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Paul Manafort Might Be About To Go Down, Could Take Trump With Him

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Paul Manafort has had a rich and varied career, but the last couple of years have seen him transition quite dramatically from highly valued Republican adviser and campaigner to basically an international agent working on behalf of a malevolent foreign power for material gain in the United States (at the expense of democracy).

Recently, of course, he has found himself on the receiving end of the merciless wrath of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigations into alleged collusion between the 2016 electoral campaign for President Donald Trump (of which Manafort was a significant part) and Russian state actors, as well as subsequent alleged obstruction of justice. It has been going pretty badly for Manafort so far, but this latest development just made it a thousand times worse. The Washington Post reports:

Paul Manafort shared 2016 presidential campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate the FBI has said has ties to Russian intelligence, according to a court filing.

The information is in a filing that appears to inadvertently include details not intended to be made public and indicates a pathway by which the Russians could have had access to Trump campaign data.

The former Trump campaign chairman on Tuesday denied in a filing from his defense team that he broke his plea deal by lying repeatedly to prosecutors working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about that and other issues.

In his rebuttal to the special counsel’s claims of dishonesty, Manafort exposed details of the dispute, much of which centers on his relationship with Kilimnik. The Russian citizen, who began working for Manafort’s consulting firm starting in 2005, has been charged with helping his former boss to obstruct Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference into the 2016 election. He is believed to be in Moscow.

The special counsel alleged Manafort “lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign,” according to the unredacted filing. The source of that data, including whether it came from the Trump campaign, is unclear.

According to the filing, Mueller also accused Manafort of lying about discussing a Ukrainian peace plan with Kilimnik during the 2016 campaign.

“Manafort ‘conceded’ that he discussed or may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Mr. Kilimnik on more than one occasion,” his attorneys quote the special counsel as saying, and “ ‘acknowledged’ that he and Mr. Kilimnik met while they were both in Madrid,” without giving a date.

Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, said the Madrid meeting took place in January or February 2017, after the presidential campaign was completed. He declined to comment on other pieces of the filing.

In their Tuesday court submission, Manafort’s lawyers said his inconsistencies when he spoke to prosecutors were honest mistakes.

“These occurrences happened during a period when Mr. Manafort was managing a U.S. presidential campaign,” they wrote. “Issues and communications related to Ukrainian political events simply were not at the forefront of Mr. Manafort’s mind during the period at issue and it is not surprising at all that Mr. Manafort was unable to recall specific details prior to having his recollection refreshed.”

Kilimnik has told The Washington Post he was in close contact with Manafort through the campaign and met with Manafort in the United States in May and in August 2016. Kilimnik did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment.

Manafort’s lawyers provided no additional details about the “Ukrainian peace plan” in their filing.

This is big. Take me at my word when I say that this will finally spell the end for Paul Manafort. This is the final nail in his (metaphorical) coffin. There is no coming back from something like this. The big question now, then, is: can Mueller manage to use it to finally indict Trump too?


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