President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman is registering as a foreign agent, the AP reports. Paul Manafort's spokesperson says he was in talks with the government about registering before the 2016 election and is now "taking appropriate steps" in response to "formal guidance" from the government. The spokesperson says Manafort's lobbying work was not conducted on behalf of the Russian government and began before Manafort started working with the Trump campaign. It's unclear whether Trump was aware that Manafort was in talks with the government about registering before he hired him. Michael Flynn, who was fired as White House national security adviser in February, has also had to register as a foreign agent for lobbying work he did with ties to Turkey.
Meanwhile, a Washington lobbying firm that worked under the direction of two former Trump campaign advisers, including Manafort, has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent. The firm said its work could have benefited the Ukrainian government. The Podesta Group cited details of lobbying it performed from 2012 through 2014 on behalf of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. The firm reported being paid more than $1.2 million for the effort. The disclosure follows reporting by the AP in August that the firm of Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, who served in a senior role in the Trump campaign, had overseen the lobbying effort. The effort sought to promote a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party's interests in Washington.