By now, you have heard that –due to an error in a redaction in a filing in Robert Mueller’s investigation — Paul Manafort did in fact met with a Russian-linked operative named Konstantin Kilimnik during the the 2016 campaign. During the meeting, according to Mueller’s office, Manafort discussed policies related to the Russia-Ukraine relationship and shared polling data about the 2016 campaign with Kilimnik.
THAT IS MASSIVE. Why? Because President Donald Trump has constantly stated that any and all charges against him occurred well before he entered Trump’s campaign. Up until now, that was largely true, but not anymore
“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign,” tweeted Trump in October 2017. “But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus????”
Due to the release of the accidentally unredacted filing on Tuesday, all we had was speculation that Manafort was working with a foreign government during the 2016 presidential campaign, but no real proof.
Before Trump hired him to run his campaign in the spring of 2016, it was difficult to deny Trump’s stance that any and all wrongdoing by Paul Manafort occurred prior to joining Trump. That all just changed.
According to the filings, Manafort had conversations with Kilimnik while running Trump’s campaign. Kilimnik is suspected to be a member of the Russian intelligence organization. The conversations occurred as Russian officials were hacking into the email servers at the Democratic National Committee, which leaked via the website WikiLeaks later in 2016.
What’s more, Manafort’s legal team also says that he shared polling information with Kilimnik during those conversations, which shows a Trump campaign official wasn’t just calling up an old friend to shoot the breeze.
Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN the revelation raises “profound questions about why all the secrecy, why all the lies. And most seriously, why is a campaign manager of a US presidential candidate providing campaign polling data to someone linked to a foreign adversary’s intelligence agency?”
Of course, this is not in indication of guilt on Donald Trump and doesn’t prove he directed Manafort in anyway to carry out these action with the Russian operative. However, the filings matter in a major way, because they debunk Trump’s false claims about Manafort.
1) Proven False: Trump says all of Manafort’s criminal activity and wrongdoing came many years before he worked for the Trump campaign.
2) Proven False: Trump says there wasn’t even the slightest reason to believe of collusion occurred between anyone in his campaign and the Russians.
Both of these major claims by Donald Trump just went up in flames.