Special counsel Robert Mueller confirmed on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was in communication with a Russian associate who is now a focus of a grand jury investigation.
Mueller also said that Manafort testified to a grand jury about his contacts with the Russian, Konstantin Kilimnik. This was revealed in a 31-page filing which represents the first confirmation from prosecutors that the Russian is still central to the grand jury’s efforts and offers an unprecedented insight into the special counsel’s probe.
The filing clearly shows that Kilimnik is in the center of Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and possible collusion between the 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. The largely redacted document, however, does not provide details about the in-person meeting between Manafort and his Russian associate.
In order to protect individuals who are part of its investigation the special counsel’s team has redacted its court filings, but for some reason has not done so with Kilimnik, CNN writes.
According to the filing, the President’s former campaign manager started communicating with Kilimnik on August 2, 2016, only weeks before leaving the campaign. Manafort has been accused of sharing 2016 polling data with his associate.
Mueller also said that his team has “documentary evidence” Manafort lied in saying he had no contact, direct or indirect, with the Trump administration. Namely, he tried to get people appointed to the administration at the start of Trump’s presidency. When he was indicted last year, Manafort was also involved in some outreach to the administration that prosecutors have said he lied about.
Prosecutors further provided additional details on a text between an unnamed person and Manafort asking if he could mention that he knew Manafort in conversation with President Trump, to which the former campaign manager said “yes.”
Although Manafort’s prosecution has tried to present this as harmful interaction, prosecutors have confirmed this was a matter discussed at the grand jury.