When Paul Manafort’s legal team filed their response to protest the prosecution withdrawing from a plea agreement, they provided a window into some of the issues that Mueller’s team profess to be upset about. Ordinarily, most of any such filing would be redacted. When Manafort’s team attempted to redact theirs, they failed.
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) January 8, 2019
This, by the way, is a not-unusual mistake made by people who don’t deal with redacting documents. So it might be accidental.
The big foul, it seems, revolved around Manafort failing to remember one particular incident.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort passed internal Trump campaign polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, a former business associate of his who has ties to Russian intelligence, prosecutors alleged in a court filing unsealed on Tuesday.
In a previous court filing released in April, special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing whether anyone in the Trump campaign aided the Kremlin’s attempts to interfere in the election, wrote that Kilimnik “has ties to a Russian intelligence service” and maintained those ties during 2016. Kilimnik, a 47-year-old former Russian military interpreter, ran the Ukrainian arm of Manafort’s lobbying operation from an office in Kiev for almost ten years.
If Manafort lied under a prosecution agreement, then he sort of deserves to find out that stupidity can be painful. But this whole thing strikes me as a bit chickensh**. Mueller claiming that this Kilimnik character has ties to Russian intelligence is pretty weak sauce. Basically any Russian allowed to enter into a business partnership with a Westerner is going to have ties to Russian intelligence. And he gave him internal polling data? Seriously? The guy was his business partner.
These failed redactions show Manafort had a meeting with Kilimnik in Madrid, gave him campaign polling data, and discussed a Ukrainian peace plan with him – then lied about all of it. Very normal contacts between a US presidential campaign manager & a Russian intelligence asset. https://t.co/9tt5sjdVVb
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) January 8, 2019
If Manafort was a typical campaign manager this clown would have a point. But, as has been amply demonstrated, Manafort never dropped his daily business dealings to devote himself fully to the campaign. In fact, I suspect that Manafort was as shocked as Trump was to win and and had been using his campaign involvement as a marketing gimmick.
Manafort’s people claim that he simply forgot about the meeting in Madrid. Again, this may or may not be true. What makes me sort of believe Manafort here and think that Mueller is acting in bad faith or our of spite because Manafort can’t link Trump to Russia is that Manafort has zero to gain by lying to Mueller and Mueller has a lot to gain by revoking his agreement with Manafort. But this is Manafort so I would not be shocked if he simply thought he was too smart to get caught.