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Steve Bannon advised Kushner days before election to avoid Paul Manafort 'like the plague'

Benjamin Goggin
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Associated Press

Breitbart founder and former Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon told Jared Kushner to avoid former campaign head Paul Manafort "like the plague," according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.

In an email to Kushner on November 5, 2016 (three days before the presidential election) Bannon warned the now-senior White House adviser, to stay away from former campaign head Paul Manafort.

"We need to avoid this guy like the plague," said Bannon. "Paul is nice guy [sic] but we can't let word get out he is advising us."

In May 2016, Trump promoted Manafort to lead his campaign. By the end of August, Trump had sidelined him after a series of internal conflicts and bad press concerning Manafort's lobbying connections to Russia and Ukraine. Manafort would eventually be sent to jail in 2019 for tax and bank fraud related to his lobbying.

steve bannon
steve bannon

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In his November 2016 email to Kushner, Bannon singled out Manafort's connections as potentially toxic to the campaign, and to the victory that was being projected for Trump.

"They are going to try to say the Russians worked with wiki leaks [sic] to give this victory to us," Bannon wrote.

Bannon was specifically referring to a memo that Manafort had forwarded to Kushner, which was the object of Kushner's original outreach to Bannon, but he was also prophesizing the narrative that would completely derail Trump's presidency and spurn the Mueller investigation into Russia's influence on the election and the presidency.

The newly released emails were part of a package obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from BuzzFeed over the documents used in the Mueller investigation. On Saturday, the first 500 pages of documents were released.

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