-operation for concrete projects” and that the discussions “went smoothly.” The source said this was only the first consultation with Yan, and Manafort would be returning to China in the coming weeks for more discussions.
Democrats have long called for infrastructure investments to rebuild our country’s crumbling infrastructure and as a proven mechanism to stimulate the domestic economy. As such, many on both sides of the aisle puzzled over an infrastructure proposal coming from Trump’s far right regime — especially if it were to coincide with massive tax giveaways for billionaires as Republicans have promised.
Here, we are seeing an ulterior motive that seems to make sense of the inconsistencies. A trillion dollar infrastructure bill could be a highly effective way for Trump’s minions to pad the pockets of their allies. If Manafort has his way, it looks like it will be foreign billionaires reaping the benefits. Don’t be surprised, however, to find the Trump Organization and Kushner Companies making some promising, if excessively expensive, bids of their own.
Sheila Norton is a writer with ten years of Capitol Hill experience. Subscribe to the OD Action email to get all the hottest news delivered right to your inbox every day at www.odaction.com