Mueller Suspects Manafort Gave 2016 Polling Data to Russian




 

(Bloomberg) -- Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team suspects that Paul Manafort, the onetime Trump campaign chairman, shared polling data on the 2016 election with an associate tied to Russian intelligence and lied about it, according to a court filing by Manafort's lawyers.

The filing was badly redacted, allowing an unintended glimpse at previously undisclosed areas of Mueller's investigation into whether Donald Trump's presidential campaign worked with Russia to influence the election. Those areas included the polling data as well as a meeting in Madrid and discussions of a Ukrainian peace plan.

Mueller has claimed that Manafort, a political consultant, lied about his communications with Konstantin Kilimnik, who served as a translator and fixer on campaigns in Ukraine for a decade. Kilimnik has denied any ties to Russian intelligence.

Manafort's lawyers wrote in an improperly redacted portion of the brief that prosecutors said he lied about "sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign."

The disclosure suggests that one part of Mueller's probe is focusing on whether Kilimnik may have served as a back channel through Manafort to Russia during the election. Manafort and President Donald Trump have long denied any collusion with Russians.

Manafort's lawyers said their client didn't intentionally mislead investigators during a dozen debriefings after pleading guilty and agreeing to cooperate.

Mueller claimed on Nov. 26 that Manafort breached that September plea deal and committed crimes by lying to the FBI and the special counsel's office on "a variety of subject matters." Manafort's lawyers said that during his debriefings and two grand jury appearances, he "provided complete and truthful information to the best of his ability."

In the public portion of the 10-page document, filed in Washington federal court, Manafort's lawyers wrote that their client couldn't remember or incorrectly recalled specific events from his past dealings with Kilimnik.

Four redacted portions of the filing, including two dealing with Kilimnik, are visible when pasted into a Microsoft Word document.

"It is not surprising at all that Mr. Manafort was unable to recall specific details prior to having his recollection refreshed," according to one portion of the filing that was blacked out.

Another segment that was supposed to be redacted said prosecutors asserted that Manafort "conceded" he may have discussed a Ukrainian peace plan with Kilimnik on more than one occasion. During a proffer meeting with prosecutors on Sept. 11, Manafort told investigators "he would have given the Ukrainian peace plan more thought" had he not been working on Trump's campaign at the time.

Madrid Trip

Prosecutors said that "after being told that Mr. Kilimnik had traveled to Madrid on the same day that Mr. Manafort was in Madrid, Mr. Manafort 'acknowledged' that he and Mr. Kilimnik met" there, according to the filing.

"The simple fact that Mr. Manafort could not recall, or incorrectly recalled, specific events from his past dealings with Mr. Kilimnik -- but often (after being shown or told about relevant documents or other evidence) corrected himself or clarified his responses - does not support a determination that he intentionally lied," according to Manafort's lawyers.

Manafort met Kiliminik in Madrid in January or February 2017, according to Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni. He declined further comment on the filing.

The lawyers said that Manafort "provided complete and truthful information to the best of his ability," and that he "attempted to live up to the requirements of his cooperation agreement and provided meaningful cooperation relating to several key areas under current government investigation."

The lawyers disputed any improper outreach to the Trump administration. The lawyers denied Mueller's claim that Manafort lied about a text exchange on May 26, 2018. In one portion that was redacted, they said the text related to a "message from a third-party asking permission to use Mr. Manafort's name as an introduction in the event the third-party met the president."

That text "does not constitute outreach by Mr. Manafort to the president," according to the filing.

Manafort, 69, has been in jail since June 15, when U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered him locked up after Mueller accused him and Kilimnik of witness tampering. Manafort, who has been in solitary confinement, has suffered for several months from severe gout, according to the filing. He's also suffering from depression and anxiety, it said.

Manafort agreed to cooperate with Mueller when he admitted to two conspiracy counts in Washington on Sept. 14, a month after jurors convicted him in Virginia of tax and bank fraud. By pleading guilty, Manafort avoided a second trial on charges that he failed to disclose lobbying on behalf of the Ukrainian government, and that he laundered money.

Jackson has scheduled Manafort's sentencing for March 5, but the judge said she first wanted to determine whether he did breach the plea agreement. She may hold a hearing on Jan. 25 to determine whether Manafort breached his plea agreement by lying.

The case is U.S. v. Manafort, 17-cr-201, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

(Updates with timing of Madrid trip in 14th paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: David Voreacos in New York at dvoreacos@bloomberg.net;Andrew Harris in Washington at aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net, ;Jeffrey D Grocott at jgrocott2@bloomberg.net, Joe Schneider, Heather Smith

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Florida man pleads guilty to mailing bombs to Trump foes
Florida man pleads guilty to mailing bombs to Trump foes

NEW YORK (AP) - A Florida man pleaded guilty Thursday to sending pipe bombs to CNN and prominent critics of President Donald Trump in a wave of attacks that harmed no one but spread fear of political violence across the U.S. for days leading up to last fall's midterm elections.

Trump to order colleges to back free speech or lose funding
Trump to order colleges to back free speech or lose funding

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Thursday requiring U.S. colleges to certify that they protect free speech on their campuses or risk losing federal research funding, White House officials said.

Trump
Trump's invective at John McCain dismays some Republicans

Casting aside rare censure from Republican lawmakers, President Donald Trump aimed new blasts of invective at the late John McCain , even claiming credit for the senator's moving Washington funeral and complaining he was never properly thanked. Trump then launched a lengthy rant in which he claimed

Trump
Trump's border wall money may come at expense of schools for military kids
  • US
  • 2019-03-20 20:01:47Z

The U.S. Department of Defense is proposing to pay for President Donald Trump's much-debated border wall by shifting funds away from projects that include $1.2 billion for schools, childcare centers and other facilities for military children, according to a list it has provided to lawmakers. The Pentagon gave Congress a list on Monday that included $12.8 billion of construction projects for which it said funds could be redirected. The move comes as a surprise given the Trump administration's oft-touted support for the sacrifices made by military families and suggests the White House's desire to build a wall on the border with Mexico outstrips nearly all other issues.

Trump: Mueller report
Trump: Mueller report 'ridiculous' but should be released

"Let it come out, let people see it," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Wednesday for a trip to Ohio. Mueller is expected to present a report to the Justice Department any day now outlining the findings of his nearly two-year investigation into Russian election meddling, possible

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.