President Donald Trump on Thursday claimed he had no knowledge that Paul Manafort, his onetime campaign chairman, allegedly shared internal 2016 Trump campaign polling data with a suspected former Russian intelligence officer.
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.
Manafort is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiracy against the United States and agreeing to cooperate with US Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 contest and possible collusion with trump's campaign.
"Such a failure is unsurprising here, where these occurrences happened during a period when Mr. Manafort was managing a USA presidential campaign and had countless meetings, email communications, and other interactions with many different individuals, and traveled frequently", the Manafort attorneys argued.
In their filing, Manafort's lawyers said Mueller's team had access to all of their client's electronic devices, email accounts and passwords. Trump did not elaborate and turned to another reporter with a question on a different topic. He entered a plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller on September 14, 2018, but prosecutors have since alleged that Manafort has violated the terms of the deal by lying about certain topics.
The court documents also accidentally revealed that Manafort met with Kilimnik to discuss a peace plan with Ukraine.
Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced February 8 by U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III in Northern Virginia for his conviction on eight felony counts of bank and tax fraud.
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