Pres. Trump: Didn't know about allegations Manafort shared polling

Nellie Chapman
January 13, 2019

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn't know "anything" about his former campaign chair Paul Manafort passing on campaign polling to an alleged Russian spy during the 2016 campaign.

"No, I didn't know anything about it", he told reporters at the White House.

Asked if he wanted the special counsel's final report to be made public, Trump told reporters: "There's been no collusion whatsoever - we'll have to see".

News of Manafort's coordination with the Russian, Konstantin Kilimnik, came to light by mistake on Tuesday when his defense team failed to properly redact portions of a court document meant to defend their client from accusations he lied to investigators.

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There is no evidence that Trump was aware that Manafort was sharing the data with Kilimnik, who was described by Mueller in court documents a year ago as having "ties to a Russian intelligence service".

The allegation marks the first time prosecutors with special counsel Robert Mueller's office have accused Trump's chief campaign aide of sharing election-related information with his Russian contacts. He reportedly worked for Manafort conducting polls in Ukraine during the country's political campaigns in 2012 and 2013, earning a quarter of a million dollars. Manafort has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in Washington and faces sentencing in a separate case in Virginia.

The lawyers also said they reserved the right to fight back if Mueller brought new charges surrounding the allegations that Manafort lied to prosecutors. However, Manafort wrote in one August 2016 email to his accountant that he expected a payment of $2.4 million in November 2016 for work he did in Ukraine, according to trial documents. Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said Tuesday the Madrid trip mentioned in the filing occurred in January or February 2017- months after Manafort was ousted from the campaign and as Trump was taking office.

He said that agreement would be a "conspiracy", whether or not the Trump campaign actually got anything of value from the Russians. Prosecutors say Manafort acknowledged the meeting only after being told that they were in the same city on the same day. She also gave Manafort's lawyers until January 18 to respond to the special counsel's filings.

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