What Did Paul Manafort Lie To Robert Mueller About? Exactly What You Thought.
Well, well, well. Ever since Joe Biden became President of these American United States, we've been learning a whole lot about what happened during the election. No, not the one Donald Trump and his leaking minions are going to deny the results of until they die of natural human causes. The one that installed Trump in the office in the first place. The one that it's getting harder and harder to deny was probably literally actually stolen.
We are of course talking about Paul Manafort, Trump's 2016 campaign crime manager.
When President Biden's Treasury Department announced new Russian sanctions last month, it went the furthest we have seen so far in explaining exactly what Manafort was doing with that Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik in 2016. Kilimnik, who is currently Most Wanted by the FBI, was one of Manafort's main squeeze business partners, and the Treasury Department said in April unequivocally that "Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy." We already knew where Kilimnik got that data — it was from Manafort! It was internal Trump campaign Rust Belt polling and modeling data!
And where did Trump "win" that election by a handful of votes, even though Trump's final tally in the 2016 popular vote was "fuck you"? Yes, that would be the unlikeliest inside straight ever, in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
But back in the days of the Mueller Report, we didn't have information about exactly what Kilimnik was doing with the info Manafort was giving him. It always seemed pretty obvious Kilimnik was giving it to the Russian government in some way or another, but "seemed pretty obvious" did not rise to the level of proving the conspiracy. Hell, it wasn't until the then-GOP-led Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) issued its final Russia report in the summer of 2020 that anybody was willing to say outright that Kilimnik was a Russian spy. SSCI did that.
Well, there have been some very important UNREDACTIONS this week about Manafort's lies that blew up his plea deal with the Justice Department, and surprise, they confirm just about everything that seemed pretty obvious at the time but nobody could say for sure out loud. What did he lie about? Oh, just all the Kilimnik shit. And some other shit.
it's a lot of documents, and you can hop in here and splash around if you'd like.
We'll let Adam Klasfeld at Law & Crime do some summarizing, because he's smart, and Jesus, there is a lot of news today:
Both the Mueller report and the bipartisan Senate committee found that Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates "periodically" gave Kilimnik the Trump campaign's internal polling data, even though Gates told the special prosecutor that he suspected that Kilimnik was a Russian "spy." [...]
Weissmann [said] Manafort falsely claimed he did not tell Gates to share the polling data with Kilimnik, but emails and testimony showed that Manafort personally authorized that.
He lied about what he was telling Rick Gates to give to the Russian spy!
And remember the "peace plan" for Ukraine? Remember how we learned that any time you talked about "peace plan" you were talking about "sanctions" and a back door for letting Russia get away with stealing Ukraine without consequences? That's the other thing Manafort lied to the investigators about just repeatedly:
According to the Mueller report, Kilimnik had been pursuing a Ukrainian so-called "peace plan" at least four times before and after the 2016 presidential election, and Manafort misled prosecutors about these plans.
"Over the course of several interviews, Manafort lied about the fact and frequency of his discussions with Kilimnik about a Ukraine peace plan," Mueller's deputy Andrew Weissmann wrote in December 2018, in a sentence whose conclusion remains redacted.
"The plan involved the creation of an autonomous eastern Ukraine," the memo states, an outcome that Mueller eventually revealed to be "a 'backdoor' way for Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine."
Manafort had acted like he just talked to Kilimnik once about it and they never spoke of it again. "Manafort said he told Kilimnik the idea was crazy and the discussion ended," the documents say. But in fact, they talked about it a lot.
Funny how those are the two things Manafort just lied and lied and lied about. One might think that was the thing Russia wanted in return for however its intelligence services were using the polling data being supplied by Manafort through Kilimnik. Yes, one might think.
Maybe that's why Andrew Weissmann in early 2019 told Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who just unsealed these documents, that these issues went "very much to the heart of what the Special Counsel's office [was] investigating." Also remember that the main reason Robert Mueller couldn't prove conspiracy was because all these assholes constantly deleted their communications and also lied to him.
One more biggie:
According to the unsealed memo, Manafort claimed after signing his plea agreement that he had "no direct or indirect communication with anyone" in the Trump administration—"on any subject matter."
"The evidence demonstrates that Manafort lied about his contacts," the memo stated. "The evidence demonstrates that Manafort had contacts with Administration officials."
Well that is just a lot of lies. He lied to investigators about passing secret notes, in effect, to the Kremlin. He lied about discussions about creating "peace" in Ukraine, by handing it to Russia. And he lied about whether he was still cahoots-ing with the Trump administration after he agreed to cooperate with the investigation.
As we said, none of this is unexpected. But it sure is interesting how all the pieces of what we've been talking about for years are just falling into place now that we have a real president.
NO COLLUSION, though.
Here's Adam Schiff talking to Lawrence O'Donnell about these unredacted documents last night:
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