Possible pay-to-play scheme for Trump ambassador post uncovered

CBSNews

A CBS News investigation has uncovered a possible pay-for-play scheme involving the Republican National Committee and President Trump's nominee for ambassador to the Bahamas. Emails obtained by CBS News show the nominee, San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester, was asked by the RNC to donate half a million dollars as his confirmation in the Senate hung in the balance, chief investigative correspondent Jim Axelrod reports.

When who is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, donated $1 million to Mr. Trump's inauguration.

Robin Bernstein who serves in the Dominican Republic and Lana Marks in South Africa have both been members of Mr. Trump's Mar-a-Lago club where it costs $200,000 to join.

Former Senator Bob Corker, who was the chair of the Senate's foreign relations committee before he retired in January, held up Manchester's nomination.

"We had concerns about judgment, about demeanor, about just the whole reason for taking the job," Corker said.

He found McDaniel's fundraising pitch problematic. "The timing of that request obviously was not appropriate," he said.

Even worse, he said, was Manchester's response. His big mistake was copying staffers of two senators who controlled his nomination, Kentucky's Rand Paul and Idaho's Jim Risch,  alerting them to his willingness to donate more after confirmation.

"I can only tell you that if I received an email like that, there would have been a five-bell alarm that went off," Corker said.

And that's exactly what happened. Risch alerted the White House, which then asked Manchester to withdraw.

The White House did not immediately respond for comment.

Manchester officially pulled out in October, citing personal reasons.

"So how painful was it to have to withdraw?" Axelrod asked.

"Hey, listen — politics is politics," Manchester said.

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