So here's what we know about Paul Manafort and his lawyers right now: First, Manafort should immediately fire his legal team because they accidentally (or on purpose maybe at this point, who knows) forgot to make the redactions stick in his latest court filing with the Mueller team, and second, because of those missing redactions, we know get to see that Robert Mueller believes Paul Manafort has been a very, very bad boy.
Paul Manafort shared 2016 presidential campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former employee whom the FBI has said has ties to Russian intelligence, according to a court filing.
The apparently inadvertent revelation 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, and discussed Ukrainian politics with Kilimnik during that time.
“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.”
In his filing, Manafort’s lawyers said any inconsistencies in those interviews were unintentional.
“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,” they wrote.
Mueller also said Manafort lied about contacting Trump administration officials after Trump took office. Manafort had told investigators he had no direct or indirect contact with White House officials since Trump’s inauguration, but Manafort had been in touch with officials as recently as the spring, according to the filing.
Manafort told a colleague in February — four months after he was indicted — that he was in contact with a senior administration official through that time, prosecutors said. And in a text message, he authorized another person to speak with a White House official on May 26, they alleged.
In Tuesday’s filing, Manafort’s attorneys said that person was “asking permission to use Mr. Manafort’s name as an introduction in the event the third-party met the President,” which “does not constitute outreach by Mr. Manafort to the President.”
Sorry Don. Your campaign chairman gave internal campaign data to a foreign power in exchange for help. That's collusion, period. At this point, Marcy Wheeler figures, Manafort is going to keep letting redactions slip until Trump pardons him.
I have no idea whether this non-redaction was a colossal mistake or whether this was a cute way to disclose what evidence Mueller has shared with Manafort (remember: these five lies were not the only ones that Manafort told; just the only ones that Mueller wanted to describe).
But even ignoring the redaction fail, the filing feels very contemptuous, as if they’re still playing for a pardon.
Effectively, they’re admitting their client maybe lied or just conveniently forgot to minimize his ongoing conspiracy with someone even Rick Gates has said has ties to Russian intelligence — the same Russian intelligence agency that hacked Democrats. But they don’t think that’s a big deal. They’re just going to double down on obtaining more information on the evidence Mueller has while they wait for the pardon.
Seems about right.