Newly Unredacted Mueller Report Details Manafort’s Lies About Russians
A federal judge unsealed nearly half a dozen files on Monday itemizing the “principal lies” Donald Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort allegedly told special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in the months before the Russia report’s release. Manafort was pardoned by Trump just before he left office in January.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson unsealed more lightly redacted documents showing the exact nature of Manafort’s deceptions. According to a government memo dated Dec. 7, 2018, the first of the lies involved Manafort’s associate Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the Senate Intelligence Committee would later describe as a Russian intelligence operative. Kilimnik was sanctioned earlier this year for giving Manafort-provided internal Trump campaign polling data to Russian intelligence services.
Manafort infamously blew up his plea agreement with prosecutors by repeatedly lying to them even after pledging full cooperation in their probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Additionally, prosecutors allege that Manafort lied to them about Kilimnik’s role in a witness-tampering scheme, despite the fact that he had previously admitted to conspiring with Kilimnik in his own plea agreement.
Last two pages of this Mueller didn't have any redactions the first go around. pic.twitter.com/1dXqWgAmd6
— Darren Samuelsohn (@dsamuelsohn) May 24, 2021
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.” 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.
Manafort was not pardoned for this, however, the statute of limitations is nearly up if it hasn’t lapsed already. https://t.co/sOg7BJxfIN
— Mueller, She Wrote (@MuellerSheWrote) May 24, 2021
But Manafort’s misdirection went beyond Kilimnik, prosecutors said. 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.”
Court transcripts newly unredacted by Amy Berman Jackson about Paul Manafort's hearing on Feb 4, 2019 confirm that Manafort lied to the Mueller team about polling. As Andrew Weissmann told the court: "The polling questions. There are a series of lies
about the polling questions." pic.twitter.com/uHLw3taS6P
— Matthew Alexander (@wisewinston) May 21, 2021
The newly unsealed filing is available here as a PDF.