Mueller believes Manafort fed information to Russian with intel ties

Special counsel Robert Mueller believes that Paul Manafort was sharing polling data and discussing Russian-U...

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 9:14 AM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 9:14 AM

Special counsel Robert Mueller believes that Paul Manafort was sharing polling data and discussing Russian-Ukrainian policy with his close Russian-intelligence-linked associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, while he led the Trump presidential campaign, according to parts of a court filing that were meant to be redacted by Manafort's legal team Tuesday but were released publicly.

Manafort discussed a Ukrainian peace plan with Kilimnik, his lawyers acknowledged. He also shared polling data related to the 2016 presidential campaign with Kilimnik, Manafort's legal team acknowledges in their court filing.

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Russia meddling investigation

The details accidentally released Tuesday are the closest public assertion yet in the Mueller cases of coordination between a Trump campaign official and the Russian government, as Kilimnik is believed to be linked to Russian military intelligence. It's a major acknowledgment from the Mueller team that their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is finding potential contact between at least one Trump campaign official and the Kremlin.

The Ukraine peace plan that they discussed likely would have dealt with Russian intervention in the region. At around the same time, Russian government operatives were allegedly hacking Democratic computers to help Trump and orchestrating a social media propaganda scheme to sway voters against Trump's electoral opponents.

Kilimnik has long been suspected to be central to Mueller's investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. The revelations in the court filing Tuesday seem to confirm that.

Manafort's filing also acknowledges he met with Kilimnik in Madrid. Later Tuesday, Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said that meeting was in January or February 2017, after Trump was elected. There are two known meetings during the campaign between Manafort and Kilimnik.

The sentences revealed in the filing certify for the first time Mueller's interest in Kilimnik's political actions during the campaign. Manafort has not been charged with crimes related to his work for Trump. Kilimnik only faces a charge from Mueller related to allegedly helping Manafort tamper with witnesses following his arrest.

Kilimnik has not entered a plea in US courts, and Manafort has pleaded guilty to the witness tampering allegation and has been convicted on several lobbying-related financial crimes.

Prosecutors have previously said they believe Kilimnik has ties to the military intelligence unit the GRU, which allegedly hacked the Democratic Party and leaked damaging emails while Manafort ran Trump's campaign operation. Manafort and Kilimnik have been close colleagues for years.

The errant admissions in Manafort's court filing also acknowledge that a person wanted to use his name when meeting President Donald Trump.

Errant redactions

The revelations come in Manafort's written response to accusations that Manafort lied to Mueller's team during cooperation interviews. Those portions had been redacted given Mueller's sensitivities toward ongoing investigations, Manafort's lawyers said, but the redactions were able to be read in the document filed with the federal court online.

Manafort says he did not intentionally mislead Mueller. His legal team offered explanations of human nature as the reasons for his misstatements. He also tried to help the investigation in several ways, such as by handing over his computers, email accounts and passwords to Mueller, he says in a new filing.

Previously, the special counsel's office outlined five areas in which they believe Manafort lied, including about his contact with Kilimnik, who is of interest to the Mueller investigation, and about his communication with White House officials as recently as last year, but redacted some details of what they know and how they know it.

Mueller's accusation that Manafort lied already pulled into question the former campaign chairman's possibility for leniency in the justice system and his usefulness to federal authorities -- though it raised the possibility President Donald Trump could see Manafort as an ally and offer him a pardon.

The special counsel's office declined to comment Tuesday.

Manafort's attorneys did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday about the filing error, though they corrected it in the court's official record.

Manafort's situation

Manafort has been in jail since June, after prosecutors accused him of attempting to sway witness' testimony against him while he was under house arrest. Manafort was convicted by a jury in a Virginia federal court for eight tax and bank fraud charges. He will be sentenced for those crimes in early February.

Days before his second trial in a DC federal court was set to begin, Manafort flipped — admitting he masterminded an illegal scheme to lobby for Ukrainians and launder the revenue. In return, prosecutors said they would consider asking the judge for leniency at his eventual sentencing.

The plea deal instantly turned him into the person whom many believed would be the Mueller investigation's star cooperator.

As part of his guilty plea, Manafort agreed to sit for interviews with investigators. It was during some of these nine sessions, in September and October, that prosecutors believe he lied to them.

Manafort initially indicated that he would push back on the investigators' lying accusation, because he believed he had given them truthful information during cooperation.

The judge in DC federal court who has overseen his case, Amy Berman Jackson, gave him the opportunity to respond before she would hold a hearing about the facts of the situation.

That hearing is currently scheduled for later this month. Jackson is set to sentence Manafort for conspiracy and witness tampering charges in March.

For the two charges he currently faces in DC federal court, Manafort could receive 17 to 22 years in prison, his plea agreement says.

He has been wheelchair bound for months, his lawyers say, because of gout, and has been kept essentially in solitary confinement for his own safety.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
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Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
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Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
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Union633897
Pike5924156
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Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
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Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845108

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161242006
Mobile741961379
Madison53291732
Shelby38328368
Baldwin38074589
Tuscaloosa36017641
Montgomery34483781
Lee25557263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22454406
Etowah20016517
Marshall18781316
Houston17729425
St. Clair16880358
Limestone16138218
Cullman16050303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14984306
Talladega14191299
DeKalb12971269
Walker12029380
Blount10715192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10161194
Coffee9415192
Colbert9341208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7255201
Russell707865
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5403130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317763
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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