Donald Trump and the company he keeps

It’s complicated. But you don’t need a chart and list of characters to understand that Trump opened the door to people who didn’t belong in the room.

Start with his 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort. After a trial that laid out how Manafort hid income to avoid paying taxes and faked income to qualify for loans, a jury found him guilty of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to disclose foreign bank accounts.

At the time Trump promoted Manafort, two warning bells were ringing loudly. The first was Manafort’s history of making money by representing, as the Guardian reported in 2016, a “who’s who of authoritarian leaders and scandal-plagued businessmen in Ukraine, Russia, the Philippines and more.”

The other was Manafort’s willingness to work for free — which signaled his plan to cash in on Trump in the future.