Loose lips show collusion

Loose lips show collusion

by digby

Oh my goodness. It appears that lawyers for Paul Manafort, the guy Trump has been so solicitous toward in his public statements,may have mistakenly revealed in a court filing that their client shared campaign materials with the alleged Russian agent Konstantin Kilimnik while he was Trump's campaign manager:

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.

This appears to have been a mistake (but maybe not --- these guys have been desperate to find ways to signal information about the Mueller case to people involved in it so who knows?) And we don't know the details or to what they specifically pertain. Still, it does indicate that there are a lot of facts that we know nothing of in this case and it certainly implies that there is a major conspiracy case surrounding Manafort tied directly to the Trump campaign.

Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman through the most active period of direct interference and timed dirty tricks as Russia was hacking and reaching out to various members of the campaign, trying to set up a quid pro quo on sanctions (and who knows what else?)
Trump can pretend that this doesn't implicate him but even if he was completely unaware of the activity, the mere fact that he hired someone and has defended him blindly during the investigation --- even hinting broadly that he would pardon him, praising him for not being "a rat" --- is proof of his unfitness and abuse of power.

We'll see what happens when this whole case is laid out. We clearly don't know the scope of the investigation yet. It's possible it's a total bust as far as conspiracy goes. But it's looking less likely as time goes on.