Trump Says He Didn’t Know Manafort Gave Polling Data To Russian Associate

Chuck Ross | Investigative Reporter

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he was unaware his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, had passed internal polling data to a Russian business associate.

“Did you know Paul Manafort was sharing polling data from your campaign with the Russians?” ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked Trump.

“No. I didn’t know anything about that,” Trump replied.

On Tuesday, Manafort’s legal team accidentally revealed in a court filing in a case involving the special counsel’s office that the former Trump adviser sent Trump campaign polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime associate of Manafort’s who allegedly has ties to Russian intelligence. (RELATED: Manafort Passed Trump Campaign Polling Data To Russian Associate)

The New York Times later reported that Manafort instructed Kilimnik to provide the data to Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov, two Ukrainian oligarchs who Manafort has worked for in the past.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort departs from U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The information was shared around the time that Trump secured the GOP nomination, and most of the data was already public, The Times reported.

Some Trump critics touted the revelation as the strongest evidence to date of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. But there has been no indication that Trump knew about Manafort’s activities or that the recipients used the data to help Trump win the election.

Manafort was owed $2.4 million by Lyovochkin and Akhmetov at the time, according to The Times. The 69-year-old GOP consultant awaits sentencing after being convicted on Aug. 21 of financial crimes related to consulting work he did in Ukraine. He entered a plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller on Sept. 14, 2018, but prosecutors have since alleged that Manafort has violated the terms of the deal by lying about certain topics.

Prosecutors alleged that Manafort lied about providing Kilimnik with the polling data.

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