May 26, 2022

Manafort’s lawyers just accidentally leaked the smoking gun tying Trump campaign to Putin

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Lawyers for President Trump’s convicted former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, just accidentally revealed the details of his collaboration with an alleged Russian spy during the 2016 election in a new court filing which they forgot to properly redact.


The veteran political consultant pled guilty and signed a cooperation agreement last September, leading to two trips to Mueller’s grand jury and a dozen proffer sessions to give information to multiple prosecutors.

But Mueller’s team canceled his plea deal last month, accusing him of “crimes and lies” because he wasn’t forthcoming about his relationship with alleged Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik.

Today, Manafort’s lawyers mistakenly revealed their client’s lies to prosecutors — in a document that was supposed to be filed with the court under seal that they improperly redacted (embedded below) — that he told to Mueller’s team when questioned about Kilimnik.

Crucially, attorneys for Manafort did not dispute Special Counsel Mueller’s finding that their client breached his plea deal.

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It turns out that Manafort secretly fed Trump campaign polling data to Kilimnik and discussed a back-channel Ukrainian peace deal in a Madrid meeting with him. 

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If Trump’s campaign chair was passing polling data to Kilimnik, who in turn was passing that data  to the Kremlin to help coordinate their cyberwarfare campaign on behalf of Donald Trump, then that is the evidence of conspiracy we’ve been looking for this entire time.

In February 2017, the New York Times uncovered evidence that the Trump team had received a “peace” proposal delivered by convicted former Trump attorney Michael Cohen that had been drafted by Ukrainian-born American billionaire Alexander Rovt and former Republican Congressman Curt Weldon.

Many believed that the plan was a political fig leaf for Trump to drop President Obama’s sanctions against Russian oligarchs over Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of Eastern Ukraine, which Yahoo! News reports that the administration did indeed quietly try to do anyway before admitting defeat.

If the all the allegations turn out to be true, the “quid” was Russia’s assistance in tilting the 2016 election and the “quo” would be the deployment of a Ukrainian “peace plan” as an excuse to lift the sanctions on Russia. 

Here are the poorly redacted passages:

Unredacted information about Paul Manafort's alleged "crimes and lies" to Special Counsel Mueller's office.
Unredacted information about Paul Manafort’s alleged “crimes and lies” to Special Counsel Mueller’s office.

Kilimnik has been under scrutiny by the Special Counsel for some time now. Right before Manafort pled guilty, his other former US business partner Sam Patten also took a cooperation deal and pled guilty to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act for involving himself in many of the same activities as Manafort and working with the Trump campaign’s data vendor Cambridge Analytica.

Manafort was convicted of eight financial crimes by the Special Counsel’s team in a Northern Virginia district court and faced an additional D.C. district court trial in September for the lengthy indictment against him for criminal lobbying violations.

He would eventually plead guilty to conspiracy and witness tampering charges and agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Mueller’s office.

The public still doesn’t know if Paul Manafort told Mueller’s grand jury anything crucial about Donald Trump’s awareness of his top campaign official’s frequent communications with Kremlin-linked Russians, but we know that his son-in-law worked hard to set up an immediate communications back channel during the presidential transition with former Russian Ambassador Kislyak.

Kushner had no good explanation to Congress for his meeting with Kisylak or the need for a communications back channel to evade the US State Department’s official channels before the inauguration.

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The details Manafort’s lawyers provided confirm that investigators consider Kilimnik’s role during the Trump Campaign as a central piece of Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 attack on America’s presidential election.

It also appears that Paul Manafort’s refusal to share crucial details with Mueller about the Russian who handled him is going sink his bid to avoid what amounts to a lifetime prison sentence this spring.

Here is the complete filing from Paul Manafort’s lawyers, you can copy and paste it yourself to see the text under the blacked out areas:


Grant Stern

Editor at Large

is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also a mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition, and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.

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