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Ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort barred from Dubai flight because of invalid passport

President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort departs U.S. District Court after a motions hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, May 4, 2018.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Federal authorities blocked former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort from boarding a flight to Dubai from Miami over the weekend because he was trying to travel on a passport that was revoked after his 2017 arrest, NBC News reported Wednesday.

Manafort was pardoned by then-President Donald Trump in late 2020 for criminal convictions related to the Republican operative’s consulting work in Ukraine for a pro-Russia political party.

He was due to depart on an Emirates flight at 9:10 p.m. Sunday bound for Dubai when Customs and Border Patrol officials barred him from boarding the plane, NBC News reported, citing a Miami-Dade Police spokesperson.

Manafort is not legally prevented from leaving the country or from applying for a new passport to replace his old one. It was not clear why he had tried to travel on an invalid passport.

Dubai’s airport offers connections to multiple airports in Russia.

Manafort managed Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign for several months that year.

He was present at a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kuusher and a Russian lawyer who had suggested she had damaging information about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee that year.

Manafort later became one of the highest-profile defendants in criminal cases filed by then-special counsel Robert Mueller, as part of that prosecutor’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign with that meddling.

He eventually was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison in 2019 after being convicted of financial crimes related to his work in Ukraine, which was not connected to Russian interference in the U.S. election.

But Manafort was released in May 2020 from a prison in Pennsylvania because of fears he was at heightened risk from the Covid-19 virus. Trump pardoned him months later, after losing in November’s election to President Joe Biden.

Manafort’s passport was revoked in October 2017 after his arrest. But it was physically returned to him by the FBI after Trump pardoned him.

A lawyer for Manafort did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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