An improperly redacted document shows former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort discussed a possible Ukraine peace plan with a Russian national during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“Mr. Manafort ‘conceded’ that he discussed or may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Mr. Kilimnik on more than one occasion,” Manafort’s attorneys wrote. They also reveal that Manafort met with Kilimnik in Madrid, Spain. “After being told that Mr. Kilimnik had traveled to Madrid on the same day that Mr. Manafort was in Madrid, Mr. Manafort ‘acknowledged’ that he and Mr. Kilimnik met while they were both in Madrid,” they wrote.
Manafort’s attorneys say the meeting took place in the early part of 2017 – well after the 2016 election.
In another bombshell revelation Manafort’s attorneys concede that Manafort shared campaign polling data with Kilimnik. The withholding of that information Manafort’s attorneys say was the result of a mis-recollection of events and not evidence that Manafort was intentionally trying to deceive federal prosecutors.
“The same is true with regard to the Government’s allegation that Mr. Manafort lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign,” Mr. Manafort’s attorneys wrote.
The revelations were made in a court document filed by Manafort’s attorneys in which they rebut accusations put forth by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team that Manafort violated his plea agreement by lying to prosecutors. Manafort is currently facing between 17 and 22 years in prison for the charges he is facing in the Mueller investigation as well as charges in a separate lawsuit in Virginia for a variety of financial crimes including tax fraud and foreign lobbying charges.
Manafort struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors in September which includes a reduced prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to two of the charges brought against him.
As part of that deal Manafort also agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team. But Mueller’s team cancelled that deal last month when they say Manafort violated the terms of that deal by lying to them.
But Manafort’s attorneys say their client’s inaccurate statements are due to the physical and mental strain he has endured in recent months, as well as inadequate preparation and review time.
“It is important to note that the conditions of Mr. Manafort’s confinement have taken a toll on his physical and mental health,” Manafort’s attorneys write. “In addition…many of the questions put to Mr. Manafort during the proffer meetings were broad in scope and, more often than not, documentary materials relevant to the areas of inquiry were not provided to him in advance.”
“Because materials were not provided for his review in jail the night before interview sessions, Mr. Manafort often did not have the opportunity to refresh his recollection of events and conversations that occurred many years ago,” they added.
Manafort’s legal team filed a response contesting the Mueller team’s allegations. The most sensitive parts were supposed to be redacted but the redaction was done incorrectly and the public was able to view those portions by copying and pasting the sections elsewhere.
Within an hour a new, correctly redacted document was posted online that did not allow the public to view the confidential paragraphs.
The revelations, specifically the ones involving Kilimnik, are significant because U.S. authorities believe Kilimnik is a former member of the Russian military intelligence service known as the GRU. Kilimnik has denied any role with the service.
Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed part of it in 2014 after a popular uprising removed a pro-Russian dictator from power.
Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced for the charges he is facing in Virginia as well as those brought by Mueller’s team on February 8 and March 5 respectively.