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Paul Manafort’s Severity Of Election Collusion With Russia: It’s Worse Than We Thought

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The ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is both the most terrifying and most encouraging thing happening in American politics right now. The former FBI Director has been commissioned by the Department of Justice (at the time led by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions) to investigate allegations that the Trump 2016 presidential election campaign colluded with Russian state actors in order to steal the election result and then attempted to commit obstruction of justice afterwards in an effort to conceal their misdeeds. It is encouraging that it is happening because it means that someone is finally doing what they can to stand up to the Trumpian Republican right wing political establishment in this country but it is also terrifying that this is needed in the first place. Earlier this month, the President of the United States refused to deny that he is a secret agent working for Russia, which is totally insane.

One of the key figures in all of this is Paul Manafort. Manafort was a campaign chief for Trump back in 2016, and has long been a key aide and senior adviser to him. He was a vital part of his team. However, a whole host of recent revelations of put him in a bunch of trouble. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has brought multiple criminal indictments against him and he faces jail time for what he has done. Mueller has also been dropping some pretty massive hints that the long wait for the conclusion of this investigation is very nearly over, suggesting that his ultimate target – the White House – might soon be front and center of the subpoenas and indictments.

Another massive hint to that effect just emerged, and it is truly awful news for Paul Manafort. Leaked court filings appear to show that Manafort shared private presidential campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik – a person the FBI believes has strong connections to the Russian state – and subsequently did everything possible to hide the fact that he did that. If this does turn out to get proved true, it will almost certainly mark the end for Paul Manafort, since it is pretty solid proof that there was direct backhand collusion going on during the campaign between the Russian state and the Trump team. What’s more, if Manafort does end up going down for this, President Trump will of course have to defend himself against similar allegations. If his campaign manager was going this stuff, the chances that he knew nothing about it are pretty tiny. From the Washington Post:

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.

If you’ve been looking for the smoking gun, the reason to believe that Trump and Russia were connected in any way, this could be it. This could be everything we’ve been waiting for.


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