There’s something obvious about the Ukraine scandal threatening to bring down Donald Trump.

The people around him — his top lieutenants, former campaign manager Paul Manafort and attorney Rudy Giuliani — have been deeply involved with questionable political and business leaders in Ukraine for years. I would know, as I’ve been following economic affairs in the country for decades.

Manafort became top political adviser to Ukraine’s then President Viktor Yanukovych in the summer of 2005. He was tremendously skillful as a political operative — intelligent, courteous, unassuming. He focused on winning elections for his client and making as much money as possible. Without Manafort, it’s fair to say Yanukovych would have lost the tight 2010 presidential race to pro-Western Yulia Tymoshenko.

Related Experts: Anders Åslund