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Paul Manafort Admits Sharing Trump Campaign Data With Suspected Russian Asset For Money: ‘I Don’t Apologize for Things I’ve Done’

Mediaite 8/8/2022 Ken Meyer

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Former Trump Campaign manager Paul Manafort admitted in an interview that he passed the campaign’s internal polling data to a business associate suspected to be an asset of Russian intelligence.

Manafort spoke to Insider’s Mattathias Schwartz about his plans to rebuild his life after being pardoned by former President Donald Trump for bank and tax fraud charges. The lobbyist maintained an air of defiance throughout the conversation, telling Schwartz “I don’t feel like I need to explain myself, but I’m not unwilling to explain myself.”

“There are certain things that I would probably not do again,” he said. “But I don’t apologize for things I’ve done in my life. Because I’ve always had the right motives for what I did in my life.”

Over the course of the interview, Manafort was pressed on his defense of Michael Flynn — Trump’s first national security advisor — who lost his job amid scrutiny of his dealings with Russian officials. Eventually, Manafort spoke about his ties to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political consultant who Robert Mueller, the FBI, and the Senate Intelligence Committee all agreed had likely ties to Russian intelligence.

From Insider:

It was Kilimnik who was sanctioned by the Treasury Department in 2021 for providing Russian intelligence with “sensitive information” from the Trump campaign that had been provided to him by Manafort, and for promoting the false narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 US presidential election. Manafort had brought someone suspected of being a Russian intelligence asset into the inner circle of Ukraine’s president.

Allegations that Kilimnik was a spy shouldn’t have come as a surprise to Manafort. Kilimnik was open about the fact that he’d attended a language school run by the Soviet military. Rick Gates, who worked closely with Manafort in Ukraine, later told the FBI that Manafort’s own employees believed Kilimnik had worked as a linguist for Russian intelligence. But Manafort tells me he had no reason to think Kilimnik was spying for Russia.

By the time Manafort was managing Trump’s campaign, Insider reports that Manafort was having Gates send Kilimnik emailed updates about his work in the hope of boosting his foreign business.

“He arranged for Gates, then serving as his deputy campaign chairman, to send Kilimnik regular updates that included more than 50 pages of internal polling data,” Schwartz wrote. “In our interview, Manafort makes his first public admission that he was the one who told Gates to email Kilimnik the information.”

“The data that I shared with him was a combination of public information and stuff from the spring that was — it was old,” Manafort said.

Despite Manafort’s claims that the data was old — presumably to justify the sharing — Insider notes that he met with Kilimnik in August of 2016, where he provided data that was gathered only 2 weeks ago.

Manafort says the purpose of sending the data to Kilimnik was to lay the groundwork for future business deals, by demonstrating that Trump could win. “It was meant to show how Clinton was vulnerable,” he tells me. By his account, he wasn’t aiding a Russian spy — he was trying to use his influence with the future US president to extract money from pro-Russia oligarchs.

The post Paul Manafort Admits Sharing Trump Campaign Data With Suspected Russian Asset For Money: ‘I Don’t Apologize for Things I’ve Done’ first appeared on Mediaite.
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