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Paul Manafort quits post as Trump campaign chair

Paul Manafort, seen here at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 17. | AP

WASHINGTON — After a campaign shakeup, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced Friday the resignation of his campaign chair, Paul Manafort.

Trump said in a statement, “This morning, Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign. I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”

Manafort departs the Trump operation following the Wednesday appointment by Trump of a new CEO and manager, a bid to steady his faltering campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Also not helping: Manafort’s Ukraine business ties with pro-Russian factions also have surfaced as an issue, with recent disclosures of his dealings detailed in New York Times, Associated Press and Washington Post reports.

Manafort’s ethics are being examined just as the Trump campaign wants to throw a spotlight on Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative funding.

The new campaign manager is Kellyanne Conway, a pollster and veteran GOP presidential campaign strategist who joined the Trump operation as a senior advisor on July 1.

The more controversial Trump appointment was that of Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon who will be CEO. Bannon is not quitting the conservative outlet.

Conway and Bannon are Trump’s third leadership team since he launched his presidential bid.

Trump, in his first speech following the shakeup said Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina that he regrets causing “personal pain” because of things he has said “in the heat of debate” during the campaign, a rare admission of remorse.

Manafort’s departure comes on the same day that Trump’s campaign launched the first television ad of the general election campaign – Clinton has long been running spots with a $4.8 million buy for ads to run in the swing battleground states of Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio.