Mr. Manafort first made his name in politics as a swashbuckling young
Republican operative on the presidential campaigns of Gerald R. Ford
and Ronald Reagan. But his work outside of electoral politics is where
he really made his mark — and his fortune.
He and two young colleagues from Mr. Reagan’s campaigns — Charles R.
Black Jr. and Roger J. Stone Jr. — formed the core of a new breed of
consulting and lobbying outfit that parlayed campaign-forged
connections into big contracts from American businesses and foreign
interests seeking to curry favor with the Reagan administration.
In this shadowy world of international political consulting, Mr.
Manafort, Mr. Gates and other Americans have earned vast sums working
for clients tainted by corruption or authoritarianism or whose
interests sometimes do not align with those of the United States,
including Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and Mobutu Sese Seko of
the Democratic Republic of Congo.
For much of the last decade, Mr. Manafort’s work focused on Ukraine. He
is credited with resurrecting the career of Mr. Yanukovych, and selling
him to the West as a pragmatic leader who could bring the country into
the European Union. But Mr. Yanukovych’s government crumbled in 2014
when he fled to Russia after his security forces clamped down violently
on street protests over his government’s corruption and pivot toward