Roger Stone Convinced Trump to Hire Paul Manafort, Former Officials Say

The former Trump adviser, who disliked first campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, helped seal the deal to get Paul Manafort on board in 2016, according to former Trump officials.

Roger Stone, a former adviser and longtime friend of President Donald Trump, played a pivotal role in getting former campaign chairman Paul Manafort a job, three former Trump campaign officials told The Daily Beast.

Manafort, now the subject of a FBI investigation pertaining to alleged connections between Russian officials and Trump’s campaign, initially joined the campaign in April 2016. His role began with delegate operations, ensuring that the Republican National Convention went off without a hitch and ended in Trump securing the nomination. By May, Manafort was named the campaign chairman and by June, Trump’s first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was out.

According to the officials familiar with the deliberations, at the outset of Stone’s time with the campaign, he made a strong case to Trump to bring in Manafort. Manafort himself backs that version of events up in an interview for the upcoming Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone, which premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23.

“It was all Stone. Every bit of it was Stone. Right down to suggesting that he go salary-free,” one source familiar with the process told The Daily Beast.

As detailed in a recent New York Times article, Manafort reached out to Trump with memos in February 2016, pitching himself as a professional who could help Trump’s operation. According to the Times report, Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a friend of Trump’s who went on to become the chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, provided Trump with the Manafort memos. Trump subsequently requested a meeting with Manafort, according to the paper.

That’s where Stone came in.

“After Barrack brought Paul to the president, Trump called Stone for a recommendation and they had a long conversation,” one former Trump campaign official told The Daily Beast. “Paul’s offer came soon after.”

Neither Barrack nor Manafort responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

“Roger’s relationship with Trump has been so interconnected that it’s hard to define what’s Roger and what’s Donald,” Manafort says in the documentary. “While it will be clearly a Trump presidency, I think it’s influenced by a Stone philosophy.”

Stone and Manafort worked together in the 1980s for the lobbying firm Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, whose group of clients was referred to as the “torturers’ lobby.” And Stone was further compelled to get his old friend involved in the presidential campaign by his dislike of Lewandowski, later saying after the campaign manager was let go that he was “wisely fired.”

“You know Stone has a hard-on like a dog with a bone,” a person familiar with the deliberations told The Daily Beast. “He just won’t stop doing something. He hates Corey Lewandowski. He was looking for a…

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