- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — Donald Trump’s campaign chairman said on Wednesday the Republican presidential nominee has no financial relationships with Russian oligarchs and that more attention should be paid to the security issues surrounding Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

“We have no relationship,” Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said on “CBS This Morning.” “This is an absurd attempt by the Clinton campaign to try and get the focus off of what the real issue is.”

Asked to confirm that Mr. Trump has no financial relationships with any Russian oligarchs, Mr. Manafort said: “That’s what he said. That’s what I said. That’s obviously what our position is.”

Mr. Trump tweeted on Tuesday: “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.”

In recent days, Democrats have pointed fingers in the direction of Russia after a cache of internal Democratic National Committee emails released by WikiLeaks showed party staffers musing about undermining Sen. Bernard Sanders’ campaign.

Mr. Manafort also said Mr. Trump’s declining to release his tax returns has to do with an IRS audit and not Russia.

He said the real issue is not the DNC hack, but rather Mrs. Clinton’s own private server at her New York home she used as secretary of state.

“So you can imagine if it was so easy to do the DNC server, what the likelihood is that how many countries have hacked into that server and that one had national security documents in it that are probably floating all over the world now,” Mr. Manafort said.

“That’s the real problem and once again it’s showing that the concern that the Democrats have for national security is all talk and not really any reality,” he said.

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