Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Manafort suspected of sharing polling data with associate linked to Russian intelligence

Paul Manafort’s botched court filing shows he colluded with an alleged Russian intelligence asset Manafort case goes silent on night when major filing due
Leonard Rios | 11 January, 2019, 11:12

Defense attorneys for onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort inadvertently revealed Tuesday that their client stands accused of sharing polling data with a suspected former Russian intelligence officer, according to court documents filed publicly in Washington D.C.

Mueller claimed in a November 26 filing that Manafort breached his plea deal and "committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the special counsel's office on a variety of subject matters". While details are scarce, this certainly raises the question of whether the Trump campaign as such was covertly discussing policy and providing campaign analysis to the Russians at precisely the time the Russians were intervening in the election on behalf of Trump.

A spokeswoman for Deripaska has said he was never offered or received briefings about the Trump campaign.

The information was accidentally revealed in a defense filing Tuesday and was meant to be redacted. The U.S. claims Kilimnik is linked to Russian intelligence, which is accused of leading the election interference effort in 2016, but he denies those ties.

Manafort agreed to cooperate with Mueller when he admitted to two conspiracy counts in Washington on September 14, a month after jurors convicted him in Virginia of tax and bank fraud.

Moments ago, a court filing was unsealed in the case alleging that Paul Manafort had violated his plea agreement by lying to federal agents.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson gave Manafort's lawyers until Monday to respond to the allegation in writing and said prosecutors must provide their underlying evidence by January 14.

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"Mr. Manafort provided complete and truthful information to the best of his ability", Manafort's lawyers wrote.

The brief discloses, in passages inexpertly redacted and thus available to the public, that Manafort provided to Konstantin Kilimnik, a business partner in Ukraine with a history with Russian intelligence, poll data from the Trump campaign.

Mueller had previously accused Manafort of lying about his interactions with Kilimnik, a Russian national who used to run the offshoot of Manafort's consulting business in Ukraine. Manafort and President Donald Trump have long denied any collusion with Russians. Manafort dangled the briefings as he was mired in a dispute with Deripaska over a multimillion-dollar deal involving a Ukrainian cable company. They said Manafort was unclear on how the payment was recorded by his accountant.

Kilimnik has told The Washington Post he was in close contact with Manafort through the campaign and met with Manafort in the United States in May and in August 2016.

But according to The Hill, court watchers were able to see the whole filing by copying and pasting the redacted sections.

The court filing does not reveal when that meeting took place, but an unredacted section that follows highlights that it is "not uncommon, however, for a witnesses to have only a vague recollection about events that occured years prior" and that "these occurrences happened during a period when Mr. Manafort was managing a USA presidential campaign and had countless meetings, email communications, and other interactions with many different individuals, and traveled frequently". The US and European Union have imposed sanctions on Russian Federation over that move as well as the country's support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

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