Mueller believes Manafort fed information to Russian with intel ties

Hugh Fox
January 11, 2019

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". Although the filing does not say whether the polling information was public or what was done with it, it raises the possibility that Russian Federation might have used inside information from the campaign as part of its effort to interfere with the election on US President Donald Trump's behalf. A spokesman for Manafort's defense team declined to comment on the incomplete redactions or on Mueller's allegations, but lawyers later filed a corrected version of the document. He left the campaign in August, days after the New York Times and the Associated Press published reports of his business dealings with Russia-aligned leaders in Ukraine involving millions of dollars of undisclosed cash payments and undisclosed lobbying efforts in the U.S.

What does the filing say?

Emails previously reported by the AP and other news outlets show that in July 2016, Manafort told Kilimnik he was willing to provide "private briefings" about the Trump campaign to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The filing did not indicate whether the polling information involved internal campaign data or when exactly it was provided. They said Manafort was unclear on how the payment was recorded by his accountant. 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 while they were both in Madrid.

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

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What's the background on Manafort?

The lack of public response from the Manafort team leaves the case at a cliffhanger following a series of twists - from Manafort being sent to jail, through his conviction at trial and decisions to flip, cooperate with Mueller, then split with the special counsel's office.

That could be significant, because Manafort is believed to have played a role in changing the Republican platform position on Ukraine during 2016 to a more Moscow-friendly stance.

Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced on February 8 for his Virginia jury convictions for bank and tax fraud.

In the Tuesday filing, Manafort's lawyers said the disagreement can be dealt with through the sentencing process, because prosecutors have said they have no plans to file fresh charges.

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"These circumstances weighed heavily on Mr. Manafort's state of mind and on his memory as he was questioned at length", the lawyers wrote.

What's going to happen next?

At the time Manafort's lawyers said their client never intentionally provided incorrect information to prosecutors, but asked the judge for time to consider whether they wanted to contest Mueller's allegations or proceed to sentencing.

Manafort has been imprisoned since June, when a federal judge said he violated his bail by reaching out to potential witnesses in his case.

In addition to winning the case against Manafort, Mueller and other federal prosecutors have secured guilty pleas for various offenses from Trump's first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, former campaign aide Rick Gates, foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, among others.

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